Two-car N-Judah trains relaunch into service


Approaching, two-car N-Judah train in zero minutes.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency debuted the first two-car train on the N-Judah line during the Wednesday morning commute using their new Muni trains after receiving a key safety approval from the California Public Utilities Commission last month.

Muni passengers have so far been accustomed to riding the new trains — known as the LRV4 — as a single-car train on all of the subway lines.

Jerold Chinn/SFBay

Muni passengers inside the new two-car N-Judah train in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, June 6, 2018.

The new two-car N train was parked along the side of the Church Street and Duboce Avenue with SFMTA officials and maintenance crews.

Onlookers Wednesday morning around 8 a.m. saw a sneak peek of two-car formation from the inside of jam-packed N trains heading towards downtown.

The train first headed outbound to Carl Street and Hillway Avenue near UCSF and then switched back in the inbound direction, where the train began picking passengers for the first time.

There were no hiccups to report during the ride from UCSF to the Embarcadero Station.

John Haley, SFMTA director of transit, said the transit agency has 26 trains on its property with 15 trains ready for revenue service. About six trains are already in service, not including the two-car N-Judah train.

During testing of the two-car configuration, Haley said the monitors for operators to see the rear of the train was delayed by a fraction of a second and needed two software updates in order to fix the delay.

Haley said testing the train with the CPUC showed no signs of any issues with the monitors.

Those same monitors are also being held up in customs in China as the transit agency awaits to install them on some of the new trains, said Haley.

Muni officials placed the new two-car train on the N because of how packed the trains are during the rush hour commute. An average of 45,000 passengers use the N on the weekdays.

Jerold Chinn/SFBay

A new two-car N-Judah train parked on the side of the Duboce Portal in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, June 6, 2018.

Production of the SFMTA’s LRV4 has ramped up with the transit agency receiving a new train every week from the Siemens factory in Sacramento.

The SFMTA expects to have a total of 64 trains by the end of the year.

Muni passengers can expect to see more trains in service by the summer. The SFMTA will hold a general sign-up on June 16 where operators can choose where they want to work and will also allow officials to put the new trains into the schedule.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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