BART’s Walls White? Nope, Just Clean

The white sections have not been painted-over, they've just been sandblasted clean to remove all the dirt and grime. Photo courtesy of KQED.

The white sections have not been painted-over, they've just been sandblasted clean to remove all the dirt and grime. Photo courtesy of KQED.

KQED has reported that the Embarcadero BART Station is being sandblasted this week, a cleaning effort that has made some sections look as if they’ve been painted white:

The Embarcadero BART station is getting a thorough scrub-down this week. Workers on the graveyard shift have been sandblasting sections of the walls along the tracks at night, says BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost.

The results are dramatic: It almost appears the clean sections of the wall have been painted white.

Despite appearances, the station walls aren’t plain gray concrete but are actually white terrazzo, a composite material made of rock and glass chips suspended in cement. Decades of brake dust from BART and Muni trains, plus the grime brought into the stations by humans, have caked the walls in filth.

Apparently, the Embarcadero Station is particularly susceptible to all that dirt because it’s the first station out of the Transbay Tube. The walls of the station collect all of the tunnel’s dust as trains whizz by, giving it that nice, gray look that may have convinced you it’s actually painted that way.

No word yet on whether other stations will receive such a thorough going-over. But you may want to take a look at the walls the next time you’re waiting for a train, chances are, they’re not actually painted that color.

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