On September 9, Muni streetcar No. 162 made history, moving under its own power on its home system for the first time in 47 years.
It was a baby step–just ten feet inside the safe confines of Market Street Railway’s David L. Pharr Historic Streetcar Facility, to connect up to Muni’s Unimog tractor that towed it over the pit track–but it was “a beautiful sight,” according to Market Street Railway project manager Jack Smith. Air pressure on the vintage 1914 car moved up steadily to a normal 90 pounds. Then, “The switch group hissed and clicked and clattered,” and with one point of power, No. 162 moved.
After resting at Pharr Division for a year following my bouncy truck ride from SoCal, I was awakened one September morning by a band of Muni workers and volunteers to take me for an outing back to a place I once called home, Geneva Carhouse.
Steve Ferrario photo.
I was a little shaky at first, trying to get my bearings with the new buildings and all, but once back on the streets of San Francisco I started to feel at home, especially on the J-Church, one of my old haunts. What’s that bar on the corner of Market, The Transfer? It was Dudley’s in my day…and where’s Burke’s 19¢ burger joint? The Pilsner’s still there, but the crowd looks…different.
Well, I see Everett Jr. High is still around, and there’s Mission High. Dolores Park looks familiar—oops, there goes one of my fuses, been awhile since I tried to go up this steep hill, but I’m proud to be helping my old buddy C-1, two oldies doing our best to get over this hump in the road. Well, that backyard right-of-way hasn’t changed, and now I’m in Noe Valley, hey, what’s that coming, my old sister 130, back in the blue and gold of Treasure Island World’s Fair days, not the Wings we both wore when I last saw her. And that red lantern on back, just like on the old H-line when we shared a track with the old Ocean Shore.
David Dugan photo.
Hey, what’s this, we’re turning left at 30th Street and going up San Jose Ave. This is steam territory—the old Bernal Cut of the SP—hey I’ve got to help C-1 up the hill; I love using my motors, got to get my morning exercise. ah 1, ah 2, 3, stretch and bend, repeat, you’re welcome C-1, anytime I can help just call me.
What do they call those things racing by on the highway, SUVs, humpf, not in my day, I use to race the big Buicks and Chevy’s. I think it was a fair race, they usually won, but downhill through the tunnel, you know the one, it was my day and my turf, I never knew how fast I was going but it was awful fast.
David Dugan photo.
Now we’re approaching Geneva Carhouse, but on San Jose Avenue…I was sure they had ripped out this old MSRy 26-line track around 1950 when I was still around. Wonder what happened. I see the old firehouse is gone from Ocean, what’d it do, burn down? My God, what happened to the repair shops, there’s some kind of new building where the buses used to sit, pretty fancy looking. Oh, oh, I see something familiar, that old red brick building on the corner. It’s bringing a tear to my eye, I haven’t seen that old place since I left almost 50 years ago, hasn’t changed much, I see. It finally got a new roof, its about time. There is my old sister pulling out…No. 1, wait for me! I’d go with you but…I’ve got to get my nails painted…and my rivets, my bolsters, my woodwork (giggle). Anyway, thanks for the morning stroll. See you on the street when my makeover’s complete!