September 7 and 8 are shaping up to be the best Muni Heritage Weekend ever! This year’s seventh annual event should feature two vintage rail vehicle debuts, plus a full roster of returning favorite streetcars, cable cars, and buses. All the action is centered at our San Francisco Railway Museum, 77 Steuart Street across from the Ferry Building at the F-line Steuart Street stop. (The one exception: the special cable cars, which will board one block away at California and Market Streets.)
Vintage vehicles will start operating at 11 a.m. both days, with the exception of the streetcar shuttles on The Embarcadero, which will start running around 12 noon because of the Giant Race, a waterfront footrace that was rescheduled to this date after we locked in Heritage Weekend dates. But there’ll still be plenty of time to get in your rides.
On the plaza opposite our museum, Muni’s motorized cable car 62 will be available for kids of all ages to ring their hearts out on. We’ll have a variety of kids’ games, a new selfie opportunity in front of a huge vintage colorized historic photo from 1947, book signings by Paul Bignardi of his brand new Muni Fleet History (available for the first time) and Emiliano Echeverria with his DVD book of our namesake, the Market Street Railway of 1893, our annual book and memorabilia sale, and much more. At the request of our out-of-town members, MSR President Rick Laubscher will repeat his interactive presentation of the narrated 1906 Trip Down Market Street film at the museum on Saturday at 5:45 p.m.
Market Street Railway Members will get 20% off all merchandise in the museum this weekend only (up from the normal 10%), as will employees of SFMTA, as our thanks for our productive partnership. AND, to introduce new people to Market Street Railway, we’ll be offering trial six-month memberships for just $20, which will include the last two issues of our Member magazine, Inside Track. So, this is the perfect opportunity to bring friends and relatives down for a great weekend of rare rides and shopping bargains.
Okay, now to the meat of the matter for many fans. We now have a semi-final vehicle lineup for Muni Heritage Weekend. Here it is:
- Special cable cars operate at regular fares as part of regular California Street cable car service, between Market Street (one block from San Francisco Railway Museum) and Van Ness Avenue, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Sunday: Debut of Sacramento-Clay “Big 19”, which will carry paying passengers in regular service for the first time in 77 years. Originally built 1883 as open car for Market Street service; rebuilt 1908 for Sacramento-Clay service; retired 1942; wears livery of the 1927-37 period. NOTE: Big 19 may operate on California Street part of Saturday as well; more information when available.
- Saturday & Sunday: O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde line car 42. Built 1907, retired 1954, brought back to San Francisco by Market Street Railway; wears livery of 1917 period.
STREETCARS (Operating both Saturday and Sunday unless otherwise noted; Streetcar operations begin 11 a.m. Saturday, 12 Noon Sunday)
- 1896 “Dinky” 578 – Embarcadero Shuttle between our Museum and Pier 39 – Free.
- 1934 “Boat tram” from Blackpool, England (228 scheduled Saturday, 233 Sunday) – Shuttle, Museum-Pier 39 – Free.
- Saturday only: 1912 Muni Car 1 – first publicly owned streetcar in US. Embarcadero Shuttle between our Museum and Pier 39 – Free.
- Sunday only: OPERATING DEBUT of 1946 Melbourne SW6-class tram 916. Embarcadero Shuttle between our Museum and Pier 39 – Free.
- 1929 Melbourne W2-class tram 496. Operating on the E-line in regular service (Caltrain/Ballpark-Wharf), regular fares apply.
- 1948 Muni PCCs 1006 and 1008, double-ended “torpedoes”. Operating on the E-line in regular service (Caltrain/Ballpark-Wharf), regular fares apply.
- 1952 “EuroPCC” 737 (Brussels, but wearing Zurich sister city livery). Operating on the F-line in regular service (Castro-Wharf), regular fares apply.
- 1952 Muni PCC 1040 – the last of almost 5,000 PCC streetcars built in North America. Operating on the F-line in regular service (Castro-Wharf), regular fares apply.
TROLLEY COACHES: (Begin operations at 11 a.m. both days)
Board on Steuart Street at Don Chee Way (next to the San Francisco Railway Museum). All rides are free. Stops only at terminals. One of the trolley coaches will leave Steuart Street approximately every 45 minutes.
1950 Marmon-Herrington trolley coach 776, painted in Muni’s famous green and cream “Wings” livery.
1975 Flyer Trolley Coach, painted in Muni’s “Landor” livery of orange, gold, and white.
SATURDAY TROLLEY COACH ROUTE: to Washington Square in North Beach via the 41-Union line through Embarcadero Center and Columbus Avenue.
SUNDAY TROLLEY COACH ROUTE: via Sutter and Mason Streets to connect with Tenderloin Sunday Streets activity, returning via Market from Mason.
MOTOR COACHES: (Begin operations at 11 a.m. both days)
- Board on Steuart Street at Don Chee Way (next to the San Francisco Railway Museum). All rides are free. No pickups en route. One of the motor coaches should leave Steuart Street approximately every 30 minutes.
- 1938 White Company motor coach 042, which served as a Coit Tower bus for four decades; now repainted into its original Muni livery of orange and black.
- 1956 Mack motor coach 2230, fully restored to immaculate condition, wearing its original “Wings” livery.
- 1970 GMC “Fishbowl/New Look” motor coach 3287, wearing its original Muni maroon and cream “Cal Cable” livery.
- SATURDAY MOTOR COACH ROUTE: via 82x route on Sansome and Battery Streets to reach Levi’s Plaza and the Cruise Ship Terminal (Pier 27).
- SUNDAY MOTOR COACH ROUTE: same as trolley coaches (Market, Sutter, Mason, return via Market) to connect with Tenderloin Sunday Streets activity.
We will have one more update before Heritage Weekend on anticipated schedules, posted on this site; we’ll also have schedules for book signings and talks at the museum. Watch for it.
NOTE: Muni has a chronic operator shortage that has lingered, but shows some signs of easing. Only specially qualified operators can take the controls of the historic streetcars and buses, and they are generally working on their regular days off. The vehicles on the street obviously have to match operator availability on a given day; that’s why a couple of vehicles are only scheduled to be out one day–so that riders can get a greater variety over the weekend.
Also, while at this writing every vehicle mentioned here is operational, a couple are pending final go-aheads to enter service (Cable Car “Big 19” and Melbourne 916). We don’t anticipate problems, but mention this in full disclosure. Finally, of course, operational problems can always develop with any transit vehicle. But we know Muni’s maintenance teams are doing a great job in getting everything ready and want to show off their “babies”. They have a lot to be proud of; we hope you come and enjoy Muni Heritage Weekend.