The N Judah is a Muni Metro light rail line in San Francisco, California, so named as it runs along Judah Street for much of its length, named after railroad engineer Theodore Judah. It links downtown San Francisco to the Cole Valley and Sunset neighborhoods. It is the busiest line in the Muni Metro system, serving an average of 41,439 weekday passengers in 2013. It was one of San Francisco's streetcar lines, beginning operation in 1928, and was partially converted to modern light-rail operation with the opening of the Muni Metro system in 1980. While many streetcar lines were converted to bus lines after World War II, the N Judah remained a streetcar line due to its use of the Sunset Tunnel.
The line runs from the Caltrain depot in the Mission Bay district to Ocean Beach and the Great Highway in the Sunset District. From the Caltrain depot at Fourth and King Streets, it runs along King Street and the Embarcadero, passing by Oracle Park. It then enters the Market Street subway, which it shares with the five other Muni Metro lines. It exits the tunnel at Church Street and, after a brief stretch along Duboce Avenue to Duboce Park, enters the older Sunset Tunnel. This tunnel serves to avoid a hill and contains no underground stations. From the western end of the tunnel, the route goes along Carl Street, past UCSF-Parnassus Campus, on Irving Street, until it turns onto 9th Avenue for one block and reaches Judah Street, which the N runs on for the rest of its route. On Judah between 9th Avenue and 19th Avenue the N runs on a right-of-way that is slightly raised above the surrounding street. There is a loop in the intersection at Judah, La Playa and Great Highway that the N uses to turn around.
As with all Muni lines, service begins around 5 a.m. on weekdays, 6 a.m. on Saturdays, and 8 a.m. on Sundays and holidays. Daytime headways are 6–9 minutes on weekdays and 10–14 minutes on weekends. The line largely uses two-car (150-foot (46 m)) trains.
Service is provided by overnight Owl buses on the N Owl route during the hours that rail service is not running. On weekends, N Judah Bus service runs from 5am until the start of rail service. The bus lines largely follow the rail line, but use surface streets to parallel sections where the rail line has dedicated rights-of-way.
On January 10, 1998, Muni opened the Muni Metro Extension to 4th and King/Caltrain. It was originally served by a temporary shuttle service, the E Embarcadero, which ran between Embarcadero station and 4th and King/Caltrain. On August 22, 1998, the E Embarcadero line was eliminated and the N Judah line was extended in its place.
A variety of service changes took place with the introduction of full service on the T Third Street line on April 7, 2007. The N Judah was cut back to Embarcadero station; the surface section on the Embarcadero was served only by the T Third Street line, plus the J Church line at peak hours. The changes were unpopular with the public; they caused severe delays in the Market Street subway and forced N Judah riders to transfer to reach the Caltrain station when they previously did not. On June 30, 2007, Muni reversed several of the changes; the J Church and N Judah were restored to their previous configuration. On December 5, 2009, the N Judah was cut to Embarcadero on weekends as part of widespread service reductions. Weekend service was re-extended on October 15, 2011.
After concerns from riders of constant overcrowding of the trains on the N Judah line, Muni debuted an express bus route called the NX Judah Express on June 13, 2011. Starting off as a pilot program, the NX (stylized as Nx) was intended to relieve overcrowding during rush hours every ten minutes. It follows the western end of the N Judah route from Ocean Beach to 19th Avenue, then operates nonstop from there to the Financial District where it stops at Bush and Montgomery Streets.
In September 2016, Muni began running a pair of one-car shuttles between Embarcadero station and Carl and Hillway during morning rush hour to reduce crowding on the inner section of the line. A study after one month showed the shuttles had increased capacity on the inner part of the line by 18% and reduced the number of passengers unable to board overcrowded trains by 63%. In March 2018, the SFMTA board voted to shorten rush-hour headways from 7 minutes to 4 minutes, but to only use one-car trains on weekends. The changes were to take effect in the summer.
On March 30, 2020, Muni Metro service was replaced with buses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rail service returned in August 2020, with the routes reconfigured to improve reliability in the subway. N Judah service was not substantially changed, except for stops at 5th Avenue / 6th Avenue replacing former stops at 4th Avenue and 7th Avenue. Rail service was re-replaced with buses on August 25 due to issues with malfunctioning overhead wire splices and the need to quarantine control center staff after a COVID-19 case. N Judah service resumed on May 15, 2021.
Future plans, according to the SFMTA Rail Capacity Strategy, include a new subway tunnel which connects to the Market Street subway to 9th Avenue. Additionally, the N Judah line will be rebuilt to run three car trains. Further plans include a non-revenue L Taraval to N Judah connector, which may run on 46th Avenue.
Station and stop listing
|Notes and connections|
|4th and King||Mission Bay||Inbound terminus at Caltrain station|
T Third Street uses a separate platform
|2nd and King|
Serves Oracle Park
|Embarcadero|| F Market & Wharves|
Serves ⛴ Ferry Building
|Civic Center||Civic Center and Tenderloin|
|Duboce and Church||Duboce Triangle||J Church uses a separate platform|
|Duboce and Noe||East end of the Sunset Tunnel at Duboce Park|
|Carl and Cole||Cole Valley||West end of the Sunset Tunnel|
|Carl and Stanyan|
|Carl and Hillway|
| Irving and Arguello (inbound)
Irving and 2nd Avenue (outbound)
|Sunset District||Serves UCSF Parnassus campus|
| Irving and 5th Avenue (inbound)
Irving and 6th Avenue (outbound)
|Irving and 8th Avenue (inbound)
9th Avenue and Irving (outbound)
|Judah and 9th Avenue|
|Judah and 12th Avenue|
|Judah and Funston|
|Judah and 15th Avenue (inbound)
Judah and 16th Avenue (outbound)
|Judah and 19th Avenue|
|Judah and 22nd Avenue (inbound)
Judah and 23rd Avenue (outbound)
|Judah and 25th Avenue|
|Judah and 28th Avenue|
|Judah and 31st Avenue|
|Judah and 34th Avenue|
|Judah and Sunset|
|Judah and 40th Avenue|
|Judah and 43rd Avenue|
|Judah and 46th Avenue|
|Judah and La Playa||Outbound terminus at Ocean Beach|
- "TEP Route Data & Proposed Changes". San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
- "San Francisco Street Names". Archived from the original on 2010-03-23. Retrieved 2010-03-31.
- Nimmo, H. Arlo (2007). Good and Bad Times in a San Francisco Neighborhood: A History of Potomac Street and Duboce Park. San Francisco: October Properties. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-9814509-0-2.
- "Permanent Stop Changes Starting Saturday, August 22, 2020" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. August 2020.
- "Permanent Muni Service Changes Starting Saturday, February 22, 2020" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. February 22, 2020.
- "Muni metro extends". Railway Gazette. October 1, 1998.
- Rojas, David; Phillips, Eric (March 2011). "Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) Before/After Cost Effectiveness Study". Federal Transit Administration. p. 9.
- Epstein, Edward (26 August 1998). "Brown Tries To Soothe Muni Riders / Service on N-Judah line has been abysmal all week". Hearst Communications. SFGate. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
- "Discover the T-Third" (PDF). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. 2007. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 14, 2007.
- "SFMTA announces service changes effective June 30, 2007" (Press release). San Francisco Transportation Agency. June 30, 2007. Archived from the original on June 24, 2007.
- "Extensive Muni Service Changes Begin Smoothly" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. December 5, 2009. Archived from the original on 30 January 2019.
- "SFMTA Launches Muni Improvements this Week" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. October 18, 2011. Archived from the original on 30 January 2019.
- "SFMTA Board of Directors Makes NX Judah Express Bus and F Market Line Improvements Permanent". San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). December 6, 2011. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
- Bialick, Aaron (September 7, 2016). "More Morning Trains Mean Commute Relief on the Inner N Judah" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
- Holland, Kristen (October 18, 2017). "Morning Commute Shuttles Reduce N Judah Pass-Ups 63 Percent" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
- Gribbon, Sadie (March 20, 2018). "N-Judah commuters to see service increase". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
- Fowler, Amy (March 26, 2020). "Starting March 30: New Muni Service Changes" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
- Maguire, Mariana (August 18, 2020). "Major Muni Service Expansion August 22" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
- "Bus Substitution for All Rail Lines" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. August 25, 2020.
- "Welcome Back to the Westside, K Ingleside Trains!" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. April 16, 2021.
- "Draft Rail Capacity Strategy" (PDF). SFMTA. p. 32. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
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