Muni Heritage Weekend September 26-27

P1060043Muni Heritage Weekend for 2015 has been officially scheduled on Saturday-Sunday, September 26-27.  These dates were reaffirmed by Muni in June.

The fourth edition of the popular event will again feature vintage streetcars, a special cable car, and vintage streetcars not often seen on the street, all available for the public to ride. Specifics are still being worked out, but it will be similar to the 2014 event, in terms of the vehicles involved. Working with Muni’s great shop forces, we’re hoping to introduce at least one newly restored vehicle to the operation.

If you’re planning to travel from a distance, consider coming early, because we’re working to set up special events for our members.  We will soon announce a free charter on Friday night, September 25 for members in our Operator’s Circle (annual membership of $250 and above.  This will be special. We’ll have details soon.

Late September is usually the best weather period of the year in San Francisco, and with school back in session, the summer visitor crush has passed. So if you’re planning a trip here for Heritage Weekend this year, stretch it out and enjoy many more wonders of the City by the Bay, and Northern California beyond.

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Sign Up For Our April Trolley Tours

Brussels/Zurich tram

Tram No. 737, from Brussels (1952) painted in tribute to San Francisco’s sister city, Zurich, Switzerland

Trolley Tours are back in 2015!  We’ve scheduled our first three, and will be announcing more in the months to come.

These private charters, arranged by Market Street Railway, give you the chance to ride vintage streetcars not often seen in regular service and along streetcar routes that the vintage cars only follow for events like these.

All the details are here, if you just want to cut to the chase.

Our first excursion, on April 12, brings out Muni’s European PCC, the stylish Belgian adaptation of the U.S. streetcar design seen on the F-line. With exterior livery touting Zurich, San Francisco’s sister city, but interior signs in French and Flemish heralding the city where it actually ran, Brussels, it’s a rolling example of streetcar schizophrenia.  It will run from our San Francisco Railway Museum out the F and J lines to Balboa Park and back.

Boat tram No. 228 on a charter

Boat tram No. 228 on a charter

Our second Trolley Tour is especially for grandparents and grandchildren, on the delightful 1934 boat tram from Blackpool, England.  What better way to delight the little ones than an open air ride along the waterfront, with a guided tour included.

Car No.1 on 17th Street

Car No.1 on 17th Street

Then, on April 26, we’ll have our first “Night Train” event, an evening excursion on beautifully restored 1912 Car No. 1, with beverages and a live band!

Again, for more information and to sign up, click here!

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Geary Car House, with Friends

Geary Carhouse Cars 1 1006Muni’s first streetcar storage and maintenance facility was the Geary Car House, at Geary Blvd. and Presidio Avenue. It opened with Muni’s first lines (the A and B) in 1912 and stopped being a streetcar facility after the Geary lines converted to buses at the end of 1956.  Muni built its Presidio Division bus facility behind this carbarn at the end of the 1940s. Its offices sat above the streetcar storage tracks until the early 21st century.

We saw this shot on eBay but were not successful in getting the original. Still, it’s worth sharing because of the “friends” we found in the photo.

Geary Carhouse Cars 1 1006 copy

That’s double-end PCC No. 1006 on the left in the closeup, with a blank route sign and “Car House” as its destination. Chances are it had come in from the N-Judah, where the double-enders often ran in their early years. Next to it is Car No. 15, signed for the F-Stockton line, and then, lo and behold, Car No. 1, signed for the C-Geary-California line, which it often served in its waning days. Its destination sign, though, shows “Plymouth,” the end of the M-Ocean View line. That could easily have been a “barn rat,” a young railfan of the day, playing around. The ad on the end of one of the streetcars suggests the date is 1951. It’s certainly not later than that because the F-Stockton became the 30-Stockton bus at the end of 1951, and it’s not earlier than 1948 because that’s when No. 1006 joined the fleet.

We were delighted to see this photo, featuring two streetcar friends that are still with us, thanks to Muni’s commitment to preservation (with support from Market Street Railway).

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Sunday Streets on The Embarcadero March 8

New Orleans "Streetcar Named Desire" No. 152 (built 1924) operates in demonstration E-Embarcadero service along with PCC No. 1007 during the 2008 Sunday Streets event.

New Orleans “Streetcar Named Desire” No. 952 (built 1923) runs in trial E-Embarcadero service along with PCC No. 1007 during 2008’s Sunday Streets event.

The weather is scary-summery, leading us to wring our hands over the worsening drought. But there’s an upside: a beautiful day expected Sunday for the first Sunday Streets event of the season, March 8 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (Daylight Savings Time!) on The Embarcadero between Third Street and Pier 39. Details here.

This is the now-established event where automobiles are detoured, opening the northbound roadway for bicyclists, tricyclists, unicyclists, skateboarders, and users of virtually any other self-powered vehicle.  Including feet.

But the F-line streetcars will be operating, so it’s a great opportunity to come down and enjoy a ride as part of the day.  (Remember, though, the F-line streetcars cannot accommodate bikes on board.)

Market Street Railway sincerely wishes Muni could put out some of the unique streetcars, like Muni Car 1 and the Boat Tram, for the event, but Muni reports a continuing shortage of trained operators they’ve been trying to address for a couple of years now.  (We’re hoping that something positive in that regard will develop at the last minute, but it’s not likely.)  We’ll have an article about this frustrating training situation in the next issue of our member newsletter, Inside Track, due out in early April.

While you’re on the waterfront, stop into our San Francisco Railway Museum across from the Ferry Building to see our exhibit, “Fair, Please,” on how Muni came of age in order to serve the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition.

The Examiner just carried a long article on Muni’s 1915 fair service with lots of quotes from us. Unfortunately, though, the article got mixed up about the historic streetcar extension to Fort Mason. As much as we might wish it to be true, the streetcar extension through the historic 1914 rail tunnel (built in part to bring materials to the Exposition site) will not be hosting streetcars this summer.

The reporter apparently confused the startup of weekend service on the E-Embarcadero historic streetcar line between Fisherman’s Wharf and Caltrain, still slated by Muni for July of this year, with the future extension to Fort Mason, for which funding is still being sought. And the headline writer erroneously called the Fair service the “birthing of Muni,” when it was more a case of Muni going from toddler to teenager in the course of a couple of growth-spurt years. But it was still a good piece, and we recommend it.

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