The J Church line is running again on surface streests between Church and Duboce streets and Balboa Park Station. (Samantha Laurey/ Special to S.F. Examiner)

The J Church line is running again on surface streests between Church and Duboce streets and Balboa Park Station. (Samantha Laurey/ Special to S.F. Examiner)

J Church train returns to city streets

Quiet Saturday rollout the start of a gradual resumption of rail service

Once a familiar sight, the long-absent J Church train trundled down city streets for the first time in months Saturday, carrying passengers between Balboa Park Station and Church and Duboce streets.

The train, the first to return to service since August, is only traveling on surface tracks as far as its new terminus at Church and Duboce, where passengers heading to or from downtown must transfer to an alternate line. For now, those lines are running with buses, but eventually they’ll also transition back to trains.

The train will run from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, arriving every 12 minutes.

Saturday’s quiet debut, which drew relatively few riders, is part of a larger plan by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to relaunch Muni Metro train service with fewer delays, higher train frequencies and less congestion.

When all routes are back online, the agency will limit how many lines actually go underground in an effort to reduce the all-too-familiar traffic jams that would occur pre-pandemic. This means some passengers will need to transfer to another train when they reach the subway.

SFMTA first tried to roll out this retooled subway plan in August, but the party lasted for only three days before the agency shut the operation down entirely due to failures with overhead wire splices, an hours-long delay during Monday rush hour and a case of COVID-19 in the staff that triggered self-quarantine for a number of key operators.

No such problems were immediately reported with the J Church line as of Saturday afternoon, and the SFMTA social media account hadn’t reported any delays.

The transit agency will be unveiling new trains at a much slower pace this time around.

Next up is the T Third line on Jan. 23.

Bay Area Newssan francisco newsTransittransportation

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

A view of Science Hall at the City College of San Francisco Ocean campus on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
CCSF begins search for next chancellor amid new challenges

‘It’s arguably the biggest single responsibility the board has,’ trustee says

Some people are concerned that University of California, San Francisco’s expansion at its Parnassus campus could cause an undesirable increase in the number of riders on Muni’s N-Judah line.<ins></ins>
Will UCSF’s $20 million pledge to SFMTA offset traffic woes?

An even more crowded N-Judah plus increased congestion ahead cause concern

Music producer Phil Spector looks up during his murder trial in Superior Court July 10, 2007 in Los Angeles. (Gabriel Bouys-Pool/Getty Images/TNS)
Phil Spector, visionary music producer convicted in notorious murder, dies at 81

Phil Spector, the visionary record producer who revolutionized pop music in the… Continue reading

Toni Isabella, a counselor at Ohlhoff Recovery Programs, finds helpful assistance from service dog Barker Posey.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Toni Isabella: Helping people indoors and out recover from addiction’s dark side

Counselor supports holistic, progressive approach to healing

In recognition of recent news surrounding Donald Trump, here are two peach drinks: Frozy Navel, left, and Peach Gin Fizz. (Saul Sugarman/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Impeached twice? Try these two peach cocktails

Mix these up and toast in hopes of more laughs, lighter times in 2021

Most Read