PLEASANT HILL -- BART train service between Walnut Creek and Concord on the Pittsburg-Bay Point line was temporarily suspended in both directions because of a problem with the tracks, stranding thousands of people during the evening commute, officials said.
A train was taken out of service at 5:10 p.m. Tuesday near the Pleasant Hill station after damage to the track and third rail was spotted. The damage was at an "interlocking," which impacts both sides of the tracks.
Trost described the damage as "extensive."
Shortly after 6 p.m., officials said they were running about two out of every three trains through the area in the eastbound direction, toward Pittsburg/Bay Point. Some passengers would be asked to change trains to get through the area, according to BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost.
Around 8:15 p.m., trains began moving through the area in both directions using a single track, though there were still delays of 15 to 20 minutes. BART officials also set up at least seven buses to transport riders from the Walnut Creek station to the Concord station, Trost said.
Trost said at 9 p.m. that officials expected to have BART service running Wednesday morning, but that she was not certain if trains would still have to be single-tracked around the problem area.
At the Walnut Creek station on Tuesday evening, dozens of commuters were trying to figure out how they could get home. Many said that BART officials were not clearly communicating what they should do.
"There are just too many confusing messages," said Concord resident Ron McClean, 53, who was trying to get the San Francisco Giants game. He said he had already been traveling for an hour; he was put on a bus at the Pleasant Hill station, but had to wait with others before entering the Walnut Creek station once service resumed to prevent overcrowding on the platform.
"I've never experienced anything like this," said Jared Didhian, 24, who was trying to get to class at SF State. "Public transportation has always worked for me. I'm not too sure what's going on."
Staff writer Karina Ioffee contributed to this report. Follow Kristin J. Bender at Twitter.com/kjbender.