New Muni LRVs up for approval Tuesday


SFMTA’s Board of Directors meets tomorrow, and one of the items on the agenda is the awarding of a contract to build Muni’s so-called fleet of the future—a new line of sleek LRVs that would roll out beginning in late 2016.

Muni rider Jeff (no relation, heh) informed us of the following exciting news:

Siemens beat out CAF for the contract. Siemens has a factory in Sacramento. Initial order is for 24 cars immediately, and will total 175 to replace the entire current Breda fleet. Two subsequent options of 40 and 45 are listed as well for future fleet expansion.

I’m kind of disappointed that Muni didn’t opt for longer car lengths. I don’t know whether longer car lengths would save money operationally, but they do sure swallow up more people.


They kinda remind me of something out of Tron. And I like how the different lines have different-colored vehicle, though I wonder if that’s simply a prototype feature.

See the presentation on these new light-rail beauties here (PDF). Features include a “dramatic reduction in maintenance,” longer life, and much cheaper than its closest competitor. Oh, and the vehicles would be made in Sacramento. Keep it local, y’all.

You can find the full meeting agenda here.

What do you think of these new light-rail vehicles?


  • Dexter Wong

    I think they would be great in San Francisco. Siemens has built cars for San Diego, Sacramento, Calgary and many other cities.

  • RobBob

    Now if they can only replace the historic streetcars with these modern cars, then they wouldn’t have to be running F bus replacements when the historic cars break down.

    • A Vuncular

      If you don’t like the historic streetcars, you’re living in the wrong city. Please move.

    • You shouldn’t assume the reason we’ve been seeing so many busses on the F-line is because of breakdowns. Market Street Railway recently reported that SFMTA is especially understaffed in rail operators right now leaving them with a choice of running busses or canceling runs entirely.

  • Charles

    Where does it say that the cars would be color-coded? From what I can tell, those are just different, proposed paintjobs.

  • A Vuncular

    Longer car lengths would require longer platforms at surface stops. Longer trains with more cars (in the subway) are already in the works.

    Color-coding would introduce a rigidity into the scheduling of equipment. Muni doesn’t need that. What would happen when you’ve got three extra J-colored cars sitting idle, while cars on the M-line are jammed because five of that color are all in the repair yard at the same time?

    It does look, however, as if there could be more color in the electronic displays, and a larger signage area facing front. Maybe an entire panel of variable-colored LEDs facing front.

    • A Vuncular

      I mean to say not that the photos of the prototypes show larger signage and more color than we’ve got with the Breda cars, but that from the looks of the prototype photos, the Siemens cars could be improved by adding larger signage and more color.

  • Kieran

    I think that the new LRVs look very good. I hope that they actually run better than the Bredas and the Boeings combined. Also, it’d be nice if Muni painted their new LRVs in the 1970s Landor Muni paint scheme. If the LRVs can go around 50-60mph in the subway, then that’ll be great as well. One thing I do miss about the Boeings is that you could actually open the windows on them! I wish that were possible with the new LRVs Muni’s getting.

    RobBob, the F Market trolleys will never go away. If anything over the next 5 years, I wouldn’t be surprised if Muni restores another 10-15 trolleys(especially some from the Trolley Festival days such as the Russian trolley, Portuguese trolley, German trolley, the 2 Japanese trolleys, etc).

    • Dexter Wong

      Open windows on a Boeing car was fine on the surface, but once they went underground the noise was deafening through those windows. I spent a lot of time closing those windows once the car I was riding on entered the subway.

      These days every transit vehicle has air conditioning with sealed windows.

      I can add that the old cars are quite a tourist draw (nearly as good as the cable cars) so they’re not going away any time soon.

  • Kieran

    Point taken Dexter..When I used to ride the Boeings in the subway, I’d close the windows as well, though the windows were a lifesaver when it was 80 degrees outside and 90 something degrees on the LRV.

    Speaking of subways, I hope that Muni finally builds the Geary Subway within the next couple decades, even though it was originally supposed to have been built on a few different occasions during the 20th Century..It’d be way better than the diesel buses currently on Geary.

  • RVW

    The most recent Siemens LRVs in San Diego are quite nice. The first order of longer ones posed a problem: They did not fit within Downtown’s short blocks. You see, several stations are situated on “C” street between two cross-streets. When two cars are trained together they block traffic. Subsequent orders were for shorter cars and all was well.

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