As N-Judah riders know, streetcars are off the job this week so Muni can replace switches on the line, especially at Church and Duboce, where the N meets the J and they enter the subway.
Well, almost all streetcars are off the job. This one, Muni work car No. C-1, built in 1916 and restored by Market Street Railway volunteers in the 1990s, is hard at work checking the alignment of the new track to make sure regular streetcars can run on it before the tracks are (literally) set in concrete. No. C-1 has performed this important task on the T and K lines, among others, and with its portable generator on board, it doesn’t even need the overhead wires.
Though it never carries passengers, it’s still one of Muni’s most important streetcars…just four years younger than Muni itself!
Thanks very much to Peter Straus for the great photo.
For decades, urban planners have discussed the similarities (and differences) between the two U.S. Pacific Coast cities with the best natural harbors: San Francisco and Seattle. Among other similarities, both cities had their waterfronts marred for decades by double-deck freeways. Now, as San Francisco did 20 years ago, Seattle is going to tear down its double-decker, called the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
A Seattle television station recently ran a refreshingly in-depth report on the impact the rejuvenation of The Embarcadero has had on our city. One of the experts they interviewed is former Deputy Mayor (and current MSR Vice President) Doug Wright. And throughout the story are great shots of F-line streetcars, credited for drawing some of those former freeway users into attractive mass transit. Worth a look.
One irony here, not mentioned in the TV piece: Seattle had a waterfront streetcar line before San Francisco, the brainchild of the late Council Member George Benson. It used a few Melbourne trams (like our No. 496) but was “temporarily” shut down a few years ago when its carbarn’s land was appropriated to become part of a sculpture garden.
Seattle is now expanding its nascent modern streetcar system (originally dubbed the South Lake Union Trolley until someone figured out the acronym that goes with that name), but it doesn’t look like a revival of the waterfront line is a high priority for the Seattle transit overlords, even after the boulevard is rebuilt.
Maybe the city planners up there need to look at this video again!
Editor’s Note: Right after posting the photo of Car No. 1040 (preceding post), we coincidentally received this email, which the author, Joel Salomon, has generously let us post here. Yet another reason to remember moms – not just on Mother’s Day, but every day of the year.
Click to enlarge. Muni PCC No. 1040 on Market Street in 1955, about to turn onto First Street to reach the Transbay Terminal (which would have been shown as "BRIDGE" on the roll signs of the day). Following common practice of the time, the operator has already changed the destination reading to "OCEAN" on the L-Taraval line (revised on later roll signs to "46TH-ZOO"). That’s the Hunter-Dulin Building, home to the fictional detective firm of Spade & Archer, above the car in the background, at 111 Sutter. (It’s still there.) We left the photo uncropped, the better to see the cool storefronts on Market. No, "Navy Blues" is not the predecessor of Old Navy. Several military uniform stores used to be quartered in this section of Market. Photo by Joel Salomon’s mom.
Having been in San Francisco last month I have been on a bit of a Muni fixation of late. I remembered that in my father’s collection I got were 35mm slides that my mother had taken in 1955 when she visited San Francisco while on a trip to see her sister, who lived near Sacramento. My parents were not married at the time, but my father gave my mom his slide camera to use on the trip. My mom took numerous train and trolley pictures and I decided to search them out and go through them the other week.
Imagine my surprise when I came across the enclosed shot of car 1040!
It’s so ironic that my mom took this picture of this particular car in 1955 and I discovered this in 2012, the year Harry [Donahue, head of a Friends of Philadelphia Trolleys] is planning the trip with this car. So I guess it must be fate that I go along on this fan trip in August.
So, here’s to you Mom, thinking of you a bit extra on this Mother’s Day as I type this message. Thank you for all the things you did for us a kids and while growing up beyond my teenage years! Thank you for taking me (and my two brothers) to San Francisco when I was nine years old in 1972 and instilling all the good things in my life that you did and helping with my love affair with trolleys and trains. Yes my dad had a hand in that too, but Mom, you also encouraged it. Cannot believe it’s been 14 years since you have been gone. I think of you often.
I thought this shot of 1040 had significant meaning on this day, due to the person that took it.
Joel Postscript: a comparison of this 1955 shot of No. 1040 shows how faithful its recent restoration is. The only thing missing today is the “Enter Front” decal by the front doors, which has been left off in anticipation of Muni changing to all-door boarding later this year. The black anticlimber (front bumper) was repainted silver on these cars not long after this photo was taken.
Of Muni’s 32 streamliner PCC streetcars currently in active service or under restoration, the most historic is almost certainly No. 1040. It was the very last one of some 5,000 PCCs to be built in North America, and just rejoined the fleet after a full restoration that paid particular attention to preserving its original features.
Its historic status has instantly made it a favorite target of photographers. We’re seeing a lot of great shots of it in our Flickr Group. We thought we’d share this one, by knelson27, taken on our recent charter of No. 1040. It’s posed next to an LRV near the original end of the M-line at Broad and Plymouth. And yes, the F-line PCCs also carry route signs for the other Muni surface streetcar routes, In case they’re needed for shuttle service.