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BART and the Baby Bullet

by Chris Guenzler

Bay Area Rapid Transit or BART for short 8/25/2005

I walked up 12th street in Oakland to the Oakland City Center/12th Street Station and descended the staircase into the first level. I purchased a BART ticket from here to the Embarcadero Station in San Francisco. I would get there later this afternoon as I was going to ride the whole BART System. Just never go through an exit turnstile and I would not have to buy any other ticket. It would be just a platform transfer from each line I would be riding. After I found the right platform level for Fremont, I first watched a Daly City Train come into the station.

Next my BART Train from Richmond arrived and I boarded.

The Inside of a BART End Car. Leaving here you remain in a subway until after Lake Merritt before you rise to an elevated structure for the rest of this trip. We stopped at the Fruitvale, Coliseum/Oakland Airport, San Leandro, Bay Fair, Hayward, South Hayward, Union City and then lastly at the Fremont Stop. I met a BART Worker who gave me a quick history of BART, the cars and info about elevator repair problems.

At Fremont, I boarded this BART Train that will take me to Bay Fair.

The inside of one of the middle BART Cars. I took this eight car train retracing my route to Bay Fair where I detrained to wait for my next train to Dublin.

My BART Train leaves Bay Fair for Richmond after I got off.

My eight car BART Train for Dublin arrived at Bay Fair. We climbed up and over the Fremont Line and ran down the middle of the Interstate 580 to our Castro Valley Station. We stayed in the middle of the freeway to climb up the Oakland Hills. We reached the summit before descending between the hills into the Livermore Valley. Our route passed under the interchange with Interstate 680 before we arrived at the Dublin/Pleasanton Station.

At Dublin my eight car BART train changed into a four car train for San Francisco. I boarded this train retracing my route back to Bay Fair to wait for a three car train for Richmond. The only other times I had ridden BART was at the San Jose NRHS 1992 Convention when I made an Embarcadero to Richmond round trip. The other time was when I rode from Richmond to the Coliseum round trip to see Nolan Ryan pitch his last game ever in Oakland which he won. I returned through the Oakland City Center Station before we stopped at the also underground 19th/Oakland Station before we returned to the sunshine at the MacArthur Station. We went under the Baypoint Line before we ran to the underground stations at Ashby, Downtown Berkeley and North Berkeley. Returning to the surface we stopped at El Cerrito Plaza, El Cerrito del Norte and then on to Richmond where one could connect to Amtrak. I detrained here to return to MacArthur.

My BART Train pulling into Richmond from the storage yard less than a minute after I had gotten off my other train. I took this Fremont Train to MacArthur. I had to go downstairs to transfer and found a bathroom which by this time was a needed feature of this station. Once done, I went upstairs to wait for my train to Bay Point.

My BART Train for Pittsburgh/Bay Point pulled into the MacArthur Station. We stopped at Rockridge on the way there we turned to run down the middle of Highway 24 towards the Oakland Hill. We left the freeway then plunged into the long Oakland Hills Tunnel. Upon exiting we stopped at the Orinda Station. Back in the middle of Highway 24, we descended to the Lafayette Station. Mount Diablo came into view to the forward right of our train. At the Highway 24/Interstate 680 Interchange we left the freeway as we pulled into the elevated Walnut Creek Station. We returned to the ground for a short time before we climbed back into the air at Pleasant Hill. We ran by the Concord BART Yard before we arrived at Concord. Next we ran in a trench to the North Concord/Martinez Station. We then ran in the middle of Highway 4 climbing through more hills to the Pittsburgh/Bay Point.

My BART Train after it dropped me off at Pittsburgh/Bay Point which pulled down to switch tracks and the operator changed ends. It was really noisy standing there waiting with all the Highway 4 traffic speeding by the station. I would now ride through Downtown Oakland where I would then be on a short section of old mileage over to the Embarcadero. We exited out of the Downtown Oakland Tunnel and climbed onto an elevated structure to the West Oakland Station where there are good views of the harbor cranes. We crossed the Union Pacific and the UP West Oakland Shops before plunging into the Transbay Tube under San Francisco Bay down in the mud beneath it. That took about six minutes and we arrived at the Embarcadero Station. That was followed by Montgomery Street, Powell Street, Civic Center, 16th Street Mission, 24th Mission and Glen Park stations all located underground. We returned to daylight by the Balboa Park Station located in a trench then out into full daylight to the Daly City Station. The train ran along Interstate 280 then by the Daly City Shops to the Colma Station. Here we turned east crossing the peninsula back towards the San Francisco Bay. Our route then entered a tunnel with the South San Francisco and San Bruno located inside. We continued underground only to become elevated the rest of our route into the San Francisco nternational Airport where at that station the Airtrain connects to other terminals. We then reversed directions and headed back out of the airport to a switch that took us down to run underground to the Caltrains Millbrae Station. Here connections can easily be made with Caltrains towards San Jose. Once my train had stopped at this station I had now ridden the entire BART system.

My BART Train has arrived at Millbrae. I returned to the Embarcadero Station to get to my next rail adventure.

A Bart Train coming into the Embarcadero Station in San Francisco. Total cost for this trip on BART was $2.55.

A westbound BART Train pulled into the Embarcadero Station. I walked upstairs to the Muni Station to purchase my "N" Line ticket to the Caltrain Station.

Muni "N" Line 8/25/2005

One Muni Train arrived after another. Seven Muni Trains came in before my "N" Train came at 3:02 PM. I boarded and once on the move a minute later we exited the tunnel and ran to the Folsom Station under the Bay Bridge. A good view of Oakland across the bay can be had from this station. We next stopped at Brannan Station next to Pier 36. I could see why this is called the Bayfront Line. We ran by SBC Ballpark home of the San Francisco Giants before we stopped at the 2nd/King Street Station. The line continued to the last stop at this time at the Caltrains Station where I detrained. In the near future, this line will continue on.

My Trolley at the Caltrains Station.

Another Trolley waiting to head back into the city.

Caltrains Baby Bullet 362 8/25/2005

I took a picture of the line up of power at the Caltrains Station from outside the fence of the station. I walked into the station and went straight to the ticket window to buy my ticket for the Baby Bullet 362. I then waited at the gate for the boarding time. The train would leave San Francisco at 4:00 PM and do Millbrae at 4:16 PM, San Mateo 4:22 PM, Redwood City 4:33 PM, Palo Alto 4:39 PM, Sunnyvale 4:49 PM and San Jose at 4:59 PM. That is 59 minutes for the 46.9 rail mile trip to San Jose. Train 268, a Limited making 17 stops at 4:27 PM, takes one hour and twenty minutes. Train 158 at 3:07 PM takes one hour and thirty two minutes with 23 stops for the same 46.9 mile trip to San Jose. See the advantage of Caltrains Baby Bullet. At 3:50 PM they opened the doors and the passengers rushed for their seats on the 4:00 PM Baby Bullet. I headed for the front of the train for some pictures.

New Caltrains engine 925.

My Baby Bullet 362 ready to depart to San Jose at 4:00 PM. Our train had engine 922, Coach 3826, Cab Car 4012, Coaches 3813 and 3852 with Cab Car 4018 bringing up the rear. I took an upstairs seat in Car 3826. We departed San Francisco right on time. We made that big curve to the south and entered Tunnel 1 followed by Tunnel 2. Nine minutes later we entered Tunnel 3 and then Tunnel 4 before passing where the SP Bayshore Yards once stood. The train skipped the following stations of 22nd Street, Bayshore, South San Francisco, and San Bruno. We pulled into Millbrae where we had a good group of connecting passengers from BART. Our train skipped Burlingame before making our way to San Mateo. Our next sprint would bypass Hayward Park, Hillsdale, Belmont and San Carlos before we arrived into Redwood City. Our next sprint would miss Menlo Park before we arrived in Palo Alto. The sprint to Sunnyvale would miss California Avenue, San Antonio, and Mountain View where the VTA Light Rail Line connects with the Caltrains Line. From Sunnyvale we expressed to San Jose skipping Lawrence, Santa Clara and College Park. In the yard at Santa Clara the Red Unit of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus Train was on hand for shows here in San Jose.

My Baby Bullet 362 arrived at San Jose at 4:59 PM right on time and paused before it ran down to Tamien. I went into the station to pick up some snacks before I went back up to the platform to watch some San Jose Rail action.

The Altamont Commuter Express 3102 ready to head to Stockton.

The Baby Bullet 373 departs San Jose on time at 5:26 PM for San Francisco.

The Train 275 was a limited stop train departed at 5:31 PM.

My Amtrak Capitol Train 544 and the ACE Train waited for their departure in San Jose.

Capitol Train 544 8/25/2005

This train had Cab Car 8312 Mount Inyo, Coach 6463 Muir Beach {Surfliner Seats}, Cafe 8813 San Fernando and 8011 Yuba River with engine 2009. It was now time to sit back and relax. I bought a Hot Dog for dinner. The train left San Jose on time and went straight to the Great America Station where a large group of passengers boarded.

The beautiful late afternoon view looking east as we approached Drawbridge.

The sinking buildings at the ghost town of Drawbridge. They then announced that since late Train 11 and a Stub Train for Los Angeles were both in the station, we would be bypassing Oakland and run to Emeryville where passengers including me would be bused back. I thought this idea was pretty stupid. Why not use the grade crossing at either end of the Oakland Station to unload the passengers. After a few minutes I got an idea. Since the Capitols now stop at the Oakland Coliseum Station I could get off there and connect to BART back to 12th Street. I would be back in the hotel by the time the train got back to Emeryville. During all this we did Fremont-Centerville, went through Niles and stopped at Haywood. Right when I was going to go down the stairs to get off at the Coliseum stop, they announced that we would now be stopping at Oakland. Each car would be opened one car at a time starting with the Cab Car. I moved to the Cab Car and we arrived into Oakland on time. I stepped off the train down onto the ballast and then onto the platform where I walked along the Coast Starlight to the north end.

My Capitol Train unloaded car by car in the ballast with a Superliner Stub Train to Los Angeles and the terminated Coast Starlight. I was back in the Jack London Inn before the train rolled by out in front. I checked my e-mail before returning to my room for the night.

Capitol 522 8/26/2005

I was up at 6:15 AM and took a nice hot shower. I checked my E-mail and watched the Weather Channel about Hurricane Katrina. I checked out of the Jack London Inn, an excellent place to stay in Oakland, before walking to the Oakland Amtrak Station.

UP 4071 West came through the Oakland Station as I waited for my Capitol Train to Emeryville. Capitol Train 522 pulled into Oakland eight minutes late and I boarded for a quick trip to Emeryville. Passing the Amtrak Yards I saw the Silver Lariat and Plaza Santa Fe on the rear of the California Zephyr which I would be aboard on the Trains Unlimited Tours Trip "Domes to the Feather River Railroad Days". We arrived into Emeryville a few minutes late.