Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Transportation & Infrastructure
Published on November 20, 2017
Muni Rolls Out 1st New Light Rail Vehicle Since 1990sPhotos: Seth G./Hoodline Tipline

Last week, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) launched the first of 218 new light-rail vehicles (LRVs).

The cars are the first major upgrades made to Muni's fleet since the 1990s and will eventually replace all of the agency's current trains.

Although the new car, No. 2006, began shuttling passengers on the N-Judah line on Friday, it will travel on different lines.

The effort is part of the 2014 SFMTA Transit Fleet Management Plan and the agency's 20-year capital plan. The new vehicles, built by Siemens in Sacramento under a $1.2 billion contract, began arriving in San Francisco earlier this year.

The new LRVs are reportedly quieter, have wider aisles and more reliable passenger doors. They also have an enhanced braking system and larger signage, and will require less maintenance because they have fewer parts.

According to the agency, the new cars will be able to run for 59,000 miles without breakdowns, as opposed to 5,000 miles for today's LRVs.

The next new train is scheduled to debut in December, with one to two new vehicles expected to roll out each week after that, KTVU reports. In total, SFMTA plans to have 68 new trains up and running by the end of next year.

With the addition of the new LRVs, Muni’s fleet will grow to 218 by the end of 2018, and the agency plans to replace its entire fleet with the new vehicles by 2028.

Video: SFMTA

Car No. 2006 was revealed at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Church and Duboce streets on Friday. The event was attended by numerous locally-elected officials and transportation experts.

A plaque honoring Muni employee Larry Martin, whom the new train commemorates, was similarly unveiled at the ceremony. Martin, who died last month, was a former president of both the Transport Works Union Local 250-A and the Recreation and Park Commission. He began working with Muni in 1966.

As we previously reported, each vehicle required one thousand hours of testing, which effectively shut down nighttime and weekend service between Montgomery and West Portal stations for roughly a month this past summer.

Some early reactions to Muni's new LRV: