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121 Years in One Day

Muni Supervisor Robert Parks, who trains operators on every type of streetcar and light rail vehicle in the city, may have set a record today.

In the morning (above), he trained operators on Muni’s newest model of LRV, Siemens car 2001, delivered earlier this year. (The first Siemens cars are due to start carrying paying passengers next month.) Above. 2001at the N-Judah Ocean Beach terminal.

Then, he got a call — could he do a shop move, transferring 1896 single-truck “dinky” 578 across Cameron Beach Yard.

The same operator running one of the very the newest streetcars in America and the oldest passenger streetcar still on the roster of a US transit agency in the same day — vehicles built 121 years apart. That’s gotta be a record!

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post stated that Robert moved the dinky “across town,” which he called us to correct. We regret the error but are still in awe of his “double-header”.

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10/15/17 — Twice!

Here are two photos at the same location. One taken 100 years ago today, the other taken…today.

On October 15, 1917, United Railroads photographer John Henry Mentz shot the black-and-white photo at the top, looking north from 18th Street on what was then called Kentucky Street. Soon, Kentucky would have its name changed to match the street it connected with several blocks north at China Basin — Third Street. (To the south of Islais Creek, Railroad Avenue would get Third Street’s name as well.)

The tracks going straight belong to the 16 and 29 lines of United Railroads. A block north, at Mariposa, you can see them bend right onto a viaduct that took them over the busy Southern Pacific railroad tracks that ran east-west along 16th Street. The viaduct would last more than a half century longer before being demolished, later used by automobiles and trucks.

The tracks turning to the left belong to the 22-Fillmore streetcar line, which turned onto Kentucky and terminated in the carbarn on Third near 23rd Street. A municipal election is near, hence the campaign posters, including the one to “Re-elect George Lull City Attorney” over the saloon door to the left. A lone Model-T sits at the curb by the saloon, and a horse-drawn wagon lingers at the corner of Mariposa.

Fast forward to today. The 22-Fillmore STILL turns this corner, beginning its terminal loop (though it has been a trolley bus line for almost 70 years). The streetcar tracks on Third that disappeared in 1941 are back, carrying Muni’s T-Third line for the past ten years. There’s a track switch in the intersection again as well, but this time, it’s for the short-turn streetcar loop that was started during T-line construction and is only now being completed. The saloon is gone, replaced by a popular Dogpatch restaurant, Moshi Moshi. Can’t be sure, but it’s probably the same building, much altered. That building, though, will soon give way to new housing in this rapidly changing neighborhood, as will the venerable Carpenter’s Union hall on the right side of the photo. And the new Warriors arena, Chase Center, is now rising where the north end of that streetcar viaduct used to be.

What a difference a century makes…and doesn’t make. (Long live the 22 and streetcar tracks on Third!)

Thanks to our friends at SFMTA Archive for the historic photo.

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Boat Tram An Added Attraction at Fleet Week

Blackpool “boat tram” 228 joined in the celebration of Fleet Week this past weekend, thanks to a decision by Muni to operate the popular 1934 open-top tram. Here are a few photos from a very happy weekend.

At the top, MSR board member and #1 boat fan Katie Haverkamp caught some sailors in uniform enjoying the ride. (Muni has a tradition of letting military members in uniform ride free!)

Below, MSR member Steve Souza caught the boat cruising with a full load toward the Wharf.

Thanks to everyone at Muni who had the “can-do” attitude that got the boat on the street  this weekend. We hope Muni will agree to operate a boat every year for Fleet Week!

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Boat Cruising This Weekend!

In a welcomed decision, Muni has launched one of the 1934 Blackpool “boat trams” to help carry crowds along The Embarcadero enjoying Fleet Week 2017!

Open-topped boat Tram 228 will be shuttling between The Ferry Building and our San Francisco Railway Museum and Pier 39 Saturday and Sunday, October 7 and 8 from 11 am to 6 pm. Come out and enjoy a ride.

Thanks to Muni for operating it on one of the most warm and beautiful weekends of the year, and thanks to Matt Lee for the photo of the boat at the Ferry Building taken at the beginning of its weekend.

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Merger Day, 73 years ago

September 29, 1944 — the privately-owned Market Street Railway Company turned over all its assets, including more than 500 streetcars, to the publicly-owned San Francisco Municipal Railway, following approval of San Francisco voters to buy the private company.

Mayor Roger Lapham personally piloted the first ex-Market Street Railway Company streetcar as newspaper photographers clicked shots.

Three years later, Lapham tried to kill off the Powell Street cable cars, included in the purchase of Market Street Railway. A grassroots citizens’ movement, led by Friedel Klussmann, handed him a huge defeat at the polls. And the rest is history.

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Best Muni Heritage Weekend Ever!

It had more vintage vehicles, more riders, and more fun than ever. We’re talking about the sixth annual Muni Heritage Weekend September 9-10, 2017.

It also had some of the best photos we’ve seen over the years. The great one above, showing Martin (3) and Catherine (2) Andreev looking out the back window of 1950 trolley coach 776, is from Amy Osborne, part of a great photo essay she put together on sfgate.com.

Great news pieces from Sal Casteneda on KTVU-Fox 2, KGO 7, Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez in the Examiner and Ida Mojadad in SF Weekly brought out lots of curious first-time visitors, especially families with young kids. We were ready for them, with a kids’ activity area, led by our board member Katie Haverkamp. (That’s Katie in the photo below, taken by fellow Board Member Paul Wells, instructing a guest how to “pin the part on the streetcar.”

This being the centennial year for Muni buses, the SFMTA folks outdid themselves to operate seven vintage coaches, built between 1938 and 1990. Additionally, the crackerjack maintenance team at Woods Motor Coach Division gave us a peek at the past-as-future by displaying 1956 Mack diesel coach 2230, gorgeously restored and operable but awaiting re-installation of its interior. It should be carrying passengers next year. (Our non-profit has helped SFMTA with the Mack, buying a set of new tires and other needs.)

Muni posed the Mack next to one of its newest hybrid-electric coaches, which carried a great display on the history of buses at Muni.

On the streetcar side, 1896 “dinky” 578 and 1934 Blackpool, England “boat” 228 packed them in all weekend shuttling between our museum and the Wharf, and vintage Muni Cars 1 and 130, along with PCCs 1051 and 1060, took turns recreating the original J-Church line out Market and down through Noe Valley, helping celebrate its centennial. Both days, 1929 Melbourne W2 tram 496 ran the E-line in regular service.

On the cable car side, venerable O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde line 42 brought its gorgeous self to the California line again, gripped ever so lovingly by Val Lupiz! (This photo, by member Todd Glickman, who came out from Boston for the event, shows the 42 next to 1990 Orion coach 9010, signed for a never-launched California-Hyde cable car line!)

There was much more, too. Our members will receive a complete report in our quarterly newsletter, Inside Track, due out in early October. You’ll see coverage of our special Operator’s Circle exclusive tour of Muni’s new LRVs, which we coupled with a twilight boat tram ride. If you’re not a member, join now!

Thanks to all the great team at SFMTA, led by Ed Reiskin and John Haley, with Communications led by Candace Sue and Janis Yuen, all the operators and maintainers and inspectors who made the weekend so great. And on the Market Street Railway side, special thanks to Alison Cant, our museum manager, and Katie Haverkamp, our celebration committee chair, along with all our wonderful volunteers.

Next year, we hope to combine Muni Heritage Weekend with Transit Week (upcoming at the end of September). We’ll let you know dates as soon as they’re set. See you then!

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Come On Down for Heritage Weekend!

Left to right, Muni buses built in 2017, 1969, 1985, 1938, 1975 at Woods Division, September 8, 2017

Here’s the lineup for Muni Heritage Weekend, September 9-10, 2017 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

All operations either start from or pass by our San Francisco Railway Museum, 77 Steuart Street between Market and Mission, across from the Ferry Building.

Important note: What’s on the street each day and day part, along with departure schedules, will be posted on old-fashioned schedule boards outside the museum.

STREETCARS

Celebrating the centennial of the J-Church line, Muni Car 1 (1912) and PCC 1051 (1946, honoring Harvey Milk) will operate both days from the museum via the original J-line route out Market and down Church to the original J-line terminal at 30th Street and Church. Regular fares apply.

FREE waterfront shuttle service from the museum to the Wharf Area provided by:

E-line service from the Wharf to Caltrain via AT&T Park provided at regular fares by:

These runs are in addition to regular F-line service.

CABLE CARS

  • Original 1906 O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde cable car 42 will be running on the California Street line (Drumm Street terminal two blocks from the museum)
  • All nine historic livery Powell Street cable cars will be in service, representing a colorful palette of paint jobs that these cars wore from the line opening in 1888 through today

BUSES

Celebrating the Centennial of buses at Muni!

  • Trolley Coaches 776 (Marmon-Herrington, 1950) and 5300 (Flyer, 1975) will offer free rides between the museum and Washington Square in North Beach via the historic 41-line wires
  • Motor coaches 042 (White, 1938), 3287 (GMC, 1969), 4154 (AM General, 1975), 4574 (Flyer, 1985) and 9010 (Orion, 1990) will offer free rides between the museum and Levi’s Plaza via Sansome and Battery Streets
  • Mack Motor Coach 2230 (1956) currently under restoration, will be displayed in the plaza opposite the museum as a tribute to the highly skilled crafts workers at Muni’s Woods Motor Coach Division, who have brought it back to life (it is expected to operate next year)
  • A brand new New Flyer 40′ hybrid-electric bus will also be on display to celebrate the renewal of Muni’s bus fleet

SPECIAL EVENTS — In the Plaza opposite the museum

  • Special sale of vintage transit books and memorabilia
  • Games and activities for kids
  • Displays of transit artifacts
  • Motorized Cable Car 62 (ex-Jones Street Shuttle) will be on display for kids to ring the bell

IN THE MUSEUM

  • Exhibit: “Streetcars to Buses”, showing how Muni converted from a primarily rail operation to a primarily rubber tired one
  • 10% off all museum gift shop merchandise for SFMTA employees showing their identification
  • Transit book signings by local authors — Note: Market Street Railway Members receive 10% off these prices; you can join at the museum
    • Saturday and Sunday, 12pm – Peter Ehrlich – San Francisco’s F-Line (softbound) $89.95
    • Saturday, 1:30pm – Angelo Figone – Northwestern Pacific Railroad: Lifeline of the Redwood Empire (hardbound) $89.95
    • Saturday and Sunday, 2:30pm – Emiliano Echeverria & Michael Dolgushkin – San Francisco’s Transportation Octopus (e-book, the comprehensive history of the Market Street Railway Company of 1893) $39.95
    • Saturday and Sunday, 3:30pm: Rick Laubscher, On Track: A Field Guide to San Francisco’s Historic Streetcars and Cable Cars (newly updated with the latest liveries) $14.95
      Sunday 1:30pm – Mike Healy – BART: The Dramatic History of the Bay Area Rapid Transit System (softbound) $20.00
      2:30pm – Emiliano Echeverria & Michael Dolgushkin – San Francisco’s Transportation Octopus (e-book) $39.95

See you there!

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Vintage Buses on the 7-Haight Friday, September 8

As part of its celebration of 100 years of buses at Muni, vintage motor coaches will make a rare passenger-carrying appearance on the 7-Haight line between the Ferry and Golden Gate Park, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday September 8.

Here’s the schedule:

  • At 10 a.m., 1970 General Motors coach 3287 (above) will leave the Ferry Terminal on Steuart Street to Stanyan Street via Market and Haight, and return.
  • It will be followed by 1975 AM General coach 4154 departing the Ferry Terminal at 12:20 p.m.
  • 1990 Orion 30′ coach 9010 will conclude the day with a run leaving the Ferry at 2:40 p.m.

Rides are free.

It’s all a prelude to the big Muni Heritage Weekend.  Read about that here.

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Muni Bus Centennial Celebrated at Heritage Weekend

Muni Superintendent Fred Boeken poses with Muni’s first five motor coaches (White Motor Co.) outside Geary Division, 1918. Photo from SFMTA Archives.

Muni operated its first bus on September 1, 1917. Their ace archivist and photographer, Jeremy Menzies, put together a great post with lots of photos that’s definitely worth a look.

We got a bit of a head start on the Muni bus centennial with an exhibit we opened in March at our San Francisco Railway Museum, telling the story of how buses came to replace streetcars as the city’s dominant transit vehicle. It’s still up, and it’s one more reason to come down to the museum for Muni Heritage Weekend, September 9-10 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

But don’t just come down to look at the display. Come down to ride and view actual vintage buses, because they’re taking center stage this year in honor of their centennial at Muni. Both trolley coaches and motor coaches will be offering the public rides that Saturday and Sunday.

Muni’s oldest surviving bus, built in 1938 by White Motor Company and numbered 042, restored to its original orange and black paint scheme, will run from the museum to Levi’s Plaza and back, as will 1969 GMC “Fishbowl” 3287, painted in the new livery of that day, which was modeled on the maroon worn by the California Street Cable Cars.

Newer buses running along with them on the Levi’s Plaza route will be 1975 AM General 4154 and 1990 Orion 9010.

But perhaps the most attention will go to Muni’s newest restored motor coach, 1956 Mack 2230. It will be on display in the plaza next to the museum. We won’t spoil the surprise with a photo of the restoration here (besides which, the Woods Division shops are still working on it) but here’s what it looked like during its first life. The Mack will sit side by side with a brand new Muni hybrid-electric motor coach, allowing visitors to compare 60 years of bus technology.

Two vintage trolley coaches will carry riders from the Museum to Washington Square in North Beach, including 67-year old Marmon-Herrington 776, which will be joined by 1975 Flyer 5300.

While the buses take a bow, there’s still a full slate of rail action. The J-Church line is celebrating its own centennial, so Muni’s very first streetcar, 1912 Car 1, will run from the Museum out Market and down the J-line to 30th Street on several trips each day, joined by a PCC streetcar of the type that ran the J for 30 years.

Additionally, the oldest surviving San Francisco streetcar, 578, built for the original Market Street Railway in 1896, will carry passengers from the museum to the Wharf and back, joined by one of the popular 1934 open-top “boat trams” from Blackpool, England. And 1929 Melbourne, Australia tram 496 will operate on the E-Embarcadero line.


Finally, the last surviving O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde cable car to wear that line’s livery, Car 42 in its original 1906 livery, will be operating on the California Street cable car line, just two blocks from the museum, both days.

We’ll have a special sale of hard-to-find rail books and memorabilia both days, plus book signings on transit issues, including BART (by Mike Healy), the F-line (Peter Ehrlich), the Market Street Railway of 1893 (Emilio Echeverria) and the overall heritage operation (Rick Laubscher). We’ll post the schedule for these a few days before the weekend.

This is a Heritage Weekend you don’t want to miss!

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Our Spies are Everywhere!

 

Even Truckee, where John Griffin snapped these two shots of the latest PCC to be rehabilitated by Brookville Equipment Company in Pennsylvania. The photos were forwarded to us by Market Street Railway member James Giraudo.

Car 1055 should be at Muni Metro Center by the time you read this. It is the sixth of 16 PCC cars covered by the current rehabilitation contract with Brookville. The contract covers the original F-line streetcar fleet from 1995, including 13 single end streetcars that Muni procured used from Philadelphia’s SEPTA. This car, numbered 2122 in Philadelphia, looks sparkling new in the same green and cream paint scheme, with red trim, that it was delivered to Philadelphia wearing in 1948.

Meanwhile, the last PCC to arrive, No. 1062, now painted to honor Pittsburgh Railways Co., is moving through its 1000-mile “burn-in” period, where components are tested before the car is accepted for service by Muni. The shops recently added the PRCo logo just to the rear of the center door, provided to them by us, with thanks to our friends at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, which gave us detailed advice on the Pittsburgh livery we adopted.

The next PCC due back from Brookville is Baltimore 1063, now painted in its original teal (or is it cyan — heck, blue-green) livery, quite a change from the later yellow livery it wore in San Francisco when it was first restored in 1995. That yellow was actually quite a bit more, er, YELLOW than the orangey hue actually adopted by Baltimore. We hope the new colors are more accurate, but a head’s up — that color from back in the days of lead-based paints, is very difficult to get just right, even with the great help we got from the Baltimore Streetcar Museum. We don’t have an anticipated arrival date for the 1063, but as we say, our spies are everywhere, and we’ll post a photo when we get one.

 

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