WATCH: Passengers evacuate disabled BART train in downtown Oakland

Bay Area
Riders forced off disabled BART train

It was not your average morning commute on Monday.

Hundreds of BART riders had to take an unexpected route to work this morning after the train they were on suddenly stopped in the middle of a tunnel. 

They were onboard one of the new Fleet of the Future trains when it became disabled.

There is no official cause for the issue at this time, but we do know it caused major delays into the early afternoon.

The train stalled inside the tunnel between Lake Merritt and 12th Street stations around 10 a.m. forcing BART to evacuate more than 420 passengers.

“It was too much for us on a Monday morning,” Suresh Ramalingam, a passenger, said.

Suresh Ramalingam says the fleet of the future BART train he was riding on, suddenly stopped. 

“And it sometimes happens before the station, usually the operator gives out an announcement saying they maybe need to wait for a train to move and it was about 10 to 15 minutes before we realized, okay something is wrong,” Ramalingam said. 

He says an announcement never came, so he and his fellow passengers started searching online for answers. 

“I tried reaching BART through the app and I got a message saying the command center was aware but there was still no announcement,” Ramalingam said. 

A BART mainline technician eventually arrived and tried to troubleshoot the problem on site. 

“Unfortunately, it did not work. Once the delay got to the hour point we decided to get these passengers off the train because we couldn’t fix it,” Anna Duckworth, BART spokesperson, said. 

One by one, BART crew members helped escort 428 riders through the dark tunnel and up to the 12th Street Station. 

“It was a very narrow space for so many people to walk, then we had to cross the track,” Ramalingam said. 

“This is a very unusual circumstance, Fleet of the Future or legacy train car, we just don’t have people who need to be evacuated in tunnels very often,” Duckworth said.

Ramalingam says he understands when issues happen from time to time but hope in the future, BART will keep riders more informed. 

“This was one of the newest trains, Fleet of the Future, and when something happens, and there’s no announcement, we’re confused,” Ramalingam said.  

Once everyone was off the train, BART was able to attach it to another Fleet of the Future train and tow it to the MacArthur station where it wouldn’t cause any further delays. 

They plan to move it to a shop where they can do further diagnostic testing because this was a newer train. 

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