SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - What looked to be a glitch in the newly renovated Muni Twin Peaks tunnel, turned out to be a confounding gremlin that perplexed Muni's technical experts. Problems are now going well into their second week as concerned riders grow frustrated over the service slowness.
After a two-month closure for essential upgrade work, the Twin Peaks Tunnel re-opened on August 25th and ran well until ten days ago. Since then, it has been a choke point that has delayed and backed up much of the entire Muni light rail system.
Two weekends ago, the critical automatic train control system started having intermittent disruptions effecting how it takes over control from the driver when going through the tunnel.
The consequence: some trains entering the tunnel were stopped from entering under autopilot. That forced Muni to place maintenance personnel at the tunnel to correct and adjust mechanical and electrical systems to allow the now manually controlled trains to proceed through the tunnel at very slow speeds and sometimes stopped.
"It went through as quickly as ever until we got to between Forest Hill and here. Then we were stuck in the same spot for ten minutes," said Muni rider Paul Ballard
Muni said those repair crews have been on it ever since. "Right now we're at about seven minutes delay when it does happen because we have people on the scene all day long making sure they're making the electrical adjustments to keep the train moving," said Muni spokesman Paul Rose.
The trouble with damaging infrastructure, whether it's old or new, is that it costs the most precious thing of all, time and that's something commuters in San Francisco really doesn't have. But, they're gonna have to put up with it for who knows how long.
"I've been late to my job a couple of times. You know, so this is worrying I guess because my boss, you know, he doesn't want me to be late anymore," said rider Melissa Fullmer.
It's unfortunate since the fruits of the major tunnel upgrades have yet to pay off.
"I'm not happy about it though I am pleased that the tracks were improved in the Twin Peaks tunnel, But I'm not happy that an improvement has been made so far,: said Ballard, a Muni rider.
Muni apologizes to all riders.
"We're planning to have this wrapped up in as soon as possible, in the next coming hours or days." said Rose.
Until then, West Portal Station will be a jam up made more difficult by a major road repair and the usual heavy traffic