Wayward driver damages Muni track switch


The Monday night and Tuesday afternoon commute for J-Church and N-Judah Muni passengers was not a pleasant one thanks to a motorist who drove their vehicle into the Church and Duboce portal, damaging a track switch early Monday morning.

Aaron Bialick, who works for the SFMTA’s communications department, wrote on the transit agency’s blog that the motorist “nearly destroyed” the track switch.

Bialick explains that a track switch guides the Muni trains from one track to another. In this case, the track switch automatically moves at the Church junction to help guide the J-Church and N-Judah trains to crossover to the inbound rail tracks.

Crews were able to fix the track switch and run tests before the peak of the morning commute on Monday, but the switch failed again late Monday afternoon at 3:20 p.m., wrote Bialick.

The delay lasted through the evening commute until  7:40 p.m., according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

As crews worked on repairing the track switch again, passengers had to take other Muni Metro lines to Church Station to connect to the J-Church and N-Judah for service on the surface. Bus supplemental service was also provided.

On Tuesday at 10:50 a.m., the same track switch failed again. The transit agency provided the same service plan as it did on Monday. Crews were able to repair the track switch by 12:35 p.m.

Motorists driving into Muni tunnels is not uncommon, but Bialick wrote that the SFMTA have installed a number of measures to prevent these incidents from happening that can cause major delays to thousands of Muni passengers:

“To prevent these incidents, in recent years we’ve installed measures like lit signage and raised bumps, and we’re exploring additional options.”

Bialick added that this was the first time a motorist had driven into the Church and Duboce Portal since the SFMTA installed a brightly lit “Do Not Enter” electronic sign.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. He has produced stories for the San Francisco Public Press and Ingleside Light. Send tips to or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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