Reader Richa writes with a question regarding the L/M and J trains and Caltrain. I don’t use Caltrain as much as I used to so I personally had not noticed this:
I’ve noticed that in the mornings for the past few weeks, the J, L and M Muni metro lines have been going all the way out to the 4th and King Caltrain station. This is great, but I can find no information anywhere whether this is here to stay, if it will only be in the mornings, or what. I’m wondering whether you or any of your readers might know about this.
The lines are open to Loyal Readers, anyone from MUNI, or anyone in the know. Did MUNI make a change and just not tell us? Or is it simply a case of mis-labeled trains? Post your answers in the comments section!
Is the reader actually staying on the L or J to Caltrain? I have seen many inbound trains recently which said (N/Mission Bay) on the overhead sign at Castro Station while the train itself said L or M Embarcadero. It is very confusing considering that the N doesn’t pass through Castro!
Most of monday morning there was a broken switch in the section of tunnel after Embarcadero used to turn back the L, M and J so trains were run out to the surface and turned back at Caltrain. It’s not a regular thing though.
L/M/J trains have been going to CalTrain to switch back, since the MMX is busted. As far as I can tell the MMX is back in service, because I haven’t seen any L/M/J trains today. I work near 3rd and King.
Heard an announcement that the switching yard at Embarcadero was having problems, but no other details.
MUNI uses a rail yard beyond the 4th/King N platform to stash LRVs overnight/off-peak. Not all of the trains that pull-in there are N’s though. If you saw the internal schedule, you’d see that there are K’s , L’s, M’s and T’s that pull-in too. The public, of course, will never know when/if they’re coming, so you might as well consider it a bonus when it happens.
To clarify, I usually ride the N or T from the 4th & King intersection to Embarcadero to catch BART or switch to the J, and I had noticed that the L, M, and J lines had been going out there—and picking up passengers—for the past couple of weeks.
It’s really too bad that they haven’t extended all the lines; there’s no good reason for J, L and M to stop at Embarcadero, especially now that so many more people are living out by the ballpark.
Thanks for the info about the switching yard.
Oh there are plenty of reasons to not extend all of the lines. You much have a short memory. They extended the J (instead of the N) when they introduced the. DISASTER.
It’s bad enough that they’re only running a handful of two car outbound Ls during the P.M. commute. Now we’ve got two more cars out of service thanks to that accident. Running the J/L/M to Caltrain regularly would destroy any hope of maintaining a schedule and result in even more early turnbacks (and a reduction in the currently pitiful service west of 19th (N) or 22nd (L)).
And, yes, for the record I’ve seen them running L’s to Caltrain in the wee hours for a while now. They’ve probably been doing it for ages.
Although I don’t visit MuniLand as much as I used to, I still like to “keep track” of rail activities in The City. This report reminded me of last year’s fiasco when only rush hour “J” cars were going to the platform adjacent to Caltrain. I had gone to the station to get a timetable around 10:30 am and noticed people waiting on the platform. They were waiting for an “N” car that would not come for several weeks. I advised them to head for the “T” platform on 4th St. and take the next car to Embarcadero. Muni had posted signs, but they were inconspicuous, so it became my duty to get the intending passengers to the correct station. A few years earlier I had been photographing “F” cars near Van Ness, and a young woman asked “where do I catch the #6 bus?”. I pointed to the “F” line safety zone and advised her, “See where the streetcar is loading? That’s where the #6 bus loads.” I told my wife of this experience and she said, “Well you just don’t look like a clueless tourist.”
San Gabriel CA