'Pretty Big' Equipment Break Caused BART Morning Meltdown

Crowded BART.jpg
Will Harper
Following this morning's incident in the transbay tunnel, BART experienced long delays and crowded trains
The fracturing of the "yoke assembly" holding two train cars together caused a BART train to split into two segments this morning in the transbay tunnel, the agency is reporting.

BART spokesman Jim Allison described the failed yoke assembly as "a pretty big piece of equipment." The spokesman said BART's chief transportation officer could not recall a failure of this sort ever occurring before. The manufacturer of the yoke assembly has been contacted, and will be assisting BART in its investigation -- though Allison was not sure what company that is.

He was also unsure how BART will proceed; whether it will investigate the yoke assemblies on all its trains; or whether the affected train was due for an inspection or had recently received a clean bill of health.

At 6:23 this morning, the failure occurred just east of Embarcadero Station; the first five cars of a nine-car train separated from the last four. The driver of the front segment motored the train out of the tunnel at 6:55 a.m. A second driver took the stranded four-car segment out at 7:05. No injuries have yet been reported; Allison notes that a failsafe mechanism automatically engaged the brakes when train became decoupled.

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