PCC No. 1051 will honor the memory of Milk with permanent exhibit
San Francisco—The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees the Municipal Railway (Muni), joined with its non-profit partner Market Street Railway (MSR) this morning at 17th and Market streets to dedicate historic streetcar No. 1051 to the memory of human rights pioneer and transit advocate Supervisor Harvey Milk. Supervisor Milk was the first San Francisco Supervisor to regularly use a Fast Pass.
Milk served as a strong advocate for the quality of life issues still essential to San Francisco today. His exceptional and enduring contribution to the betterment of public transit in San Francisco will live on as this streetcar travels from Market and Castro to Civic Center, just as he did each day he was in office.
“This rolling classroom will inform Muni customers on the F Market line about Supervisor Milk’s passion for improving Muni and city government in general for all San Franciscans,” said SFMTA Executive Director/CEO Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr. “This is a meaningful way to help visitors and residents appreciate this pivotal civic leader.”
“Harvey Milk’s legacy in the human rights movement is well known, and we wanted to draw additional attention to his efforts to improve Muni and make San Francisco a better place to live,” said MSR Board of Directors President Rick Laubscher. “We call the streetcars moving museums and this car will serve as a dynamic presentation of San Francisco history.”
The historic streetcar displays the green and cream livery of the 1970s and is the same Presidents’ Conference Committee (PCC) model that was in service at that time. It was featured in the film “Milk,” which will premiere tonight at the Castro Theatre.
On Tuesday, October 28, at 11 a.m. at Castro and Market Streets, PCC streetcar No. 1051, painted in Muni’s 1970s green and cream “simplified” livery, will be dedicated to Harvey Milk for his advocacy of public transit during his all-too-brief tenure as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1978. At that time, Milk was the only member of the Board who rode Muni every day, and he was the first Board Member to use the then-new Fast Pass regularly. The dedication is co-sponsored by Muni and Market Street Railway and will complement the many other tributes paid to Harvey Milk as a human rights pioneer. The public is invited to attend.
The choice of this trolley to honor Harvey Milk is based both on its livery — the same as the streetcars he rode every day from the time he was elected Supervisor to his assassination on November 27, 1978 — and on the fact that this streetcar makes an appearance in the new movie “Milk” which has its world premiere that same evening, October 28, at the Castro Theater.
In one of those tragedies that just leaves you feeling so hollow, a young man — and friend of the vintage streetcars — has been taken from us. His name was Pippin Seales. He was playing with two friends in a cave at Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz on October 11 when it collapsed on them. One friend got out, one was injured, and Pippin was killed. He had just turned 11.
He was a boy with an amazing range of interests according to the remembrance published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. One of those interests was rail transportation:
More than one family vacation was centered around trains: steam railways in Britain, rail travel in California, streetcars in San Francisco. He was passionately interested in public transit, and in the hours he spent planning & working on his model train layout with his father – drawing wiring diagrams, solving design issues, perusing catalogs – he always kept alive the connection between the imaginary world he was creating and the real world of trolleys, buses, streetcars, and trains. He would have made an excellent civil engineer.
Pippin’s family named Market Street Railway as one of the two causes to which donations could be sent in his memory. We have already received a number of them. If you’d like to join in honoring Pippin, you may donate to our acquisition and restoration fund, as Pippin’s family designated.
The Los Angeles Times ran a troubling story saying that many large transit agencies, Muni among them, could face big-time financial problems because of rail car lease deals gone sour in the current economic meltdown. The Times noted that between 1980 and 2003, many transit properties sold their rail cars and leased them back, reaping a one-time cash infusion. But in the case of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority, at least, the leases — with the troubled financial services giant AIG — may have to be paid back suddenly, which would require drastic service cuts.
The Times story offered no details on Muni’s situation, and we haven’t seen any specifics on it in local coverage. We do know that Muni sold, then leased back, its LRV fleet around 2003. We also know that at the time some Muni staffers wanted to include the vintage streetcar fleet in the lease, but Market Street Railway objected and the idea never went anywhere.
So, at least the F-line cars won’t be making any unscheduled stops on Wall Street.
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