A video from the transit agency shows all the track work that goes on after hours.

It’s a heated question often heard in the Bay Area: “Why doesn’t the BART run late?” Theories abound on why the transit agency closes after midnight, from safety issues to a lousy cost-value ratio to keeping minorities from Oakland out of San Francisco.

Well, BART has attempted to provide an answer with a video showing what goes on after hours. “At BART, every day is a race 'til dawn,” says a narrator, invoking images of a frantic escape from zombies. “The one-track, one-direction system has to be shut down every night to safely do critical overnight maintenance.”

Basically, BART says there’s not enough track available to run trains while also performing repairs. And this (admittedly selectively edited) footage does indicate quite a lot happens in the dark, from replacing beat-up tracks to making what looks like welds that flame like mini-volcanoes. Perhaps the most interesting item is a diesel-powered behemoth called a “grinder unit,” which slides back and forth over worn track, spraying showers of sparks while making the metal smooth once again.

So BART may never run for 24 hours (at least until a second tube is installed under the Bay). But if the agency ever needed quick money it could probably charge people triple to ride the “grinder unit.”

H/t SFist

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Multicolored maps of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Tampa, denoting neighborhood fragmentation
    Equity

    Urban Neighborhoods, Once Distinct by Race and Class, Are Blurring

    Yet in cities, affluent white neighborhoods and high-poverty black ones are outliers, resisting the fragmentation shown with other types of neighborhoods.

  2. Design

    A History of the American Public Library

    A visual exploration of how a critical piece of social infrastructure came to be.

  3. Transportation

    You Can’t Design Bike-Friendly Cities Without Considering Race and Class

    Bike equity is a powerful tool for reducing inequality. Too often, cycling infrastructure is tailored only to wealthy white cyclists.

  4. Equity

    Capturing Black Bottom, a Detroit Neighborhood Lost to Urban Renewal

    “Black Bottom Street View,” now exhibiting at the Detroit Public Library, thoughtfully displays old images of the historic African American neighborhood in its final days.

  5. A photo of a new subdivision under construction in South Jordan, Utah.
    Perspective

    A Red-State Take on a YIMBY Housing Bill

    Utah’s SB 34, aimed at increasing the state’s supply of affordable housing, may hold lessons for booming cities of the Mountain West, and beyond.