Sometimes it’s fun to take a step back from the normal electronics themes and feature a marvelous engineering project. This week’s Retrotechtacular looks at a pair of videos reporting on the progress of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. Anyone who’s visited San Francisco will be familiar with the BART system of trains that serve the region. Let’s take a look at what went into building the system almost half a century ago.
Ah, the folk music that opens this first video made us crack a smile immediately. A bit of Folk is what public works videos of today are truly missing.
Learn about how the BART lines were routed to preserve the beauty of the landscape and as an alternative to the “extravagance” of cement roadways transporting one passenger in one car. Don’t get us wrong, we’re all in favor of mass transit and use it ourselves quite often. About four minutes in we begin to learn some of the engineering problems of building the system, such as a water table just 20 feet below street level. The answer is a pressurized work environment, special equipment, and cement. Lots and lots of cement. The other challenge is the section of submarine line that traverses the bay. These are not tunnels, but steel tubes that were lowered into a shallowly dredged channel.
That one was fun but you get a bit better view of the actual construction work (including the steel fabrication work) in this film published the year before:
Retrotechtacular is a weekly column featuring hacks, technology, and kitsch from ages of yore. Help keep it fresh by sending in your ideas for future installments.