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Muni slowdowns blamed on tunnel contractor, damaged equipment

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A construction worker rides on top of materials being transported out of the Twin Peaks Tunnel during construction. Muni is blaming delays on damage done by the contractor on the project. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency officials blamed delays along the Muni light rail lines this week on damage to the train control system allegedly caused by the contractor of the recently completed Twin Peaks tunnel improvement project.

The tunnel, which was out of service for two months while undergoing long-planned upgrades, reopened again on Aug. 25. This past weekend was the first of two planned additional weekend shutdowns to perform “routine tasks,” the agency said.

The SFMTA said in a written statement that anomalies were first observed Saturday morning and caused trains to randomly stop when entering West Portal station. The malfunction required operators to move trains through at significantly reduced speeds, which slows down the entire metro system. The issue was first reported this week by KQED.

Although SFMTA has replaced all of the components of the train control system in the tunnel, the problem has persisted. They have been working with the manufacturer to collect and analyze more data.

“We believe that we will have a solution in place as early as this week,” the statement read. “In the meantime, should the delays continue, we have positioned staff at West Portal station in an effort to make mechanical and electrical adjustments to keep trains moving and service running.”

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