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Computer Glitch Leaves BART Riders Stranded

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Commuters pack into a BART train. (Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images)

Commuters pack into a BART train. (Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images)

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — BART is in the process of restoring service across its entire train system after it stopped running trains for several hours Monday night because of a non-emergency computer issue, agency representatives said.

The computer glitch started around 7:35 p.m., spokesman Linton Johnson said, and involves the computers inside BART’s operations control center.

The problem is preventing the control center from monitoring the location of the system’s trains. “It’s not a safety issue, per se, because the computers on the trackside are able to move the trains,” Johnson said.

However, if a train were to have a mechanical issue, the operations center would normally reroute trains but cannot do so at this time without knowing trains’ locations.

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As a result, the agency essentially stopped service, getting each train to the nearest station so that passengers would be allowed to exit while crews worked to resolve the problem.

“We can’t ‘see’ the trains, and so we’re asking most of the trains to stop,” Johnson said.

The trackside computers that control the trains were not affected by the problem, Johnson said.

Passengers are advised to take alternate transportation, and other transit agencies are honoring BART tickets, spokesman Jim Allison said.

Allison said around 9:55 p.m. that “service restoration is in progress” and that computer engineers were getting the computers “fired up again.”

“We’ve got every crew that we can muster right now scrambling to get to the operations control center and out on the system so that way we can start moving service again on a limited basis,” Johnson said.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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