Last Renovated PCC Back in Town

It’s almost two years late, but the final PCC streetcar in the 16-car rehabilitation contract with Brookville Equipment Company is back in San Francisco, unloaded Wednesday, September 19 at Muni Metro East (Cesar Chavez and Illinois Streets).
No. 1011 was unloaded at 3:30 p.m. following its journey on a trailer from Pennsylvania, following the southern route through New Mexico and Arizona. It came off the trailer appropriately signed F MARKET/CAR HOUSE.
We’ve talked about a partial reason for the delay — installation of a different door mechanism — but with that done and No. 1011 here, that Brookville contract is wrapped up. Brookville is one of the companies expected to submit proposals this month for the next PCC contract — renovation of the original 16 F-line cars (Nos. 1050-1063, plus 1007, 1010, and 1015), which have now had almost 20 years of far more intensive service than anticipated, owning to the great popularity of the F-line.
No. 1011 will go through the usual “burn-in”: 1000 miles of testing to ensure it’s operating to specification. Based on past experience that could take up to a month, after which this beautiful “White Front” livery honoring our namesake, Muni’s erstwhile competitor Market Street Railway Company, will grace the F-line, fulfilling a dream born at that privately-owned company 75 years ago: being able to buy the very latest technology, streamlined PCC-type streetcars, to compete with Muni. Just like the renovation of No. 1011, the dream arrives late … but in this case, one look at this beautiful car says “better late than never!”

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The Straggler May Finally Head Our Way

It seems forever ago that Muni awarded a contract to Brookville Equipment Company of Pennsylvania to renovate 16 streamliner PCC streetcars for Muni. Five of these were complete reconstructions, including four precious double-end cars (precious because only a handful of the 5,000 PCCs built in North America were double ended, and because only double-end cars will be able to serve the new E-Embarcadero line, at least at first).
The double-end cars were the last to get worked on and three of the four have been put into Muni service, although one of them, No. 1009, just got rear-ended by a private bus and will be out for repairs for awhile. (We’ve learned that Muni does intend to go after the bus company for the full cost, and that the damage, luckily, is almost exclusively cosmetic.)


PCC No. 1011, painted in the livery of our namesake, Muni’s erstwhile competitor Market Street Railway Company (which wanted, but could never afford PCCs), sits outside the Brookville Equipment Company shops in Pennsylvania. Copyright Peter Ehrlich.

However, one of the four double-enders, No. 1011, has lingered at Brookville’s facility for many months after the others were delivered. But there’s a good reason. As we’ve reported previously, the door systems put into these renovated cars haven’t worked very well. In what we consider a misguided attempt to “modernize” the cars with computer assisted door controls, Muni ended up with unreliable systems that led to excessive — and unneeded — breakdowns in service.
To their credit, Muni engineering came to recognize this and changed the specifications on No. 1011 to install more traditional PCC door motors (which were very hard to source when the contract was originally let). Getting that door system installed and working properly on No. 1011 is the reason for the delay in finishing it. But we hear it may finally make its way to San Francisco later this month.
By the way, Muni has a contractor installing the same new (but traditionally designed) door control system on PCC No. 1071 as a pilot test for the 11-car 1070 class. (No. 1076, which had a similar system installed several years ago, using used components, has worked reliably ever since.
This is good news, since correcting this deficiency will further increase the reliability of the historic PCCs.
We’ll let you know when No. 1011 is on the road.

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Ride the E-line Today


Don’t worry, the arrow missed! PCC streetcar No. 1008 passes the Cupid’s Bow sculpture at Folsom and The Embarcadero, just after switching off from the tracks it shares with N- and T-line light rail vehicles. It will follow its own right-of-way to the Ferry Building, where it will join the F-line tracks to finish its journey to Fisherman’s Wharf. Adolfo Echeverry photo via the Market Street Railway Facebook group.

A reminder that E-line historic streetcar service operates today from 11 a.m. until late afternoon from Fisherman’s Wharf to Caltrain You can take it to AT&T park for the Giants game if you’re headed that way.
If you can’t get down to enjoy an E-line ride in this spectacular weather, it is scheduled to run again next Saturday and Sunday, September 14-15; and the following Saturday, September 21 (though if America’s Cup is done by then, that could change).
A shout out to all our volunteer docents who are helping riders navigate the E-line this weekend, led by Bruce Agid, Nick Figone, and Paul Lucas.

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Private Bus Rear-ends PCC on Market

One of those fancy private buses that are now very common in San Francisco rear-ended PCC No. 1009 on Market Street Thursday evening (September 5), putting the streetcar into the body shop for repairs. The website SFist ran an article that wrongly stated that the historic streetcars are accident prone (offering only a link to articles mostly about bus and LRV accidents). But it does contain several good photos, so if you want to look at different angles, click here.
Too soon to know how long No. 1009 might be out of commission, but it certainly won’t be seen this weekend as part of the special E-line America’s Cup service (Wharf to Caltrain every 15 minutes, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday).
Since rear-end collisions are virtually always held to be the fault of the following vehicle, we strongly urge Muni to go after the owner of the bus for the full cost of the repairs to No. 1009.
UPDATE (9/15): Our mistake. Muni is still evaluating options for repairing No. 1009; it hasn’t entered the body shop.

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