In the mood for a documentary piece about BART? Of course you are.
Though today, BART runs reasonably seamlessly through three counties and across the Bay, it was once a construction nightmare for Bay Area businesses and residents. BART created these videos to show the public what they were getting for their trouble. “Three to get ready” features smooth narration, an orchestral score, and some fine examples of 1967 fashion and construction practices (with lots of smoking).
Starting at 3:15, the video explains how the Transbay Tube was created.
Pilings that mark the old ferry boat slips must be pulled up and hauled away. High pressure hoses loosen dirt around the base. The old San Francisco wharves, dating back to the time of ferryboat commuting, make way for high speed trains, which will make the trip from Oakland to San Francisco in eight minutes.
The tube itself will consist of 57 sections like this one, ready for launching at Bethlehem Shipyard. Each double-barreled section is 350 feet long and weighs some 800 tons when it slides into the Bay. After launching, the section is nudged to an outfitting dock, where reinforced concrete is applied to the interior walls, until its weight reaches 12,000 tons: more than a World War II liberty ship.
In the early morning hours, when traffic is light on the Bay, the section is towed to the Oakland side where it is slung beneath a giant catamaran barge and gently lowered into place along a shallow trench dredged across the floor of the Bay. Hydraulic couplers lock each section to its mate. They are made watertight, and the process is repeated for the 57 sections and four long years.
Other things to look for:
0:57 Onlookers on Market Street
2:35 The Paramount Theater and I.Magnin Buildings in Uptown Oakland: two historic gems that are still looking fabulous today.
3:15 How the Transbay Tube came to be
7:10 The making of the “Orinda Crossroads”
8:08 Breaking through the Berkeley Hills tunnel
11:56 An enormous cavern in Downtown Berkeley
12:25 “We’ve said that it will be the finest in the world. We promise you it will be no less than that.”
Did you live in the Bay Area when BART was built? Share your memories in the comments below. It was worth it, right?