Gondola to the Greek? A-BART-ments? Drag show prop? BART wants your ideas for creative reuse of train cars

OAKLAND — A very Bay Area-themed bar? Props for a Hollywood
movie? A gondola to the Greek Theater in Berkeley? Or, to the new
A’s stadium at Howard Terminal? Or, better yet,
train-cars-turned-box-seats for baseball fans?

Maybe all of the above?

Those were just some of the ideas stirring in a Twitterstorm
BART spurred
last week when it floated the idea of what to do
with its old, dysfunctional cars as it makes way for a brand-new
fleet. Already, some 45 new train cars have arrived, with about
half carrying passengers.

As new cars arrive
, they’ll help grow BART’s existing fleet
so the agency can run longer trains to carry more passengers, BART
staffer Melissa Jordan said in a blog
on the agency’s website. Within the span of two years,
BART expects to have 775 new cars on hand, replacing all 669 of its
cars that were built in the 70s, 80s and 90s, some of which have
been rehabbed, and some not.

Ultimately, the agency hopes to grow that figure even further,
bringing the total number of cars to 1,200
, so it can run more trains through the Transbay Tube
(which will require upgrading its train control system, too).

At some point, though, BART will have to begin retiring its old
cars to make room for the new ones. It’ll target its
worst-performing cars first by analyzing data on how long each car
goes without needing repairs, its condition, how many hours it has
operated in service, and time remaining on key components in the
car, among other factors.

But then what?

There’s a lot of interest in the old cars, including from
train museums and trade schools, businesses and artists, Jordan
said. The agency can’t resell them to other transit agencies
since BART uses a different gauge of tracks than standard rail.
And, it can’t just give them away, either — at least, not
without some complication.

When the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) provides grants to
agencies to build new train cars, or in BART’s case, rehab its
old ones, it requires a return of its share of investment if that
property is sold or donated, as long as the items are valued over

The FTA provided BART over 70 percent of the funds it needed to
rehab its oldest cars, comprising 439 of its 669 cars, and gave the
agency nearly 55 percent of its funds to rehab the cars it got in
the mid-1980s, representing another 150 cars. It didn’t, however,
fund BART’s newest cars built in the 1990’s, called the C2
cars, which also tend to be the most problematic when it comes to
breaking down. There are 80 of those on hand.

So, if a single train car were valued at, say, $10,000, and
originally funded with a 70 percent match by the FTA, the FTA would
be entitled to $7,000 — whether or not the cars are sold or

Still, Jordan said the agency is open to creative ideas for
reusing some or all of the cars. And, it’s likely to be a mix of

What would you do with a decommissioned BART car? Here are some

abartments pic.twitter.com/aAvhW3wOpm

— Alfred Twu (@alfred_twu)
January 5, 2019

Yes! pic.twitter.com/4oe5CCZcF3

January 5, 2019

Now that is an idea!

January 5, 2019


— Michonne (@Michonne)
January 5, 2019

Rooted in Oakland.

January 5, 2019

We support this idea and want to go to the

January 5, 2019


— Matt Banton (@mttbntn)
January 4, 2019

Really fun!

January 5, 2019

Source: FS – All – Real Estate News 1
Gondola to the Greek? A-BART-ments? Drag show prop? BART wants your ideas for creative reuse of train cars