Historic Streetcars in San Francisco

Streetcar.org San Francisco Market Street Railway Museum
No.1

San Francisco Municipal Railway (1912)

Built 1912 • Operational

Municipal Railway No. 1 is one of America’s most historic streetcars, for it was the first publicly-owned big city streetcar in the United States.
Early in the 20th Century, American transit systems were privately-owned, often part of electric utilities. As a reaction to graft and corruption on the part of the city’s privately-owned streetcar company, United Railroads of San Francisco (URR), and as a reflection of the Progressive Era then sweeping California, San Franciscans passed a bond to build their own public streetcar system, the Municipal Railway, first of its kind in a major American city.
Mayor James Rolph, Jr. personally piloted this streetcar out Geary Street on December 28, 1912 to formally open Muni. He paid his own fare with one of the first 40 nickels minted at the San Francisco Mint. Fifty thousand San Franciscans turned out to celebrate.
Muni’s first streetcars were built without windows in their end sections (which served as the smoking sections). But foggy San Francisco weather proved too much for this arrangement, and the end-section windows of No. 1 and Muni streetcars were glazed by around 1918. Otherwise, No. 1 looks almost identical to the day it first operated in 1912, down to its rattan seats and wooden interior paneling.

1912

Built in San Francisco by W. L. Holman for $7,700, part of Muni’s first order of ten streetcars. Initially used on the “A-Geary” line, running from Kearny Street to Golden Gate Park via Geary and 10th Avenue.

1912 – 1951

Used in regular service, most frequently on the F-Stockton (now part of the 30-Stockton bus) and the C-California (now part of the 1-California bus) lines. For various periods, No. 1 also served the H-Potrero line (Army Street to Fort Mason via Potrero Ave., 11th Street, and Van Ness Avenue) and the M-Ocean View shuttle from West Portal to Broad and Plymouth.

1940

Used on first known Muni streetcar charter by local railfans, setting the stage for hundreds of charters over the years.

1951

Retired from daily service. Motors removed. Car set aside for possible static display at proposed rail museum near Fisherman’s Wharf. (All other 42 cars of this type were scrapped.)

1962

After museum idea fell through, restored to original 1912 condition by Muni shops to serve as centerpiece of Muni’s 50th anniversary celebration.

1962 – 1981

Used occasionally for charter service on J, K. L, M, and N lines.

1982

Weekend special service on J-line in autumn to commemorate full-time operation of Muni Metro and the ‘end’ of surface streetcar service on Market Street.

1983

Mayor Dianne Feinstein pilots car No. 1 down Market Street to open the first San Francisco Historic Trolley Festival.

1984 – 1987

Operated summers in subsequent Trolley Festivals.

1995

Began serving the new F-Market line, built as a result of the Trolley Festivals.

2000

Led the parade of streetcars to open the F-line extension on The Embarcadero to Fisherman’s Wharf.

2006

Removed from service due to a wiring problem.

2009 – 2010

Completely restored by Brookville Equipment Company of Pennsylvania under a $1.8 million contract that included total rebuilding of the trucks, motors, and running gear, as well as reconstruction of the car body and installation of low voltage electrical circuits for lighting, switch control, and communications.

December 19, 2010

Car No. 1 arrives back home in San Francisco for testing and limited service prior to serving as the centerpiece of Muni’s centennial in 2012.

Built for
San Francisco Municipal Railway, San Francisco CA, 1912
Builder
W.L. Holman, San Francisco
Seats
48
Weight
50,000 lbs.
Length
47′ 1″
Width
8′ 6″
Height
11′ 9″
Motors
4 Westinghouse 306CA
Control
Westinghouse HL
Trucks
2 Brill 27G
Brakes
Westinghouse SM Air