SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Muni passengers will be riding in style in a few months but first, they’ll pay a price. Station closures will be necessary to get the new cars in service.
At the West Portal Muni station the platform is empty, but rolling into the station is the train car of the future.
With the clock ticking, Muni has shut down subway service for the next few weekends from Forest Hill to Montgomery station to get these new cars tested and rail ready.
“Everything from testing the car, the propulsion, the brakes under different circumstances,” explains Muni spokesperson John Haley.
Muni had been testing the trains during a two hour window in the middle of the night but needed more time to work out the kinks.
“We’re looking for a clean handshake between our new trains that will go in the subway and our train control system,” says Haley.
He believes that once the 68 new cars go online riders will notice a difference.
“I think riders will notice right away the smoother ride,” says Haley. “I was on the other night at 50 miles an hour which is our maximum speed in the subway and you really didn’t notice you were going 50 miles an hour – it was a very smooth ride.”
Haley says even non-riders will notice the difference thanks to extensive vibration testing.
“Also the pounding on the streets and the track that exists with some of the trains – so far there’s been no showstoppers on the test,” says Haley.
Muni is shooting for August 20th to hand over all the safety tests to the California Public Utilities Comission. Once the CPUC signs off, the new cars will go online.