History in Motion

Muni Light Rail Through the Years

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

At the close of 2017, Muni launched a new era of rail service with the unveiling of its latest generation of light rail vehicle (LRV). Here's a look back at Muni light rail trains through the years from the newest ones that are transforming Muni's rail fleet today back to the very first cars in the early 1980s. To learn more about how Muni came to start using LRVs, check out our previous post from March 2017.

composite photo of three generations of Muni LRV car
Left to Right- Muni's 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation of LRV car- built by Boeing, Breda, and Siemens.

Our latest Siemens LRVs: 2017 & Beyond

Muni's latest generation of light rail car entered service after months of rigorous testing in 2017. Built in Sacramento by Siemens, these trains will replace and expand our light rail fleet over the next several years and provide decades of service in the Muni Metro system.

new muni light rail car
Muni's first Siemens-built LRV arrived via flatbed truck in January 2017.

lrv at carl and cole street
Prior to launch, Muni's training department spent hundreds of hours preparing Operators to run the new trains all around the system.

new lrv at night
For months, the new trains underwent rigorous testing in and out of the subway to ensure that they were ready for service.

new lrv in service in muni metro
Muni's newest Siemens LRV stops in Van Ness Station during the first day of service on November 17, 2017.

2nd Generation Breda LRVs: 1995 to Present

Familiar to riders today are Muni's second generation LRVs- grey and red Breda trains providing the bulk of rail service system-wide. These cars started arriving in 1995 to replace the problematic first generation trains from the 1980s.

breda lrv in 1995
The first Breda car arrived nearly 23 years ago to this day on January 12, 1995. These vehicles were partially built in Italy and underwent final assembly in SF on Pier 80. 

train in tunnel
Passengers board one of Muni's current LRVs in the Market Street Subway on October 31, 2014.

muni metro station and train
A Breda car running outbound on the K Ingleside line leaves Montgomery Station.

1st Generation Boeing LRVs: early 1980s to mid 1990s

Muni put its first generation of light rail vehicle into service in the early 1980s. These trains were plagued with maintenance issues almost from the start but for many long-time San Franciscans, the vintage look recalls nostalgic memories.

boeing lrv in the 1980s
One of Muni's first generation cars, built by the Boeing-Vertol Company, in service on the N Judah at Duboce and Church.

fleet of lrvs at rail yard
A fleet of Boeing cars in the classic Muni "Sunset" paint scheme awaits service at Green Division.

boeing lrv in subway
Boeing car 1246 in the newly-opened Muni Metro Subway in the 1980s.

Check out more historic photos at the SFMTA Photo Archive website and follow us on Instagram!