Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Rain and delays go hand in hand

Whenever it rains, I set my expectations that BART will experience some type of delay. Similar to increased accidents on the freeways when the roads are wet, it is almost consistently so that BART service slows down a bit whenever there is rain. I'm not complaining, it's fine, I've come to expected it after all these years. But why is that? Is it because the wetness makes the tracks slippery? Or is it a visibility issue and speed decreases for safety? Perhaps passengers are slower getting on and off with the rain? Maybe it's all of the above. As long as the delays are under 10 minutes, I can tolerate them every once in awhile. :)

It's nice to have some rain though after a very dry year. It also saves me from watering my plants for at least a few more days! They were starting to look very hopeless-- perhaps the rain will help.


Anonymous said...

Wet rails make wheel slip/spin. It can cause flat spots and motor/brake failures. It also increases stopping distances. The trains accelerate at a slower rate and run slightly slower to compensate.

Other rail vehicles dump sand on the tracks (ie. MUNI) to generate friction for braking when the tracks are slippery, but BART cars don't carry sand, so they take an alternate approach - as usual. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for explaining that. I always was under the assumption that BART trains ran slower (at least on approach) because it was a visibility issue for the Train Operator. I suppose compounded with the other issues you mention it makes perfect sense.