Muni train derails in tunnel, snarling evening commute

A San Francisco Municipal Railway Metro train that derailed during the morning rush hour Wednesday kept the tunnel between Castro and West Portal stations closed clogging the evening rush hour.

The train derailed about 7:50 a.m., shutting down service through the tunnel. About 4:25 p.m., Muni spokesman Alan Siegel said, workers had the train back on the track and pulled it out of the tunnel. Crews continued to work in the tunnel, repairing and testing the overhead electrical wires and inspecting the track.

It was unclear just what caused the derailment, Siegel said, but its effect was no mystery. Thousands of commuters packed onto shuttle buses that ran between downtown and West Portal all day.

“One of the things that took so long is that the tunnel is so cramped.” Siegel said of the effort to re-rail the train. “It took a lot of time just to get it back on because they’re working in such close quarters.”

He said the tunnel would remain closed for the rest of the day and that the buses would run until 10 p.m., the end of Muni’s service day.

Commuters swirled in crowds around West Portal, running to make connections from the above-ground rail lines to the shuttles and vice-versa.

Sei Shu, a delivery driver who works downtown and lives in the outer Sunset, said it took him 45 minutes to get to West Portal, where he had waited a half-hour for a connection.

“I have to cook for my family, and I can’t cook no more,” he said, indicating a bag of groceries he wouldn’t be able to use. “We’ll have to go out.” But Shu seemed glad to at least be on his own side of town. “Downtown is all screwed up,” he said.

Sean Smith, an 18-year-old San Francisco State University Student who works near Civic Center, said he canceled his plans to stay downtown andeat out. “Forget it. It’s too much work,” he said. Smith said it took him an hour and a half to get to West Portal. He had been waiting for about 15 minutes for a connection to the M back home.

amartin@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

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

Just Posted

After the pandemic hit, Twin Peaks Boulevard was closed to vehicle traffic, a situation lauded by open space advocates. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
New proposal to partially reopen Twin Peaks to vehicles pleases no one

Neighbors say closure brought crime into residential streets, while advocates seek more open space

Members of the Sheriff’s Department command staff wore masks at a swearing-in ceremony for Assistant Sheriff Tanzanika Carter. One attendee later tested positive. 
Courtesy SFSD
Sheriff sees increase in COVID-19 cases as 3 captains test positive

Command staff among 10 infected members in past week

Rainy weather is expected in the coming week. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Rainstorms, potential atmospheric river expected to drench Bay Area in coming week

By Eli Walsh Bay City News Foundation Multiple rainstorms, cold temperatures some… Continue reading

Lowell High School is considered an academically elite public school. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Students denounce ‘rampant, unchecked racism’ at Lowell after slurs flood anti-racism lesson

A lesson on anti-racism at Lowell High School on Wednesday was bombarded… Continue reading

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23), shown here against the San Antonio Spurs at Chase Center on January 20, was ejected from Thursday night’s game on a technical foul after he yelled at a teammate during a play. (Chris Victorio for the S.F. Examiner).
Warriors 119-101 loss to Knicks highlights Draymond Green’s value

Team struggles with fouls, lack of discipline in play

Most Read