Member Reception/Muni Heritage Weekend Reminder

1941 Muni trolley coach No. 506 is already on display for Muni Heritage Weekend, across the F-line tracks from our San Francisco Railway Museum on Steuart Street between Market and Mission.

1941 Muni trolley coach No. 506 is already on display for Muni Heritage Weekend, across the F-line tracks from our San Francisco Railway Museum on Steuart Street between Market and Mission.

Market Street Railway has added a special members-only event for Muni Heritage Weekend. On Saturday, November 1, from 5:00-6:30 p.m., our Members will be welcomed for libations at our San Francisco Railway Museum, in conjunction with Muni Heritage Weekend. MSR President Rick Laubscher will provide an update on the organization’s accomplishments in 2014 and on the status of its current initiatives. MSR’s Board Chair, Bruce Agid, will outline overall organizational priorities for 2015. If you’re not currently a Market Street Railway member, you can join right here and now, or at the museum tomorrow!

We’ve scheduled this reception to tie into Muni Heritage Weekend to make it easy to join us. We especially welcome Members who would like to volunteer for our committees or other activities. We remain a volunteer-driven organization, and would love to find more active volunteers, so don’t be shy about offering your services at the reception.

As for Muni Heritage Weekend itself, November 1-2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., preparations are complete. As reported in the last Inside Track, a variety of vintage equipment is scheduled to carry passengers. On all or part of the F-line, you can ride streetcars Nos. 1 (Muni, 1912) and 130 (Muni 1914), 578 (Market Street Railway, 1896), 1006 ,1008, and 1010 (Muni, 1948) and 1040 (Muni, 1952). Muni’s oldest motor coach, No. 042 (1938) and trolley coaches No. 776 (1950) and 5300 (1976) are all slated to carry passengers on a loop via Market, Sutter, Mason, Market, Spear, Mission, and Steuart, terminating next to our San Francisco Railway Museum.

In the plaza opposite our museum, 1941 Muni trolley coach No. 506 (pictured above) is already on display, to be joined by 1969 GMC motor coach No. 3287 (which may make a passenger trip or two) and Muni’s motorized cable car (retired Jones Street Shuttle No. 62, offering the chance for kids of all ages to ring its bell.

A block away, O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde cable car No. 42 (1906) will be out on the California Street line, while over on the Powell lines, as many of the vintage-liveried cable cars as possible will be on the line for photographers and riders alike.

At 1:15 both days in the plaza opposite our museum, the late Maya Angelou, one of San Francisco’s first African-American female streetcar conductors, will be honored. Johnnae Sanders, a high school senior at St. Ignatius, will read from Angelou’s writings about how she gained, and performed, her pioneering transit role.

We will have an extensive sale of hard-to-find and/or out-of-print railway and transit books and an array of vintage memorabilia both days in the plaza.

Our new displays, “Car vs. Car” and “Fair, Please” will be available for viewing at the Museum. “Car vs. Car” tells the story of the decades-long battle between automobiles and streetcars for San Francisco’s precious street space, while “Fair, Please,” describes how Muni came of age through effective infrastructure investment made to serve the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in what’s now the Marina District.

MSR President Rick Laubscher will sign and inscribe copies of his guidebook, On Track, both days at 3 p.m. (These and other merchandise in our store make great holiday gifts and it’s not too soon to start shopping!)

Come join the fun!

(By the way, the new edition of our Member newsletter, Inside Track, contains a story on the Member reception, but our printing vendor let us down, and it is only now in the mail.  We apologize for the late delivery and are are taking steps to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.)

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SFMTA Has a Great Blog Going


That’s the header for the new blog, Moving SF, launched recently by Muni’s parent, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. You can find it here. It’s got a nice mix of current transit news, features, and history.

On top of the great content, we were really flattered today to see a positive piece about, well, us!

That post followed a nice summary of all the events coming up this weekend at Muni Heritage Weekend.

Last week, they wrote a tribute to the great photographs of San Francisco in the 1940s and 1950s taken by Fred Lyon, about whom you’ll be hearing more from us shortly.

Lots of other good posts on the SFMTA blog too. And you can subscribe to get posts sent directly to your via email. (By the way, we are implementing a new and improved email subscription mechanism on this, our own site. It should be up and running in a few days. We appreciate your understanding.)

We’re delighted to welcome our partners at SFMTA to the blogosphere, and have added Moving SF to sites we follow on our sidebar.

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Historic Buses in Spotlight November 1-2

P1050858Muni’s historic buses are featured in a great column by the Chronicle’s Carl Nolte.

We went out to Woods Division the other day with Carl and toured the historic bus fleet, including the three coaches pictured above, all scheduled to run for Muni Heritage Weekend, November 1-2, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.  (Left to right, 1938 White Motor Coach No. 042; 1975 AM General No 4154; and 1969 GMC “New Look” No. 3287, being prepared by cleaning crews to go to work.)

The AM General coach, pictured in the middle, may seem too modern-looking to be “historic,” but it will turn 40 next year and is important in at least two respects.

First, it represents one of the first instances that Muni management allowed public concerns to influence its vehicle selection. The GMC buses, known internally as “Jimmys,” were noisy and too long for some neighborhood streets. Citizen complaints led to the smaller, quieter “Amys,” as the AM Generals were known by the shops. (Today, Muni’s parent, SFMTA, runs extensive community consultation programs, including one currently underway to advise management on appearance and passenger comfort details of the new Siemens LRV fleet.)

Second, the Amys were the first Muni fleet to be delivered in the livery designed by famed San Francisco industrial designer Walter Landor, featuring the now-familiar Muni “worm” logo and colors including “Sunset Glow” and “California Poppy Gold.”

Because of their smaller size and their parentage, American Motors, the 4100-class was also called “Gremlins,” after the unusual compact car the firm then made.) No. 4154 will be making its operating debut at Muni Heritage Weekend, sharing the same special route as the other historic motor coaches and trolley coaches (including 1950 Marmon-Herrington No. 776 and 1976 Flyer No. 5300): from outside our San Francisco Railway Museum on Steuart between Market and Mission, via Market, Sutter, Mason, Market, Spear, Mission, and Steuart).

Along with the historic buses, special streetcars and cable cars will operate on Muni Heritage weekend as well, and there’ll be a number of events in the plaza across from the museum: music from a Muni combo; young actress Johnnae Saunders as Maya Angelou, 16-year old San Francisco streetcar conductor; cable car bell ringing exhibitions; chances for kids to color their own historic streetcar and ring that actual cable car bell; special transportation book and memorabilia sales, and much more.

It’s going to be the best historic transit weekend yet. You don’t want to miss it.


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The Little Engine That Could!

State Belt Loco No. 2Next weekend (Saturday-Sunday, November 1-2) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., you’ll have the special opportunity to ride a streetcar built in the 1890s from our San Francisco Railway Museum up The Embarcadero to the Wharf area, as part of Muni Heritage Weekend.

When you do, you’ll be following the path of another important part of San Francisco’s rail heritage, the State Belt Railroad. The noted San Francisco author and historian Gary Kamiya has a great piece on recounting the history of this freight line. Well work a read.

The State Belt ran the entire length of The Embarcadero and then some, paralleling streetcar lines from Folsom to Broadway, with the most spectacular scenes to be seen right in front of the Ferry Building as the 1937 photo below shows. That’s a Muni E-line “dinky” just to the right at the north terminal, headed for the Presidio via North Beach and Russian Hill, and a Market Street Railway “White Front” car that will loop around Broadway to Kearny before running the length of Third Street to the County Line in Visitacion Valley.

State Belt E 16 at Ferry Bldg c1937 copySo as you enjoy today’s Embarcadero, remember the days when steam and smoke were common sights and sounds on our waterfront.

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Kansas City, Outta Here!

No, we’re not prematurely claiming a World Series victory (though we’re predicting one, of course). We just found it interesting that just as the Giants are about to engage the Kansas City Royals in the 2014 World Series, Muni’s streetcar that honors KC up and leaves town. PCC No. 1056, which had been painted in a tribute livery to Kansas City, has actually been out of service for a few years now with a cracked bolster (a big metal fitting… — Read More

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Muni Heritage Weekend November 1-2

The 2014 Muni Heritage Weekend is approaching fast: Saturday-Sunday, November 1-2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Several buses, including trolley buses from 1950 (No. 776) and 1976 (No. 5300), and motor coaches including 1938 No. 042, will carry passengers on a special route from our San Francisco Railway Museum on Steuart between Market and Mission Streets. The buses will follow Market to Sutter, Sutter to Mason, and Mason back to Market for the return trip. San Francisco’s oldest streetcar,… — Read More

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New Website Platform Up and Running

Whew.  After hundreds of hours of work by Paul Wolborsky, with help from Raye Daniels and great leadership by our board member Todd Lappin, the revamped is up and running this morning.  We’re now on a more stable, more capable platform, which will allow us to add more features for you over time. Please be patient as we work out the inevitable bugs.  Thanks.

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