2012 Muni Centennial Calendar Now At Museum

UPDATE: The 2012 calendar is now available on our online store as well.

In December 2012, Muni will celebrate its 100th anniversary as the first publicly owned big city transit system in America. We’re celebrating too, with a special edition of our popular Museums In Motion calendar that features 13 beautiful full color, full page photos of Muni’s historic streetcars and cable cars in action on city streets today, along with 24 vintage black and white photos that chronicle Muni’s story from day one to the present. There’s also a full page history of Muni write-up inside, complete with timeline and more great photos. All in a large 16 x 11 inch format, priced at $12.95.
We just got an advance shipment of the calendar at our San Francisco Railway Museum, where it’s now on sale. Drop in and take a look, right at the F-line Steuart Street stop across from the Ferry Building. (Open 10-6 every day but Monday.)
The 2012 calendar is now available in our online store as well.
And don’t forget, Market Street Railway members at the $100 annual level or above get the calendar with our complements. If you’re already a member, we’ll be mailing you a voucher you can exchange either at the museum or at the online store. If you’re not a member, it’s another good reason to join Market Street Railway.
Don’t miss this edition of the calendar! It’s a true collector’s item and we expect it to sell out.

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Toothpick Cable Car — and City

We admit it’s pretty peripheral to our historic transit preservation mission, but this video is worth a look for anyone who loves San Francisco. Scott Weaver certainly does. He’s the fellow who took 100,000 toothpicks and 35 years to create a kinetic sculpture of San Francisco. Complete with California Street cable car (admittedly a tiny part of the sculpture, but enough to give us an excuse to share this with you).

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Christmas in July?

You’d think so from looking at this photo of decked-out Milan tram No. 1811, not to mention the wreath-bedecked light poles in front of the Ferry Building. But it turns out to be a little money-making opportunity for Muni: a charter of the tram earlier this month for filming a scene of the forthcoming feature film “The Five Year Engagement,” a comedy starring Emily Blunt and Jason Segal.
Muni has chartered streetcars numerous times for film and commercial work. We hope they’re getting top dollar for them. For our part, we picked up a couple of decorating tips for our own holiday decorating work, which we hope to expand this year. More on that in a future post.

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First Rewired PCC Starts Carrying Passengers

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No. 1071 being tested in March. Jeremy Whiteman Photo

A big surprise passed by our San Francisco Railway Museum this morning: the eye-popping yellow PCC No. 1071, carrying passengers!
This is the first of the 11 PCCs of this class to enter revenue service following a complete rewiring by Brookville Equipment Company. It was considered the “pilot” car of the group, where components would be looked at closely before any other cars in the group were accepted back in San Francisco. The contract says Muni had 60 days to accept or reject the first car to return, but No. 1071 has been back in San Francisco almost eight months now.
We had heard about reliability problems with both a new type of door controller installed in these cars and a new low voltage power supplies. The contractor has spent quite a bit of time on these issues, but even a week or so ago, we had heard indications that more testing of No. 1071 (without passengers) would be in order before revenue service (with passengers) began.
We heard this morning though that an open issue about the door operation has been addressed. The power supply issue had apparently previously been resolved. So, we’ve been told that No. 1071 has been “conditionally accepted” by Muni from Brookville.
You can follow 1071’s progress on our F-line live map. It’s on the street as this is posted; it may well not operate every day, though one would hope Muni wants to give it the toughest test it can.

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1078 pulls into Metro East following its return trip from the contractor, Brookville equipment of Pennsylvania.

On a related note, another of the rewired PCCs, San Diego No. 1078, returned to San Francisco just before the weekend, and is reportedly being readied for testing (without passengers) as well, as is No. 1080, which arrived June 24.
We hope any reported problems with these renovated cars turn out to be minor and that the cars enter service quickly, uneventfully, and — most importantly — reliably. No question Muni needs the extra capacity.
***UPDATE: We’re told the 1071 developed operating problems on that very first day in service and is back at the shop being looked at. We will be taking a closer look at these problems soon.***

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Market Street 1906: A Repeat Visit by 60 Minutes on Sunday

Last fall, *60 Minutes* correspondent Morley Safer joined us aboard 1895 Market Street Railroad Company car No. 578 for a trip down Market Street, recreating the route featured in the Miles’ Brothers now-famous historic film. We told the behind-the-scenes story here, and invite you to read that post. This Sunday, July 10, at 7 p.m., the story will be rebroadcast on *60 Minutes*, Channel 5 in the Bay Area. Our participation aside, we think the story of how this priceless… — Read More

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Awesome Muni Streetcar-Cable Car Simulator (Ja!)

We’ve long known that Germans have a real affinity for transit. Just come into our San Francisco Railway Museum almost any day and meet some. But this is over the top! A German game company called Astragon has created an awesome Muni simulator that lets you operate a PCC or Milan streetcar, a cable car, a motor coach or trolley bus over a variety of routes, real and imagined. Check out this You Tube promotional video. The preview shows buses… — Read More

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