Presbyterian College > Academic Web Server > Jon Bell > Transit > (Cities | Types) > San Francisco > Muni Metro

San Francisco, California:
Muni Metro


The "Muni Metro" light rail lines operated by the San Francisco Municipal Railway are the remnants of San Francisco's once-extensive network of electric streetcar lines. These lines survived because they use tunnels and other private right-of-way as significant short cuts. They all operate along Market Street in downtown San Francisco, then fan out in various directions towards the west and south. In the early 1980s the Market Street portion was relocated underground, in a tunnel just above the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). The Market Street surface tracks formerly used by the Muni Metro lines are now used by the F-Market heritage trolley line.

The current lines are:

Lines J through M terminate in downtown San Francisco at the Embarcadero station, which was until recently the physical end of the Muni Metro system. Line N continues along the Embarcadero extension (opened in early 1998) which heads south along the waterfront, then doubles back inland to the Caltrain commuter rail station at Fourth and Townsend Streets.

Muni is now building a further 5.4-mile extension along Third Street southward to the Bayshore Caltrain station near the southern city limit. It will basically replace current bus route 15. Service is expected to begin in 2005. It is planned to extend this line northward in a subway into downtown San Francisco to Chinatown (the Central Subway project).


These pictures were taken in June 1997. Most of them show the old Boeing LRVs which were about to be replaced by new ones from Breda. A few Bredas had arrived and were in service or being tested.

[picture] A Breda LRV on the J-Church route crosses Market Street just after leaving the subway. The Market Street tracks are for the F-Market heritage streetcar line. Market Street occasionally sees 8-Market trolley coaches as replacement service for the streetcars, so it has dual-wire overhead; the F-Market streetcars (which all use trolley poles) use one of those two wires. The 22-Fillmore trolley coach route also runs along Church Street here, but the LRVs use pantographs which can't "pick out" one wire from dual-wire overhead, so Church St. has both single-wire LRV overhead and double-wire trolley coach overhead. This makes for a lot of "special work" where the wires cross above the intersection.

[picture] An inbound J-Church car is about to leave the private right-of-way through Mission Dolores Park, cross 18th Street, and return to street trackage on Church Street. The line makes this detour in order to avoid the steep hill on Church, which is visible at the right.

[picture] A Breda LRV lays over in the wye at Church and 30th Streets. Until the early 1990s, this was the end of the J-Church line; some trains still turn back here.

[picture] An outbound M-Ocean View train pulls out of the West Portal station at the end of the Twin Peaks tunnel, while an L-Taraval train waits behind it. These two trains were coupled together for their trip through the Market Street subway and the Twin Peaks tunnel, and have just uncoupled to go their separate ways. The L train will turn right just outside the station.

[picture] Now we are outside the West Portal station, looking back into it, as a K-Ingleside train pulls out.

[picture] A couple of blocks along West Portal Avenue from the station, an inbound M-Ocean View train picks up and discharges passengers in the early morning fog.

[picture] Between St. Francis Circle and 19th Avenue, M-Ocean View trains use a short stretch of private right of way that crosses Ocean Avenue. The driver of the car at left started to try to scoot across the tracks in front of this northbound train, then changed his mind at the last split second.

[picture] A southbound M-Ocean View train enters 19th Avenue from the private right of way, in a view looking south towards Stonestown.

[picture] An outbound M-Ocean View train stops at the Stonestown station, in the median of busy 19th Avenue.

[picture] A K-Ingleside and a J-Church train wait in the loop at Balboa Park station.

[picture] The main LRV storage yard at Balboa Park station.

[picture] Across Geneva Avenue from Balboa Park station is the Geneva Upper yard, which is used for storing old streetcars (or at least was used for this in 1997). The M-Ocean View train on San Jose Avenue is about to cross the intersection and turn into Balboa Park loop.

[picture] An outbound N-Judah train rounds the curve from Irving St. onto 9th Ave.

[picture] A block south of the preceding picture, two N-Judah trains meet at Judah St. and 9th Ave. One is a new Breda LRV which is being tested and is not carrying any passengers.

[picture] An outbound N-Judah train on Judah St. near 24th Ave.; in the distance is an approaching inbound train.

[picture] An inbound N-Judah train picks up passengers at the western end of the line near the beach. Next to it is a second train waiting on the pocket track in the terminal loop.

This page was last updated on 28 May 2005.

Presbyterian College > Academic Web Server > Jon Bell > Transit > (Cities | Types) > San Francisco > Muni Metro

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