B2 Car 1806 is, on first look, just any old B car. It runs in the middle of trains, and seats 53 people. It has a few smells and a few bulbs are out.
Underneath all that, B2 car 1806 is one of many historic BART cars.
The 1806 was originally built by Rohr as A car 117. It was among the first two dozen BART legacy cars built. It was built in Chula Vista, CA, and delivered to BART's Hayward Yard on 5/16/1972. It was used for pre-revenue testing of the BART system, and entered service on BART's opening day, Septmeber 11, 1972.
By the 1980s, many A cars were worn out and/or damaged. BART was a new railroad and in some ways, still learning the ropes - there are accounts of runaway cars, collisions, and fire damage during these early days.
Car 117, alongside 34 other A cars, were destined to become B cars. The unique design of the A cars facilitated such conversion (which was miles cheaper and faster than building new B cars). A car 117 became B car 806 in about late 1980. The "new" 806 rolled in service until its midlife refurbishment in 2001.
As a product of the refurbishment, B car 806 became B2 car 1806. The 1806 is still in service, far beyond the original intention of its designers. This old car will probably be scrapped this year or next year, but if anything, it has carried the millions through thick and thin for over 50 years.
The first car delivered by Rohr was A car 101, a prototype car used to identify and resolve various bugs with the new cars' construction and simulated operation.
The 101 rolled out of Chula Vista (on a trailer) and was delivered to Hayward Shops on 8/27/1970. Unique among the fleet, the cab of 101 was painted grey/silver - other protoype cars had different colors of cabs. For about a month, A car 101 was the only Rohr car delivered, so there are a few pics of this single car rolling down the A line (attached).
Like most of the protoype cars, the 101 was returned to Rohr (c. 6/1972) and scrapped. From what I recall reading, Rohr decided it was not worth the effort to rebuild these A cars, and replaced them with new A cars (A car 101 II -> B car 821 -> B2 car 1821 in this case).
The oldest remaining car of the legacy fleet is a B2 car numbered 1501. It was built 52 years ago as B car 501, and third legacy fleet car ever built (see note 1), delivered in December 1970.
As part of the midlife rebuilding of the A and B cars (awarded to ADtranz/Bombardier), B car 501 was rebuilt and renumbered into B2 1501 (See note 3). As of summer 2022, the 1501 is assigned to Daly City Yard and can be found in the middle of Blue line trains (alongside others) from time to time.
Note 1: A cars 101 and 102 were the first and second cars built, respectively. They were both replaced and scrapped following the conclusion of the prototype car testing.
Note 2: Three B cars (501-503) and one A car (107) were kept following prototype car testing. The line numbers are as follows: 501-3; 502-5; 503-6; 107-10
Note 3: The original A and B cars were built in Chula Vista, CA, and rebuilt in Pittsburg, CA. Most of the cars have never left California (outside A cars 111, 191 and 246).
BART Progress Reports (1970) via Western Railway Museum Archives
Pacific News (August 1978)
Modern Heavy Rail by Andre K.
BART Fleet List v. 5.6.7
Comments and corrections welcome.
"The Two Bagger" is meant to be a place to store more "blog" style posts on various cars, pictures, and random tidbits. At BART, a "two bagger" is a rather informal name for a two car train. Two car trains rolled in revenue service back in 1972.