A 10-mile BART extension in east Contra Costa County, dubbed eBART during construction, was renamed the Antioch Line when it opened in May 2018. The hugely popular extension runs from the former Pittsburg/Bay Point terminus along the Highway 4 median to a pair of new stations at Pittsburg Center and Antioch.
The extension not only provides a crucial link to Bay Area job centers for lower- and middle-income communities in Pittsburg and Antioch but also starts a new chapter in BART’s operating history, with service provided on standard gauge track by diesel multiple unit (DMU) trains. The DMU technology meets the U.S. government’s strictest emissions standards and runs on renewable diesel, an advanced biofuel produced from bio-based sources such as vegetable oil.
As part of the efforts by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority and Caltrans to increase the capacity of the Highway 4 corridor, the route’s widening included construction of a median to accommodate the new line’s tracks. The DMU cars run on their own tracks and connect with the existing BART system at a transfer platform one-third of a mile east of the Pittsburg/Bay Point station.
Thanks to the innovative technology, the extension came in at about half of the $1 billion cost estimated for extending BART’s traditional electric-powered system. As well, the Antioch station has an on-site solar photovoltaic system that powers the needs of the station during the day with excess energy providing power to BART’s other nearby stations.
The BART to Antioch extension carries as many people as an additional freeway lane on Highway 4, and is predicted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 260,000 pounds a day.
According to BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost, “We hit our one-millionth ride after only five months of being open. That is a tremendous success for a transit line, even one as well-known as BART.”
Added Diane Gibson Gray, an Antioch rider, “I love it. It’s smooth, it’s beautiful. It’s clean.”