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Muni to begin running new metro trains two-cars at a time, boosting N-Judah capacity

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(Kevin White/Courtesy SFMTA)

Muni’s newest trains debuted last November to much fanfare, aimed at solving crowded commutes.

Still, however, something was missing — those trains ran only one car at a time.

Now The City is finally ready to run its newest trains in a two-car configuration to increase capacity and ease crowding for the thousands of daily N-Judah riders.

Those first two-car trains, manufactured by the firm Siemens, will run on the N-Judah line starting Wednesday.

The change comes on the heels of regulatory approval from the California Public Utilities Commission, who issued the safety certification for SFMTA to begin multi-car service. The new trains feature computer readouts of upcoming train stops, new seating configurations, and a quieter ride.

And even more new Siemens trains are on the way, according to John Haley, director of transit at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Haley told the San Francisco Examiner that SFMTA has 25 of the new train cars in Muni railyards now, but only about seven single-car trains are out on the tracks at any one time. The launch of the two-car trains on the N-Judah line will be followed by more multi-car trains by next month, he said. The trains use cameras and monitors instead of rear-view mirrors, vital for operators when running multi-car trains. But a vital shipment of monitors is “stuck in customs in China,” Haley said.

“We expect them to arrive in the third week of June,” he said.

Couple those new monitors with a slate of new operators who are nearly done with training, and more multi-car trains will debut soon, Haley said.

“There’s training going on every day,” Haley said. He expects 68 new Siemens rail cars to debut by the end of 2019.

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