Muni Centennial Vintage Service Nov. 4 & 11

With Market Street Railway’s help, Muni is celebrating its centennial with two Sundays of special vintage vehicle service, November 4 and 11, from about 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cable cars, trolley buses and motor coaches rarely if ever used in service will be carrying passengers on special routes, joining a wide array of Muni’s historic streetcars operating very special service as well.
Never before has Muni offered rides on special vintage vehicles in all four modes — streetcar, cable car, trolley coach, and motor coach — on the same day. If you rode just one vehicle of each type, you could experience up to 342 years of San Francisco transit history on those four vehicles. It’s an opportunity that will not likely come again soon. Regular Muni fares will be charged on the special rides.

The center of action will be our San Francisco Railway Museum on Steuart Street across from the Ferry Building, where most of the special service will terminate. On both November 4 and 11, we will have special displays, new centennial merchandise on sale, and a special sale of transit books and memorabilia that do not fit into our archival collection.

STREETCARS

Both Sundays, a group of original Muni streetcars will be out and about, reliving Muni’s past, present, and future. The streetcars are expected to include Muni’s very first streetcar, century old No. 1, recently returned from a complete rebuilding. Its “little brother,” 98-year od No. 162, is expected to be in service as well, along with three newly rebuilt streamlined PCCs, all of which have spent their whole lives at Muni; all glorious in their original green and cream “Wings” livery. These include two 1948 double-end cars, Nos. 1006 and 1008 (both built in 1948) and the very last of almost 5,000 PCCs built in North America, No. 1040 (1952).

Car 1.

Car 1. Jeremy Whiteman photo from Market Street Railway Flickr group. (c) 2012, Jeremy Whiteman.

On November 4, the Muni heritage streetcars will operate along the original routing (more or less) of Muni’s oldest surviving line, the J-Church, which opened in 1917. Streetcars will depart about every 20-25 minutes from the Museum (Steuart Street) F-line stop and head out Market. They will follow the F-line tracks to 17th and Noe, then take 17th to Church to join the J-line, following the scenic right-of-way alongside Dolores Park, then through Noe Valley to the original J-line terminal at 30th Street. They’ll then return to the Museum via Church and Market Streets. The streetcars will pick up passengers at ALL regular Muni stops along the route.

On November 11, the Muni heritage streetcars will run along part of Muni’s newest streetcar line, the T-Third. From the Museum, they’ll head south on The Embarcadero along the tracks built for the future E-Embarcadero line, then join the T and N line trains where they emerge from the subway at Folsom. They will pick up or drop off passengers at the low-level E-line platforms at Folsom, Brannan and 2nd & King stations ONLY. After turning onto Fourth Street, the heritage streetcars will operate as a no-stop excursion along Fourth (across the historic China Basin Bridge), Channel, and Third Street to Cesar Chavez, where they will turn east and loop through Muni Metro East, giving riders a quick look at Muni’s newest streetcar facility, which will house the Central Subway fleet. The streetcars will return to the Museum from there.

Also expected to be in service those two Sundays (weather permitting): the 1934 Blackpool Boat, which will shuttle passengers between the museum and Pier 39. It is possible that additional special streetcars could make an appearance on one or both Sundays, depending on availability.

If you can’t make it on either Sunday, Muni will be making every effort to have the five Muni heritage cars in regular F-line service during the week in-between (November 5-10).
Do note that Muni’s shops made concerted efforts to get 1914 car No. 130 back in service

CABLE CAR

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O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde cable car No. 42 on its inaugural (and so far only) run, 2005.

Muni has only run its ceremonial cable car, 1906 O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde Street No. 42(reacquired and restored with our help) once with passengers on board. And you had to be a mayor or other big shot to get on. On November 4 and 11, though, this beautifully restored cable car will run in regular service on the California Street line. The downtown terminal is just a block from the Museum, at Market and California Streets.

TROLLEY COACHES

The workhorses of Muni’s trolley coach fleet for a quarter-century were the burly Marmon-Herringtons. Freshly restored No. 776, built in 1950, will be running a downtown loop route leaving from Steuart Street next to the Museum.

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1950 Marmon-Herrington trolley coach No. 776 being tested recently. Tony Marquardt photo.

Additionally, one of the first 10 trolley coaches Muni ever owned, No. 506, built for the R-Howard line by St. Louis Car Co. in 1941, is scheduled to be on display in the plaza across the F-line tracks from the Museum. This blue and gold beauty, which shares some of the distinctive lines of the PCC streetcars that St. Louis Car also built, does not operate, but Market Street Railway, which rescued the coach 25 years ago, is working with Muni to complete its restoration.
The more modern trolley coach era will be represented by 1975 Flyer No. 5300, painted in its original iconic Landor white, gold, and orange livery. It is expected to carry passengers alongside No. 776 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Sundays.
MOTOR COACHES

Muni motor coach No. 042

1938 Muni motor coach No. 042 (long numbered 062), restored to its original paint scheme, at Woods Motor Coach Division, October 2012.

Muni’s motor coach history will be represented by two buses. One, definitely planned for operation, is 1969 GMC “New Look” No. 3287, painted in its as-delivered maroon and yellow livery, a short-lived Muni paint scheme borrowed from the California Street cable cars. Possibly joining it in service would be Muni’s oldest bus, vintage 1938 No. 042. This bus spent most of its life on the 39-Coit route (renumbered to 062), and is currently finishing up a complete rebuilding by Muni’s Woods Division crafts workers. It has been given back its original number and painted in its eye-popping original orange and black livery (too bad it wasn’t ready for the first games of the World Series!). At this writing, it is not likely it will be ready for November 4, but it may be finished by November 11. Whichever motor buses do operate will follow a short route from the museum, still being determined, from around 10 a.m – 5 p.m. They would operate as excursion vehicles, with no stops en route.

This will be the biggest operating day of Muni’s centennial celebrations. The actual 100th anniversary date, December 28, falls in a week when many people are out of town, so we and Muni management agreed it would be better to celebrate before then, but after the America’s Cup and Fleet Week activities.
We will provide you with any updates we receive as soon as we get them, so watch this space! Hope to see as many of you as possible on November 4 and 11.

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Welcome, Detroit! Now Please Lose.

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PCC No. 1079, honoring Detroit Department of Street Railways, at the Ferry Building. Telstar Logistics photo via the Market Street Railway Flickr Group.

As the Tigers meet the Giants for the first time ever in a World Series, it’s worth mentioning that the Motor City has been represented in San Francisco for some years by a streetcar. PCC No. 1079 is painted in tribute to Detroit, though it actually ran first in Minneapolis-St. Paul, then in Newark, NJ.
Still, it gives us the chance to note that the Tigers never won a World Series during Detroit’s PCC era, suggesting that the streamlined cars may be a jinx. Perhaps Muni should run No. 1079 back in forth in front of AT&T Park during the first two games, just in case.

It also gives us the opportunity to remind everyone that we’ve got dozens of great photos of No. 1079 on our Flickr Group, along with hundreds of other great San Francisco streetcar photos.

Finally, it reminds us to tell you that Market Street Railway and its waterfront partners — including businesses, neighborhood groups, non-profits like Delancey Street Foundation, and the San Francisco Giants, continue our productive work with SFMTA, Muni’s parent, in establishing permanent historic streetcar service to AT&T Park via the proposed E-Embarcadero line from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Caltrain Depot (and ultimately beyond in both directions). Giants fans got a taste of the E twice this year, when demonstration service coincided with ball games. You can’t take the E to the Series this year, but we’re doing all we can to make it a reality by next year, or 2014 for sure. You can help us with this and other projects by joining Market Street Railway or donating to us.
Go Giants!!!

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Come Hear About Muni’s Early Years

Noted transit historian Grant Ute, who has curated some great displays at our San Francisco Railway Museum, will be presenting the story of Muni’s first two decades at a most appropriate place — the West Portal Branch of the San Francisco Public Library — next Monday evening, October 22, starting at 7:15 p.m. The library is located just around the corner from today’s West Portal Station, at 190 Lenox Way (at Ulloa).

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West Portal, 1935. Image courtesy of the SFMTA Photo Archive. (c) 2012, SFMTA. sfmta.com/photo.

West Portal, the neighborhood, is named for – and was enabled by – the digging of the Twin Peaks Tunnel, which brought Muni streetcars to the southwest quadrant of the city in 1918.
Grant will be focusing on Muni’s first 20 years with emphasis on its pioneering into the Sunset and Parkside. The talk will be illustrated by images from Cam Beach, Philip Hoffman, Walt Vielbaum, Bob Townley and the book they and Grant wrote together, *”Muni: San Francisco’s Municipal Railway.*
A native San Franciscan, Grant really knows his stuff and relates it in a very entertaining way. Well worth a ride on today’s K, L, or M lines to learn how they were born!

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The Boat is Back!

Following a lengthy absence while its controllers were rebuilt, the most popular streetcar in the F-line fleet, the 1934 Boat Tram from Blackpool, England, is back on track.


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Boat tram No. 228 at the Wharf on its first day back in service, October 13, 2012. William Daniels photo from the Market Street Railway Facebook group.

Specifically, it went back into passenger carrying service on Saturday (October 13) on the shuttle between the Ferry Building and Fisherman’s Wharf. Since the boat doesn’t have GPS on board, getting to ride it is a combination of the old-fashioned method (going down and looking for it — your best bet is the Ferry Building stop, since it lays over just south of there between runs) or joining our Facebook group or Twitter feed, which you can do by going to the bottom of this page and clicking on those names. We’ll try to keep people informed when we see it go by.
Note that it’s tough to predict in advance whether it’s going to be out. A lot has to do with the weather of course, but also the availability of a crew trained to operate it…although that has been getting much better of late, thanks to concerted efforts by Muni management.
We’ll have much more on the boat and its history in this space soon.

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Great Streetcar (and Other) Photos on View This Weekend

Photos by Market Street Railway calendar contributor Kevin Sheridan are on display at Fort Mason Center this weekend, along with nine other artists. (That’s one of his current calendar shots above.) It’s called Studio Nocturne 2012, and it runs Saturday and Sunday, October 13 and 14, from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on the ground floor of Building D in the Fleet Room. Further information is available. We’d love to tell you to take the streetcar, but the extension to… — Read More

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“E for Effort” — Hectic Weekend Taught Lessons

A conga line of buses, Milan trams and PCCs lines up to turn around at Pier 39 while the Wharf portion of the E and F lines was closed for a parade on Sunday — one of the many challenges facing Muni on an extraordinary weekend. Muni just went through one of its busiest weekends in its hundred-year history, and we at Market Street Railway are helping distill lessons learned, specifically to keep improving the historic streetcar operation. Muni got… — Read More

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Car 1 on the F-line! Get Out and Ride!

The big Fleet Week/America’s Cup/Giants Playoff weekend is under way, complete with E-line service. It includes the first regular passenger service for Muni’s Car No. 1, its very first streetcar, since its rebuilding. This surprise appearance by No. 1, apparently operating on the F-line between 11th Street and Fisherman’s Wharf, follows a ceremonial debut earlier this year and a couple of charters, including one for our Market Street Railway members. Here’s how to find out whether Car No. 1, shown… — Read More

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