Of all the disappeared streetcar lines in San Francisco, the B-Geary is probably the most lamented. It opened as part of Muni’s very first day of service on December 28, 1912. For its first few months, it was a shuttle along Geary from Tenth Avenue (where it connected with the A-line, which originally went downtown to Market Street) and 33rd Avenue. Within a few weeks, though, the B jumped past the A in importance, with the A-line becoming the shuttle (along Tenth Avenue to Fulton), with the B heading downtown, running from “Bay” (Ferry Building) to “Breakers” (Ocean Beach via Geary, 33rd Ave., Balboa, 45th Ave., and Cabrillo) by June 29, 1913.
The B-Geary was Muni’s most heavily used streetcar line, and its final years included lots of drama. We wrote about that in detail, back in 2002.
The last day of service on the B-Geary was December 29, 1956, 59 years ago today (as this post is written). The last regular service car to leave the Playland terminal was No. 77 (identical to preserved 130 and 162), captured in this excellent color shot by Jack Tillmany, and preserved by our friends at outsidelands.org. The next day, 38-Geary line buses replaced the B’s streetcars.
The B-Geary streetcar operated for 44 years and one day. It has now been gone 15 years longer than it ran. Still, it’s far from forgotten, and hope abounds among transit supporters that one day, Geary will again see rail transit service (not just the Bus Rapid Transit currently proposed).
Muni turns 103 this week (December 28) — the first publicly owned big city transit system in the United States.
Seems only fitting to celebrate history with videos of Muni’s historic vehicles, keeping the past present in the future. First, F-line streetcars, shot this past summer by one of our best contributing photographers, Kevin Mueller:
And, to bookend the streetcars, some of the best natural sound we’ve heard on a cable car video. Just a pure ride, the only music coming from the percussive click of the cable, the ratchet of the hand brake, and of course, the bells.
Happy Birthday, Muni!
Curley Reed photo
A quick compilation of recent photos from the Market Street Railway Facebook Group to celebrate the season. The streetcars were decorated by our volunteers; the cable cars by operators and sponsors of the annual Chinatown Senior Center lunch, organized for many years by the cable car workers, and underwritten by sponsors of the decorated cars.
Both kinds of decorated vintage rail transit vehicles have become a San Francisco tradition.
Before year end (or anytime, really), we at Market Street Railway, the non-profit advocating for the historic streetcars and cable cars, would very much appreciate your tax-deductible donation or membership! We can’t do it without the support of people who love these wonderful, functional, museums in motion!
Enjoy this season, everyone. And special thanks to photographers Val Lupiz, Curley Reed, Adolfo Echeverry, and Matthew Lee!
Val Lupiz photo
Adolfo Echeverry photo
Matthew Lee photo
Val Lupiz photo
Saturday, December 19 is the day for Market Street Railway Members to get great deals on gifts (including ones for yourself!) at our San Francisco Railway Museum.
We will offer a 20% discount to our Members on all gift items in the museum (if you show your membership card, you’ll make things faster, but it’s not absolutely necessary). Santa will also be visiting the museum from 1-5pm, so Members are encouraged to bring the kids and the grandkids.
Take a look below at some of the great new gift items available only at the museum, not on our online store. These include our unique plaques displaying genuine slices of 19th century cable car rail, holiday ornaments and cards, apparel, books, and much more. (By the way, the 20% discount on December 19 applies only at the museum, not online. We will have a special extra discount online for our Members next year.)
Not a member? No worries.You can join at the museum and get your discount, or do so online, right now
We came across this billboard in West Oakland yesterday, actually one of several for the same company, concentrated in a small area. The company makes an app that invites people to talk about things in the location where they are at the moment. On the Apple app store, it gets a poor rating, with one commenter saying, “It’s Instagram without any of the features or users or support or design or implementation. Don’t waste your data downloading.” But of course,… — Read More
The F-line is glowing even brighter these days, with the annual addition of a decorated streetcar, courtesy of Market Street Railway volunteers. Milan tram No. 1814 makes it easier by coming pre-painted in two-tone green! Thanks to our volunteers, Charles Darke, David Fabian, Dominic Fabian and our ace organizer/operations manager, Alison Cant, for making it festive inside and out, and for putting wreaths on the front of many other F-line streetcars as well. Special thanks to Kevin Sheridan of Muni’s shops… — Read More