San Francisco Municipal Railway (1950s)
Built 1948 • Operational • Tribute livery
A lot of San Francisco residents and visitors alike are understandably confused by the rainbow of paint schemes on Muni’s vintage streetcars. Which streetcars are “original” and which are “tributes” to a city different from that streetcar’s actual origin? Car No. 1050 is especially confusing.
This streetcar was built in 1948 as Philadelphia Transportation Company No. 2119. In fact, all of the “1050 class” (Nos. 1050-1063) were originally Philadelphia streetcars. They were purchased by Muni, fully restored, and made wheelchair accessible, to create the original F-Market streetcar fleet. (In 2004, an additional 11 PCCs were purchased from Newark, New Jersey to expand the fleet to meet rider demand.)
It was quite common for PCC streetcars to change hands when the original owner abandoned lines. When that happened, the new owner would paint the streetcar in its own livery. And in San Francisco, many wanted to paint all the restored F-line streetcars identically, in a single Muni livery, either historic or contemporary.
Todd Lappin photo.
But others advocated a variety of paint schemes, representing some of the 33 North American cities that once ran this great streetcar. That view prevailed, but it was felt the first two cars in the class should bear Muni liveries, so that’s how Nos. 1050 and 1051 were painted.
All now agree this was the right decision. The riot of colors the streetcars add to their route clearly increases their attractiveness to riders, even if many of them still think the streetcar they’re on really ran in the city its painted to honor. (Some do. If you don’t see “Tribute Livery” at the top of the page, that car actually ran in that city.)
So, although No. 1050 wasn’t originally a Muni car, it certainly has been one since the F-line opened and as such has every right to wear the famous green and cream “Wings” livery of the 1950s. But now that three original Muni streetcars have renovated to wear the Wings livery they were delivered to San Francisco in (Nos. 1006, 1008, and 1040), it is expected that No. 1050 will be switched to a different livery when it requires repainting.
North American cities that once ran PCCs, but are not yet represented in Muni’s tribute fleet, include: Pittsburgh; St. Louis; Shaker Heights, Ohio; Johnstown, Pennsylvania; Vancouver, British Columbia; Montreal; and Tampico, Mexico. So in the future, No. 1050 may have an entirely different look. Stay tuned!