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Broken Power Cable Still Impacting Service On BART's Red Line to Richmond

EL CERRITO (BCN) -- Full service on BART's Red Line may not return within the next week due to a broken power cable between the El Cerrito Plaza and Ashby stations, officials with the transit agency said Thursday.

The power cable, which General Manager Bob Powers said has been in use "for a long, long time," broke Sunday morning.

On Monday, a power substation also failed along the same section of the Red Line, which operates between Richmond and Millbrae and the San Francisco International Airport.

The substation failure subsequently caused a loss of power at the El Cerrito Del North and North Berkeley stations.

Powers and Shane Edwards, BART's assistant general manager of operations, said a contractor is expected to examine the cable this weekend and BART intends to reactivate the substation as soon as it can.

Edwards said the agency hopes to resume full Red and Orange Line service "in the coming weeks."

"We are in a delicate state," Edwards told the BART Board of Directors. "We will continue to make decisions as we go forward taking that into account."

The power issues have led to BART operating on only the Orange Line between Oakland and Richmond and running shuttle trains between the SFO and Millbrae stations.

BART officials have also considered running shorter trains than the standard 10 cars at increased frequencies in an effort to reduce the service demands between the MacArthur and Richmond stations.

According to Powers, BART officials have known for some time that the power cable could be a liability, and had already planned for a contractor to begin the process of replacing it.

BART has replaced similar power cables in other parts of the system, including between the Oakland Coliseum and Union City stations, because they had come to the end of their useful lives.

The contractor working along the Red Line was scheduled to begin work on the cable Thursday, Powers said.

"We had the foresight of doing this and we thought we had a little bit more time," he said. "But we didn't."

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