Electrical Experts Stumped By The Mysterious Frying On BART Trains


In February, a rather mysterious occurrence took place on the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) trains that were traveling east. Those that took a route under the Bay of San Francisco began experiencing electrical propulsion equipment failing which escalated dramatically till 40 cars were put out of service. BART had about 80 cars put to rest for repairs. With the number of cars running the circuit depressingly low, irritated commuters were forced to pack into the remaining, working cars. Meanwhile, engineers speculated on the probability of a power surge though no solid evidence was ever found, causing media to dub the cause a “gremlin.”

In order for BART to test its theories, it resorted to shutting down the station. The effort assuaged the gremlin and the crisis disappeared for a fortnight. Jim Allison, one of the spokesperson for BART, revealed that engineers were still unsure whether the problem really came from the substation or not, in spite of the consequent calm. However, the gremlin returned the following week, this time outside the tube. Inexplicable power surges impaired 50 train cars passing through an eastern section of the bay. Despairing officials closed down the track section and ferried passengers past the “cursed” section by bus.

According to spokesperson Alicia Trost, the sudden, high voltage spike which seems to be taking place when the train is specifically traveling over that area of the train tracks, is damaging certain parts of the train car’s propulsion equipment. While there is no risk of safety risk for passengers, they have closed down the section between the two stations more due to a lack of cars that they can spare to the damage than because of public safety concerns. On twitter, BART officials placed the blame on outdated and overtaxed track systems as well as old, continuously patched-up cars citing the need to update the train system for better service in the future.

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How To Get Intimate With Computer-Aided Design


Computer-aided design, also known as CAD has been honed to an art form these past few years. By using computers to design, revise and optimize a specific design, they can save time by replacing the need to create prototypes for every idea on the drawing board and can also save money spent creating said prototypes. Unlike the more well-known Paint or Photoshop programs that are pixel-based and are more widely applied in creating 2D designs, CAD places more emphasis on actual working measurements and is used to build models that can exist in reality. Since CAD is the foundation for everything from house blueprints to wire frames of military grade vehicles, things can get confusing very quickly.

To par it down to the very basics, CAD has been around since the 1940’s, though needless to say it was not as sophisticated as it is nowadays. Today, CAD runs everything from engineering blueprints, graphics for video games to 3D printing plans. Though its current usage and the fields in which it can be applied is hardly slowing, CAD is not limited to a single software, as many people think. While AutoCAD is arguably the most recognized tool for implementing CAD drawings, freeware such as VectorWorks, TurboCAD and LibreCAD have also allowed self-taught students to able with the software for amusement and income.

While the only limit to the software is one’s imagination, complex functions and constraints such as getting the topography or the internal measurements of a multipart shape are more difficult to render. There are several good quality online and offline courses, for a nominal cost and for free, which can help cover the more demanding parts of handling CAD. Though automating CAD to completely forego the human element is in the works, experts say that computers are yet to reach the ingenuity and creativity of the human mind in CAD and hence, may never be able to replace a living mind.

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