September 11, 1972 opened up a new era in American rail transportation with the first operation of the new San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit system. A harbinger of exciting things to come, 10 years in planning, development, and construction.
BART has, without a doubt, received the widest publicity ever given a train or system. It is the rare person who has not heard about BART and would not recognize the distinctive modern design of its rail cars. Trains made up of 3 to 10, 72 passenger, car units speed along at 80 m.p.h., providing space-age comfort and safety (twice the average speed of other urban systems).
Comfort and convenience are the alluring elements to attract passengers. BART with its lowest seating ratio to car length, provides stretch-out comfort in a tastefully appointed, fully carpeted interior, devoid of advertising [sic]. Seats are upholstered in fabric and vinyl and cantilevered from the side wall leaving the floor completely unobstructed. Deep tinted picture windows are a hallmark. Thirty-four stations are individually designed, many brightly color-coordinated and many containing works of art. It truly is a pleasure to ride, every aspect of the system has been given its own attention, to this end.
The BARTchives is quickly turning into a major endeavor - a detailed book covering the history of the BART legacy fleet, from conception to decommissioning. The book explains the design process, construction, operation, refinement, refurbishment, and retirement of the fleet, using thousands of documents, hundreds of hours of analysis, and dozens of personal stories.
The book will serve as a memoir of these cars, and hopefully serve as the next volume of text following the excellent books on BART’s predecessors, including the Key System, Interurban Electric Railway, and Sacramento Northern.
Being a labor of love, I have no firm date for publishing and printing. I reckon I am about one half the way done as of August 2023.
Reserve a copy here!
From time to time, BART sells the exterior number plates from retired cars. I am happy to provide these new "BART-car-plate-owners" a picture of their car back when it was in service.
As of 2/24 I have helped over 60 people get pictures of their cars. Even BART has used my pics! All are welcome.
More details available here: BART Car Number Plate Owners - Pictures of your car may be available!
There are dozens of interesting transit agencies around the San Francisco Bay Area, alongside BART. BART is no island and the pioneering spirit of the system resulted in a new age of public transit in the San Francisco Bay Area. The likes of which included investments in bus, rail, and ferry transportation systems.
As of today, there are three ferry pages. Coming soon are pages on: Amtrak California, CalTrain, ACE, and SMART.