The iconic slant-nosed A car is the face of BART, past and present. The original A cars, discussed here, were the lead and trail cars of every BART train for the first decade of operation.
A cars had a sloped fiberglass cab, which contained train control equipment, allowing the train to be operated in manual and automatic modes. They were only used as lead or trailing units in revenue service. For more details on the design of the BART car, see the Design page. For very technical details on the original A and B cars, see the page Rohr: Background on the BART Car.
In 1978-1981, and again in 1993, a total of 37 A cars were converted into B cars. The midlife rebuilding process also included a further 76 A cars converted into B cars, or in this case, B2 Cars.
The remaining 59 A cars were rebuilt into the A2 Cars, many of which still roll today.
For more details on this processs, see the rebuilding page for information on the rebuilding process, and the A to B conversion page on the conversion story.
The Rohr built A car was an evolution of the A car mockup of 1965. The following description first pertains to the mockup 814, when it was unveiled to the public, followed by the car itself:
Starting with the overall objectives and constraints for the BART system, Sundberg-Ferar Industrial Design of Detroit, and St Louis Car Division of General Steel Industries of Granite City, IL, designed the aesthetic and human engineering aspects of the BART vehicle. The design of the mockup, undertaken by Sundberg-Ferar, was the product of many rounds of renderings, models, and collaboration with car builders. This cycle of collaboration between all parties allowed for a more seamless connection to the construction of the actual revenue cars. The car itself was manufactured by W. Ashley Gray Jr. of St Louis Car Division of General Steel Industries, for a cost of $400,000.