UPDATE: Muni Metro shut down after N-Judah dislodges wires, pulls down concrete supports 

An N-Judah that pulled wires and concrete supports from the subway walls Thursday morning is causing massive delays through the Muni system.

Service will not be restored by the evening commute, according to San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency officials.

John Haley, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority’s transit director, said there was up to 500 feet of wires pulled down around 11 a.m. inside the tunnel where the N enters the subway.

In the incident, the pantograph — a long black box atop the train that provides power to the light rail vehicle — atop an N train heading toward downtown was damaged near 2nd Avenue and Irving Street. The driver was not aware of the damage and continued the route.

By the time it reached the subway the damaged pantograph, and the pressure applied to it underground, was too much and it pulled down wires and concrete supports from the wall underground between Van Ness and Church street stations, according to Haley.

“It’s a huge mess,” Haley said. “It’s a very complicated problem.”

The damaged train was pulled out of the subway by 4 p.m., Haley said. Because there was no power, its removal was difficult.

Shuttle buses are in place for all light rail lines. The N and J-Church are being turned back at Duboce and Church streets.

Haley said there is “no question” the evening commutes will be affected. He hopes to have the K-Ingleside, L-Taraval and M-Ocean View up and running by 3 p.m., but service for the J and N are not expected to resume underground until tomorrow. Haley estimated it will take eight to nine hours to repair the damage.

“We’ll be going into the evening commute using our alternative service plan,” he said. “It’s shuttles and busses.”

Power is also out underground because one of the lines damaged is one that provides power to the trains.

“It opened a feeder — which carries the electrical power from the substation to the train to run, so there is no power,” Haley said.

Riders were subject to huge delays above ground as well. Though up 15 shuttle busses were dispatched to help transport subway passengers downtown, many buses were too full to make all stops.

Several F-Market street cars were filled with tourists hoping to take a ride down Market Street in the historic car, as well as commuters hoping to make it to work.

Drivers of the F line announced shuttles to alleviate the crowds; handwritten signs were posted at Church Street announcing the delay.

Haley said the damaged wire which caused the initial damage has already been repaired.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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