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Friday, June 24, 2011

Muni Malfunction Snarls Trains in Tunnel

Posted By on Fri, Jun 24, 2011 at 10:59 AM

click to enlarge This would have been faster. Much faster. - WILLIAM POOR

And how's your Friday going?

Slowly, if you're a purveyor of Muni. A malfunction with the system's signal loop -- which allows trains to enter automatic mode in the Metro Tunnel -- has led to snail-like trips in light-rail vehicles.

Muni spokesman Paul Rose said calls came in about 5:30 this morning regarding the problem. Crews continue to investigate the source of the malfunction. Trains are currently navigating the tunnel in manual mode -- i.e. slowly.

In the past, trains' sander hoses -- which pour sand on the tracks to aid braking -- have severed the signal loop cable. That has been ruled out in this case, however.

Finally, how slow is slow? It took your humble narrator 45 minutes to traverse from 18th and Church to Duboce and Church this morning. Doing the math, that's six-tenths of a mile in three-quarters of an hour, or 0.8 miles per hour. By comparison, a snail moves at only 0.03 miles per hour. So Muni isn't actually moving at a snail's pace. It is, however, moving more lethargically than a spider.

Update: Rose says the cable was repaired and trains were back on automatic as of 11:30 a.m. The underlying cause for the problem has not yet been revealed.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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