BART Oakland Airport Train Running Again

BART's Oakland International Airport connector. (BART.gov)

Update, 5:25 p.m.: The airport connector between Oakland Coliseum BART station and Oakland Airport has been restored, according to BART.gov. The connector is running on limited service with trains operating every 20 minutes. The parallel bus service has been canceled.

Original Post:

BART's brand-new service to Oakland International Airport was shut down Friday, apparently by damage caused when a train hit storm debris on the track.

The $484 million system, which runs from BART's Coliseum Station to the airport, opened on Nov. 22.

Agency spokesman Jim Allison said problems began around 6 a.m. Friday when a train struck debris that had blown onto the track. That collision damaged the train's electrical systems. Service continued on the system's second track until 9:45 a.m., when a train that had been shuttling passengers broke down. At that point, the BART-to-OAK service was shut down while crews tried to figure out what went wrong.

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At 1:30 p.m., Allison said "it's too soon to say" what the problem was.

"I just spoke to them in the control room five minutes ago," he said. "They're not willing to go on the record saying what it was -- they're still troubleshooting it."

Cars on the 3.2-mile system are driverless and pulled by cables along an elevated steel trackway. Austria's Dopplmayer Cable Car Co., which designed and built the system with two U.S. partners, operated the trains under a 20-year contract with BART.

The transit agency has hired four mini-buses to stand in for the disabled trains until further notice. That service is free. BART also says passengers can take AC Transit's No. 73 bus from Coliseum Station to the air terminals. The 73 runs about every 15 minutes on weekdays and makes the trip from BART to the airport in 10 minutes; the fare is $2.10 for adults and $1.05 for youths and seniors.