VTA and BART will Defer Operations on the Berryessa Extension
Bernice Alaniz

After extensive review and coordination with BART management, VTA has made the difficult decision to defer most of BART’s pre-revenue operations on the BART Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension. The two agencies have concluded that in the interest of achieving a safe and reliable start of revenue service, a more practical work plan needs to be developed.

Since June of this year, VTA as owner-builder and BART as the future operator of VTA’s BART Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension Project have been working diligently to start passenger service before the end of this year. This has involved simultaneous efforts by both agencies to complete final systems modification and related testing, BART’s system acceptance testing (Phase 3 testing) and, more recently, BART service readiness activities including training and simulated service (known as pre-revenue operations). 

Before resuming full pre-revenue operations activities, VTA will complete remaining testing which resulted from required modifications to train control and rail intrusion systems.

Following VTA’s completion of these items, BART will complete its remaining Phase 3 acceptance testing and restart full pre-revenue operations activities. Resequencing these activities eliminates the conflicting needs for access to the track and other facilities associated with simultaneous testing and pre-revenue operations but will necessarily result in the start of passenger service after December 31, 2019. 

All infrastructure projects include a period of acceptance from builder to operator. For transit projects, this responsibility usually resides within the single agency as owner. For the Berryessa Extension Project, this responsibility is being fulfilled by two separate agencies. This means the period of acceptance involves personnel from two different agencies and is significantly more complicated. BART began this acceptance phase earlier this summer where it took control of the extension and began to perform a wide range of testing activities. During this “stress testing,” items are identified for clarification, preference, or correction. 

Because addressing the items identified during “stress testing” is an iterative process, and requires significant coordination between the two agencies, it has become impractical to address these items efficiently in the constrained periods between pre-revenue operations activities. If resolution involves making a change to an operating system, retesting is required. 

As VTA and BART got further into the resolution process, it has become increasingly evident that simultaneously performing testing, resolutions and retesting, and pre-revenue operations will not result in the earliest passenger service. As a result, VTA and BART are developing a revised testing and training plan that includes completing all testing and resolving all items identified during “stress testing” before resuming full pre-revenue operations. This will result in safe and reliable start of passenger service.

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