In 2005 BART planned to extend the service extension from the BART Pittsburg Bay Point station to Byron in Contra Costa County. The project was named “East BART Extension” (eBART). The original plan was to build this extension as a DMU line on an existing UP right of way (ROW). The DMU would have met up with the BART trains at Pittsburg Bay Point, possibly on an elevated structure and then continued in the median of highway 4 to a location east of Railroad Ave. At this location an elaborate flyover was planned to route the alignment out of the median and over to the Mococo UP-ROW.
LTK was tasked to investigate different operating scenarios, mainly FRA or non-FRA compliant DMU service between Pittsburg and Byron. As an option a standard electric LRT system was also considered. Run time simulations for each mode were performed to establish pro forma schedules. For each option a ROM project cost estimate was established. These costs included vehicle procurement, wayside systems and maintenance shop costs. The vehicle fleet was sized based on the proposed schedule. The necessary maintenance shop dimensions were based on the this fleet size.
The cost estimates revealed that a LRT system will be the most expensive option and was not considered further. All further work now related to FRA or non-FRA compliant DMUs with its resulting need for time separation. However, it was difficult to get UP involved in this process. Their participation would have been crucial to establish a viable service plan and to make a decision about compliant or non-compliant operations. Lacking such a decision, FRA compliant and non-compliant options were further developed in parallel for some time.
In 2007 UP decided not to give up any part of the ROW. Additionally the estimated project costs kept rising. As a result, BART decided to scale down the project and build the extension to Hillcrest only. The ROW will now be in the median of highway 4 all the way to Hillcrest, independent of any UP ROW. This basically eliminated the need of an FRA compliant DMU.
In the mean time the diesel fuel price was also rising. Therefore, BART instructed LTK to perform a new project cost estimate as well as an environmental impact study on how a LTR operation, as well as electric commuter rail operation, similar to the investigations currently being done for Caltrain between San Jose and San Francisco, would compare to a non-FRA compliant DMU operation along the new alignment. LTK performed ROM cost estimates for vehicle procurement, wayside installations such as catenary and substations, system maintenance costs and energy costs for all three options. The commuter rail type operations was found to be too expensive for the expected rider ship on the new eBART alignment and was not further considered.
For the electric and diesel operations, the resulting emissions were calculated. Diesel emissions calculations were based on a Tier 3 compliant DMU, similar to the NCTD or CapMet DMUs
which are capable to run up to 75 mph per design. LRT energy consumption was based on typical LRV, such as the P2550 for LACMTA, scaled up for service at 75 mph instead of 65 mph, after reviewing this option with the responsible carbuilder. The emissions resulting from an eclectic operation were calculated based on the typical BART power modal split for electric traction power, such as coal, gas, oil, hydro and other renewable energies. A final report of the findings was issued in early 2008.
In late 2008 LTK was tasked with the writing of a performance based specification for a non compliant DMU operating under CPUC rule rather than FRA. This process also requires to identify possibly need CPUC waivers for some of the non-compliant DMUs such as the NCTD DMU at Oceanside. This process is now ongoing.