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Fleet Updates / News and updates about the operations, acquisitions and restoration of San Francisco's historic streetcars and cable cars
 

F-line PCCs Move to Metro East on Friday

Muni’s 32 streamlined PCC streetcars will move their home base from Cameron Beach Yard to Muni Metro East (MME) at Illinois and Cesar Chavez Streets this Friday, June 20, and will operate out of MME starting Saturday. The ten Milan trams have been operating out of MME for almost two years.

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Milan trams stored together with LRVs at Muni Metro East shortly after their move there, August 2012. Peter Ehrlich photo.

The move is tied to major track replacement at Muni’s Curtis E. Green Light Rail Facility, across the street from Cameron Beach Yard at San Jose and Geneva Avenues, and for the tracks leading into Beach Yard as well. The work will be done in phases, and storage space at Beach Yard is needed for light rail vehicles while their home is being renovated. As of now, the one-of-a-kind historic streetcars, such as Muni No. 1, Melbourne No. 496, New Orleans No. 952, and the Blackpool boat trams, will remain based at Cameron Beach Yard, where they will be protected by the canopy Market Street Railway advocated for many years, and which was completed three years ago.

Market Street Railway is in continuing discussions with Muni’s parent, SFMTA, about creating the best permanent environment to store and maintain the historic streetcars.

F-line streetcars will now use the T-line on Third and King Streets and The Embarcadero to reach the F-line tracks. They will not be picking up passengers on trips to and from MME.

We’ll have much more on this for our members in our next issue of our newsletter, Inside Track, out next month. And we’ll keep you updated here as well.

Last Restored Double-End PCC Joins Active Fleet

The last of its class is now back in service, fully restored.

Muni was one of the few transit agencies that owned PCC streetcars that could be operated in regular service from either end. These double-end streetcars had significantly more flexibility than their much more common single-end cousins. Muni purchased a group of ten from St. Louis Car Company in 1948 and added them to a group of five similar-looking cars that were not technically PCCs, purchased in 1939.

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PCC No. 1011 on Market Street during testing, May 5, 2014. Copyrighted photo by Peter Ehrlich

The ten bought in 1948, known inside Muni as “torpedoes,” because of their extra length and shape, were oddly assigned to lines, such as the N-Judah, that didn’t need double-end cars, and were soon converted to operate as single-end cars. In that capacity, these cars, Nos. 1006-1015, soldiered on through the early 1980s. Two, Nos. 1012 and 1013, were scrapped along the way, and one, No. 1014, was put on permanent loan by Muni to a museum in Australia. The other seven though, survived, and now, the last of these, No. 1011, has finished testing following a full restoration and is available for regular service.

This car is painted in tribute to our namesake organization, Muni’s old competitor Market Street Railway Company (MSRy), which dreamed of owning modern streetcars like the PCC in the late 1930s, but could never afford them. The striking livery features the solid white ends that were a trademark of MSRy, and its “zip stripe” on the sides echoes what they put on some of their old streetcars to make them look, well, zippy. It has garnered many positive comments on the street during testing. Some have said it is also a fitting livery because today’s Market Street Railway led advocacy efforts to preserve and then restore this special group of historic streetcars.

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No. 1011 on its way out of town for restoration in 2010. It had been in storage for almost 30 years and had been vandalized in that time.

Three of the other six restored double-end PCCs are in Muni livery (No. 1010 in the blue and gold of the original double-end 1939 streamliners) and Nos. 1006 and 1008 in the green and cream “wings” 1948 livery in which they were delivered.) The others pay tribute to other cities that ran double-ended PCCs. You can explore the story of each of these streetcars by clicking here.

No. 1011 entered passenger service at 9 a.m., May 15, 2014. Keep an eye out for No. 1011 on the street by following the live F-line map, and go ride it while it still has that “new car smell.”

Welcome back to the fleet, No. 1011.

On Donner!

Two beautiful sights in one: snow falling this morning on Donner Summit (keep it coming!) and PCC No. 1009, painted in tribute to Dallas, headed back to San Francisco. MSR Member James Giraudo caught this great action shot.

No. 1009 arrived safely in the city this afternoon, completing its return trip to Brookville Equipment Company in Pennsylvania for refitting of the traditional-style door motors that work better than the computerized ones installed during the recent overhaul program.

No. 1009 should be back in service soon. Meanwhile, its twin, No. 1011, painted to honor our namesake, Market Street Railway Company (which wanted, but could never afford, PCCs) has been going through its “burn-in” period, where operators test the car without passengers for 1,000 miles to ensure everything works as it should. No word yet on when that car might enter service.

The "Euro-PCC" is Back in Action.

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Photo by Brice Crandall, San Francisco Railway Museum. Click to enlarge.

After an extended absence, the most exotic looking PCC streetcar in Muni’s fleet is carrying passengers again, working the F-line shuttle run from the Wharf to the Ferry Building yesterday (Saturday, February 15, 2014), after a prolonged absence waiting for some parts specific to the car, followed by operator training, led by Muni’s Robert Parks.

You can read all about this streetcar here. The slender design (just 7’3” wide, almost two feet narrower than the F-line’s widest cars) was needed for narrow European streets. This car was built for and ran its whole life in Brussels, but after it got to San Francisco, then-Mayor Gavin Newsom asked that it be painted to honor San Francisco’s sister city of Zurich, Switzerland, which ran skinny trams of the same general body type (though not with the patented PCC components designed by an American group of transit leaders, called the Presidents’ Conference Committee, in the mid-1930s).

The juxtaposition of a livery that honors a Swiss city coupled with an interior that still has signs in French and Flemish, Belgium’s two languages, is understandably confusing, so we’ve taken to referring to No. 737 as the “Euro-PCC” to cover all the bases. It’s fun to ride, so start looking for it on the F-line.

Brussels 'Sprouts' in the (Premature) Spring

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Jeremy Whiteman photo. All rights reserved.

Okay, enough with the bad puns. Point is that a historic streetcar long missing from the streets is running again. European PCC No. 737, which served Brussels, Belgium for a half-century, was out for testing last Saturday, while the rest of the historic streetcars took a break because of track construction on Market Street. The tram, confusingly painted to honor San Francisco’s sister city, Zurich, Switzerland at the request of then-Mayor Gavin Newsom, reportedly performed well during trials on the J, L, and M lines. Jeremy Whiteman took this great shot on 19th Avenue near Junipero Serra on the M-line, with early poppies providing color and perhaps a slight echo of Flanders fields near the tram’s original home.

The tram was acquired from a broker in Brussels 10 years ago when Muni was looking for possible additional groups of streetcars for the F-line. Since the car was a European version of a PCC, with many of the same components, the thinking went it would be easy to maintain. But the tram had been modified over the years with a number of now-obsolete electronic components and other changes had been made that took awhile to remedy, so the car’s service has been sporadic.

It is still an important part of the fleet, and Saturday’s tests sparked encouragement that the tram could soon enter regular service again. A few tweaks are still needed; then it’s on to operator training. We hope to see the tram in service soon.

No Way to Start Its Centennial Year!

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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.

More in Fleet Updates

Toot Toot!

New Boat Could Be on Display This Weekend

New Arrival

Comeback Kid ... at 99 Years Old

The Straggler May Finally Head Our Way

Still Time to Join the Dallas PCC Charter Aug. 4

Plain Jane on the Way to a Makeover

Sneak Peek at a Special Streetcar

Photo of the Moment: Down Under the Bridge

"Gliding Beauty" Rejoins Muni's Streetcar Fleet

Here's to an Historic 2013!

"Debut" of Muni's Oldest Bus for Centennial Day

A Trip to the Boneyard!

Last 1070-Class Streetcar Makes It Into Service

Thankful for Our Muni Partnership

Celebrating Civic Activism - With a Cable Car

Could This Be Sunday's Extra Centennial Surprise?

A Great Vintage Day! Don't Miss Next Sunday!

Getting Ready for Centennial Celebrations

The Boat is Back!

Car 1 on the F-line! Get Out and Ride!

Come Ride the E-line Twin Torpedos (and Volunteer) Oct. 6-7

The Day the Streetcars (Almost) Died

Inside Muni's Streetcar Restoration Vendor

E-line Weekend Features Debut of No. 1008

Ride the E-line Streetcars August 25 and 26!

Streetcar-Subaru Sandwich at First and Market

First Double-End PCC in Testing

Streetcar Found at Lost Hills!

Keep an Eye Out on I-80 for a Streetcar

Streetcars needed for America's Cup now 16 months late

Muni Centennial Officially Under Way

Muni Announces Car 1 Ceremony

"Ruby Slippers" Dances along the F-line Again

Viva El Tranvia de Mexico!

"Last PCC" Back in Business!

Would You Freshen My Shirley Temple, Please?

"Red Rocket" Joins the F-line Fleet

Photo of the Moment: Ride and Relax in the Rain

Flood of New Faces on the F-line

Third Rewired PCC on the Street

Second Rewired PCC Accepted by Muni

Hope We Don't Have to Return This Present

"Big Red Car" Back on Track

Photo of the Moment: Tracking Testing and Training

Photo of the Moment: Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

Safe From the Weather At Last

A Brighter "Bumblebee"

Calling Melbourne. Come in, Melbourne!

First Rewired PCC Starts Carrying Passengers

Testing. Testing.

Happy 98th Birthday, Muni! And for your present...

Do Not Open Until (Just After) Christmas!

First Run of 1071

Chicago's "Green Hornet" Livery Coming to the F-line

First Rewired PCC Back Home; Another Leaves

Another Milan "Mellow Yellow" on the Street

Back to Milan's Past for the Future

More PCC Streetcars Leave for Restoration

That's One Long Streetcar Ride!

First "Torpedo" Off to Rehab

Paint Schemes Selected for "New" PCC Streetcars

Historic PCC No. 1040 Leaves for Restoration

First PCC Streetcar Leaves for Rehab

Ex-Newark PCC Streetcars Proliferating on F-line

Capital Addition to the Active F-Line Fleet

Second Melbourne Tram Joins San Francisco's F-line Historic Streetcar Fleet

New Melbourne Tram Dedication October 7

Almost There On Streetcar Restoration

Second Melbourne Tram En Route

Cable Car No. 15 Makes its Debut

New Cable Car Rolls Out Today

Streetcar No. 1's Last Run (...for awhile)

Car No. 1 Out for Renovation Bids

Sixteen PCCs Out for Renovation Bids

Boat Made Shipshape

More Milan Color Coming