Hitachi Rail Selected for Bay Area’s Train System Upgrade
Jeffrey Heimgartner posted on October 21, 2020 |
Hitachi Rail STS upgrade the San Francisco Bay Area’s train system with train control technologies.
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), which connects the San Francisco Peninsula with Oakland, Berkeley, Fremont, San Jose, Walnut Creek, Dublin/Pleasanton and other cities in the East Bay, is set for a $798 million upgrade with the latest communications-based train control systems from Hitachi Rail STS. (Image courtesy of BART.)
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), which connects the San Francisco Peninsula with Oakland, Berkeley, Fremont, San Jose, Walnut Creek, Dublin/Pleasanton and other cities in the East Bay, is set for a $798 million upgrade with the latest communications-based train control systems from Hitachi Rail STS. (Image courtesy of BART.)

People traveling from San Francisco to San Jose or heading to the City by the Bay from Berkeley, Walnut Creek and many other California locales often make use of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). With ridership averaging 450,000 trips per weekday and the infrastructure pushing 50 years old, Hitachi Rail STS was awarded a $798 million contract to upgrade the system with its latest communications-based train control (CBTC) technologies.

“Replacing and modernizing BART’s 50-year-old train control system will be a generational project that will benefit our riders for decades to come,” said Carl Holmes, BART assistant general manager for planning, development, and construction. “CBTC will allow us to deliver world class service and meet the future needs of the San Francisco Bay Area.”

The addition of CBTC is part of the larger Transbay Corridor Core Capacity Program (TCCCP). It includes 252 new railcars, construction of a storage yard and five new traction power substations. The CBTC portion, which is set for completion in 2029, will increase capacity to accommodate 30 10-car trains on the main corridor per hour. The innovative signaling system is designed for enhanced safety operations to help meet the expected increase of more than 30,000 passengers during peak hours.

“Hitachi’s solution will help BART increase train frequency, adding capacity to the most heavily traveled sections of the rail system, which accounted for nearly 60 percent of all trips last year,” said Jason White, executive officer for the Americas, Hitachi Rail Group. “This infrastructure investment will improve the system’s overall reliability and maintainability, reduce costs and increase the frequency of BART trains. We value the trust BART has placed in Hitachi to deliver this critical project and look forward to creating a strong partnership with them.”

CBTC has steadily gained ground over the past decade as a more effective railway signaling system. It enhances telecommunications between the train and trackside equipment, enabling better control of traffic and the infrastructure. Wireless communication offers exact positioning of each train, asr well as making real-time adjustments for braking, acceleration or deceleration easier and safer.

Hitachi has long been a leader in bringing train systems up to date with the latest technology. Its CBTC technology, which often uses the general-purpose 2.4 GHz band, has been a viable option for countries across continents, including China and France. BART also awarded the company an $8.6 million 20-year contract for Train Control Performance Support Services.

While the ability to offer tighter schedules, enhanced safety and increased capacity are needed benefits, the project is also expected to result in 500 new jobs and nearly 8,800 related jobs.

Interested in more transportation innovations? Check out UK’s First Hydrogen Train Takes to the Rails and Istanbul’s Newest Driverless Metro Train Is Headed Home from China.

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