OAKLAND (CBS SF) – The first car of BART’s next generation train is making its way toward the Bay Area this week, the latest step in replacing its aging fleet.
According to a BART statement, the first car was placed onto a truck at the Bombardier Transportation Factory in Plattsburgh, New York last week and will make a 3,600 mile journey to a testing facility in Hayward. Arrival is expected sometime in the next several days.
The transit agency released video of the 70-foot, 65,500 pound train car being completed at the factory, before it was loaded onto the truck for the cross-country trip.
BART officials said nine additional test cars will arrive this year. The agency expects the new car to enter passenger service by December, but “rigorous” testing must take place first.
“The new cars were designed with input from our riders, and we can’t wait to show them off and put them on the rails once cleared for service,” spokesperson Alicia Trost said in a statement Monday.
BART looks to replace the current fleet of 775 cars within the next five years.
As BART continues to see ridership grow, the train fleet is the oldest in the country, with cars that have served the system since it opened in the 1970s.
In recent weeks, a mysterious power surge problem in the Transbay Tube led to trains being knocked out of service.
With the Bay Area hosting Super Bowl-related events last month, BART set an average weekday ridership record in February, with 446,650 passengers.
Tim Fang is a digital producer for CBS San Francisco and a native of the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @fangtj.