After months of testing and deliveries, Friday saw the debut of San Francisco Municipal Railway's newest light rail vehicle, manufactured by Siemens and built in Sacramento. The contract calls for the delivery of 24 Siemens LRV4 vehicles by the end of 2018, and an additional 44 new vehicles by 2019. These new LRVs will initially bolster the capacity on Muni Metro, currently among the most used in the United States, and these will eventually replace the Breda LRVs in service since 2000.
Author's Note: a full album of the event can be viewed here. (Redirects to Flickr)
The launch event took place at the Mint Yard, a nondescript storage yard sandwiched on Duboce Street between Church and Market, next to the Duboce Street Portal to the Market Street Subway. It was attended by a powerhouse cast of San Francisco leaders, Muni officials, and representatives from the State and Federal levels, and the President of Siemens in the United States. SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin officiated the launch, with multiple speakers from San Francisco Board of Supervisors Head London Breed to SFMTA Director of Transit John Haley speaking on the future of Muni Metro with the "quieter, sleeker light rail". Prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony and the official launch of the LRV4 to the public, a dedication ceremony took place in memory of former Muni Metro operator and Transit Workers Union leader Larry Martin, with San Francisco Ed Lee and Larry's family at the helm.
After the ribbon cutting ceremony. It's off to the train. Short descriptions can be found on the slideshow. The biggest takeaways from the new LRV4 include:
- All longitudinal seating (easy to clean too) and more space for standees
- The brand new digital automatic voice annunciators show passengers visually where the train is on the line (and also what transfers can be made at each stop), reducing the need for the operator to say on the microphone which stop a train is on (especially on crowded trains)
- Say goodbye to the stop strings and say hello to the stop buttons
- Operates through the streets much quieter than the Breda LRV
- LED lighting on both the exterior and interior of the train reduces its environmental impact
- Flip-up seats for wheelchairs have been integrated into the train, making boarding and disembarking much easier than before