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No Way to Start Its Centennial Year!

162 Accident BayEmb 010414 .jpg

Tim Jue photo via the Market Street Railway Facebook group.

A collision involving historic streetcar No. 162 early Saturday afternoon (January 4) caused significant but hopefully largely cosmetic damage to the vintage vehicle, which had just begun its centennial year of service. In an article, the Chronicle grossly overstated the extent of the damage, describing the streetcar as “totaled,” which is simply wrong.

Purchased by Muni in 1914 from the Jewett Car Company of Ohio, No. 162 was one of an order of 125 streetcars obtained to serve new routes built initially to serve the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. It was headed south on The Embarcadero at Bay Street when it collided with a tractor-trailer rig loaded with an oceangoing container.

An investigation is under way to determine the cause of the accident. Very fortunately, injuries are reported to be minor. Also fortunately, the underframe of the streetcar slipped under the chassis of the trailer, avoiding what could have been severe damage to the streetcar frame, which is far more difficult to repair than the wooden cab structure, which is designed to absorb impact in just this way. The streetcar’s controls were also bent badly, and the extent of damage there will have to be evaluated.

No. 162 retired from its first Muni career in 1958, then spent 45 years at the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Riverside County before being reacquired in 2003 by Market Street Railway for Muni, through donations from our members. Following a period of restoration, No. 162 returned to service in 2008.

It is hoped repairs to No.162 can begin soon. Muni’s shops are experts in this kind of damage repair, with both experienced electrical and mechanical workers and the best team of transit carpenters shop in the country, who support both the cable cars and historic streetcars.

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