System-Wide Heat Wave

For the third consecutive day temperatures in my backyard have exceeded the century mark. Even temperatures over in the city (San Francisco) have been above normal. While this is a nice change for the month of May, it has been hell for BART! I experienced the heat related issues, but not as a patron.

No apology in the world could be accepted for an extremely hot, over crowded car that has very little circulating cool air. To make matters worse toss in a heat related delay. BART spokesman Linton Johnson says equipment is 35 years old and they aren’t getting the money they need to bring it up to date, so expect more delays. And it’s not the official start of summer yet!

The delays this past Thursday were not contained to a specific area or line, but erupted system wide. This was the first 100+ degree day and it definitely reeked havoc with the way side equipment. To make matters worse this FUBAR’d the afternoon commute. I have read a few BART related blogs and sites and many patrons were stuck for extended periods of time, either butt to butt in an over crowded car or waiting on a platform downtown that could not accommodate any other patrons.

While tempers of patrons were hot, things were no cooler in the operations control center, as all hands were on deck attempting to restore order to chaos the heat created. Every train controller on duty was at a workstation playing some part in trying to keep the trains moving. Sometimes movement was not very far or very fast, especially approaching Daly City and unfortunately though all the downtown stations.

These heat related issues were compounded by way side issues from Bay Fair to Fremont due to an electrical substation fire that caused damage and required alternate train controlling in order to patrons between Bay Fair and Fremont.

All in all some of the long timers said they had NEVER seen the system as bad as it was Thursday. And folks, as I said, it is not summer yet. You know temperatures will constantly be in the 90-100 degree range when June, July and August hit. For the patron’s sake, I wish there was an easy fix for all these problems that caused delays but there isn’t. Hopefully I can play my small part in moving trains and keeping train operators updated with information which is passed on to patrons. As for the heat that is completely out of my control.

How Hot is Hell?

The past five days have been in excess of 110F [43C] out our way, a proverbial “heat wave.” It’s funny how the news media makes such a big deal out of adverse weather. You see it, the heavy rains and storm or very hot weather. Last I checked, this IS summer and it IS supposed to be hot. Right? I think its beautiful weather, granted I have not done much work outside that past week, given I have not had a day off since this “heat wave” has begun.

The air conditioning has been going, what seems like, non-stop the past week. I have watched it on a regular basis, received countless e-mails from California ISO regarding energy supply/demand issues. I have tried to make sure we have “conserved” when possible turning off our computers [more on that soon], lights, turning the air conditioning up a few degrees. And if you don’t go outside 78F or 80F downstairs with the ceiling fan turning is comfortable. At least I think so, my wife may have another opinion.

But we have not been without our share of problems, some of them directly related to the heat. While the “rolling blackouts” have been hanging over our head, we have not had any of them to date. There have been momentary outages [like 30 secs], the power clicks off and then comes back on. I know I am stating the obvious, but computers don’t like when this occurs. My server have been struck twice now and I continue to have issues trying to get it restarted. Last week, I had the BSOD with “inaccessible boot device” that required a ‘CHKDSK /F’ command booting to the operating system CD.

Hindsight is 20/20 as they say and a UPS would be wise to own, given my current situation, but I don’t believe it would resolve the issue completely, since I was at work last night when the power tripped twice in about a 45 minute period, so said my wife. I have also been looking at an external HDD, that I could use to back up all the “important files” I have. I have not made a decision quite yet, as I will have to try and get my server back up and running tomorrow.

In Cougar news, I have been offered a deal on a 1970 Cougar Eliminator, Grabber Blue/Black with a 351W and 50,000 miles on the original engine. It is a “steal of a deal” but I need to talk to my wife about it. Obviously, we are still in limbo with the position at BART, which IF we get would really be great! But I cannot wait too long because this deal will not last and any Cougar enthusiast interested in owning a car of that type would snatch it up. That is what I am worried about, a Eliminator in my backyard, for a price I had not excepted to be what I was quoted. But the “voice of reason”, my wife is not as convinced as I. More news on Tuesday about the Eliminator.

As mentioned a moment ago, no update from BART. I was able to fax my dependability calendar two nights ago, which was the last piece of paperwork they requested. And damnit, wouldn’t you know it, May/June was the ONLY blemish on my 11 years at United, I missed a total of 4 days. So that does not make it too happy, since it really does not reflect my true dependability. That is 1 sick day in every 1003 days or as I see it no sick days in 10 years. Both very impressive. The last piece that needs to fall into place, a phone call to my manager, they asked for a name and phone number. I am not sure what sort of information they are going after, but hopefully this manager does not screw me with negative comments about me. I guess we wait and see…