White Christmas, Streetcar-style!

MSRy Christmas car 1930s.jpg

In the 1930’s, Christmas in San Francisco brought a cheery sight to streets served by our namesake, Market Street Railway Company. Muni’s private competitor would deck out its all-white streetcar “San Francisco,” which usually carried school classes around town on field trips, with holiday cheer. In essence, it was a rolling billboard spreading goodwill around town. The sign on the side would have been hand lettered and painted by an employee – a nice break from car numbering or other daily tasks.
In a modest way, our non-profit carries on this tradition of our namesake, by decorating the F-line streetcars every year. This year, we ran special charters for families on December 19 with the decorated New Orleans “Desire” streetcar, and a good time was had by all. We’ll be expanding this program to other events in 2010.
Happy Holidays to all!

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Don’t Forget: Special Family & Member Weekend at the San Francisco Railway Museum

952 Noe 0409.jpg

New Orleans streetcar no. 952.

A reminder that this weekend is special at the San Francisco Railway Museum, at the F-line Steuart Street stop across from the Ferry Building.
We’re offering special rides for families on decorated streetcars Saturday afternoon 1-4, and extra discounts for members (20% off all merchandise) both Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  If you’re not a member, come join Market Street Railway and take advantage of the discount right away.
We’ve confirmed, by the way, that New Orleans “Desire” car no. 952 will be the one we’re using for our special family rides on Saturday. 1914 Muni streetcar No. 162 is scheduled to be out this weekend as well, along with decorated Milan tram No. 1818.
Here’s the whole story.

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Paint Schemes Selected for “New” PCC Streetcars

As members of Market Street Railway have learned in the new edition of our newsletter, Inside Track, Muni has approved exterior paint schemes for the four double-ended PCC streetcars now under contract to be rehabilitated.
The selected liveries, recommended by Market Street Railway after discussion on this blog, represent history, tradition, and a dream come true.

Illustration of PCC streetcar no. 1011 painted in Market Street Railway's proposed livery

1011 in the Market Street Railway Company’s “zip stripe” livery.

The dream goes back 70 years to the late 1930s, when Muni’s private competitor (and our namesake) Market Street Railway Company (MSRy) drew up plans for a double-end PCC streetcar, but couldn’t afford to buy any. Instead, they freshened up some of their old-fashioned streetcars with a racy “zip stripe” slashing across the side panels along with a bright yellow roof, while retaining the solid white ends patented as a safety feature. That undoubtedly would have been the paint scheme on any PCCs MSRy might have acquired.
Many members of today’s non-profit Market Street Railway have advocated this scheme. Now that attractive livery will join the F-line fleet on car No. 1011.

Illustration of PCC streetcar no. 1009 painted in the Dallas, Texas livery

1009 in Dallas Railway & Terminal Railway Company livery.

History is represented through the livery adopted for car No. 1009, representing Dallas Railway & Terminal Railway Company. The predominantly red scheme with cream trim and silver roof graced the Dallas cars when they were delivered in 1945. Dallas repainted the cars in a predominantly cream scheme in 1949, but we chose the original red version in large part because of its more striking and colorful appearance.
Adding the Dallas paint scheme means that 21 different North American cities that once ran PCCs will be honored with tribute liveries in Muni’s PCC fleet.

Illustration of PCC streetcar nos. 1006 & 1008 painted in Muni's wings livery

1006 & 1008 in Muni’s popular 1950’s “wings” livery.

Many of those who made suggestions for liveries on this blog, though, called for more recognition to be given to Muni itself, especially on streetcars that have spent their whole lives operating on Muni tracks, as these four double-enders have. In consideration of this, Muni has agreed to paint two of the four streetcars in this group, Nos. 1006 and 1008, in the green and cream “Wings” livery that the cars wore when they were delivered new to Muni in 1948.
The four double-ended PCCs have not yet left Muni for their rehabilitation, but the contract with Brookville Equipment Company of Pennsylvania calls for all four of these streetcars, plus 12 others included in the contract, to be completed and returned to Muni before year-end 2011.
Thanks to all who offered comments on potential liveries for these four PCCs. To get news like this first, consider becoming a member of Market Street Railway and receiving our quarterly newsletter, Inside Track.

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Historic PCC No. 1040 Leaves for Restoration

PCC streetcar no. 1040 at the Muni Metro East rail yard prior to departure for restoration

The last of almost 5,000 PCC-type streetcars to be built in North America is on its way to rebirth. Streetcar No. 1040, delivered to Muni new in 1952 as the final production streetcar of its kind built in the U.S., left Muni’s Metro East facility December 4 en route by truck to Pennsylvania, where it will be completely rehabilitated by Brookville Equipment Company.
The extensive deterioration of the streetcar, evident in these photos, is testimony to what happens when streetcars are not protected from the elements during their periods out of service. This is why Market Street Railway has advocated so persistently to provide covered storage for the most vulnerable streetcars at their Geneva Division home, a project that is finally getting underway, with completion scheduled for next year.

PCC streetcar no. 1040 at the Muni Metro East rail yard prior to departure for restoration

Meanwhile, No. 1040 is slated for a careful restoration befitting its historic status as the last built of its kind. Market Street Railway has asked that the “Golden Glow” bulb and reflector headlight be preserved (with a more powerful halogen bulb to meet current standards) and that its unusual seating with the conductor’s seat opposite the rear door also be preserved. (This class of cars originally required a two-person crew by city ordinance, a requirement lifted within two years of Car No.
1040’s arrival.)
No. 1040 was pushed onto the transport trailer by vintage 1916 Muni work car No. C1, itself restored in part by Market Street Railway volunteers. No. 1040 is due to be returned to San Francisco in ready-to-run restored condition by mid-October 2010. It is the second of 16 PCCs being renovated or upgraded under the contract with Brookville.

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Family and Member Days at the Museum Dec. 19-20

We’re rolling out the red-and-green welcome mat for members and friends at our San Francisco Railway Museum the weekend before Christmas.  There’s something appealing for all ages! Family Day Streetcar Charter, December 19,  1-4 p.m. On the Saturday before Christmas, we have a special welcome for families at the museum.  Treat your young trolley lover to a special chartered ride on one of the vintage streetcars our members decorated for the holidays. Todd Lappin photo. We’re scheduled to use car… — Read More

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