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Rail News: Passenger Rail

BART: Strike continues, NTSB investigates fatal accident


Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) will remain closed today due to an ongoing strike launched on Friday by the agency's two largest unions.

Last night, BART officials said that, with no end to the strike in sight, commuters should make alternative plans for travel on Monday. BART's board planned to meet in a closed session later today, agency officials said in a press release.

"BART officials have been in communication with union leaders and the mediator to determine the next steps" toward a resolution, they said.

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1555, which represent the majority of BART workers, delivered an offer to BART management "aimed at ending the strike and getting the parties back into mediation" to complete bargaining for a new contract, according to a statement posted on SEIU's website.

Negotiations, which involved the aid of a federal mediator, broke down late last week. Among other issues, the two sides remain divided over work rules. At least one local media outlet reported this morning that the outlook was bleak for a quick resolution to the strike.

Meanwhile, the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating an Oct. 19 accident that caused the deaths of two workers. A BART employee and a contractor were fatally struck Saturday by an out-of-service BART train while they were inspecting track, BART officials said.

"Both people had extensive experience working around moving trains in both the freight train and the rapid transit industry," BART officials said in a prepared statement. "The procedures involved in track maintenance require one employee to inspect the track and the other to act as a lookout to notify of any oncoming traffic."

The train was on a routine maintenance run and was being run by an experienced operator. When the accident occurred, the train was operating in automatic mode under computer control.

"The entire BART family is grieving," BART General Manager Grace Crunican said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of our deceased co-workers."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/21/2013