Two Streetcars Get Dressed for the Holidays

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It’s that time of year again…

With their bellies still full of Thanksgiving turkey, a merry group of Market Street Railways volunteers gathered at Muni’s Geneva Yard this weekend to decorate two vintage streetcars for the holidays. Per usual, the two cars — New Orleans No. 952 and Milan No. 1818 — were adorned with a colorful assortment of garlands, bells, tinsel, ribbons, and sparkly snowflakes.

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Truth be told, it could have been a much less pleasant experience.

Year in and year out, Mother Nature has smiled upon MSR’s annual holiday decorating event by delivering warm, dry weather while the streetcars received their seasonal makeover. This year, however, it was cold and rainy.  Fortunately, the new Geneva shed was completed just a month ago, which meant that the MSR crew was able to get the job done under the building’s big roof without having to endure the elements.

The new shed is a good thing for the preservation of San Francisco’s vintage streetcar fleet, but today it also turned out to be a very good thing for the preservation of our volunteers as well.

A wonderful time was had by all. Enjoy these photos by MSR Board Member Todd Lappin:

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It’s Here! MSR’s 2011 Museums In Motion Calendar

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Just in time for, well, next year, Market Street Railway is proud to unveil the 2011 edition of our Museums In Motion calendar.

Printed in a large, 16 x 11 inch format, the 2011 Museums In Motion Calendar features thirteen
beautiful full-color shots of San Francisco’s historic rail vehicles in
action on the city streets, plus 24 spectacular black & white
historic transit photos from the Market Street Railway archives and
other sources.

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It literally takes a village — or, a city — to make our calendar. All the full-color images were generously donated to Market Street Railway by talented Bay Area photographers, via our thriving Flickr group. Their photos are magnificent, and we’re incredibly grateful for their contributions.

Want one? The Museums In Motion Calendar is a fantastic gift for adults or kids, and they’re available for sale either at MSR’s San Francisco Railway Museum or the MSR website.

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Autumn in San Francisco: Sunshine and Streetcars

Boat Car!

As Mark Twain once said “San Franciscans prefer to TiVo their summers.”

Actually, that’s completely untrue. Twain never said that. In fact, the thought never even crossed his mind. Then again, he didn’t say that bit about “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco,” either.  Nevertheless, both misattributions describe a set of circumstances are quite genuine: Autumn in San Francisco really does function as the city’s summer, as the cold fog of summer melts away amid gallons of warm fall sunshine.

That also makes it a great time of year for streetcar photography. Here are a few recent contributions to the Market Street Railway’s Flickr group:

D.C. Transit

MUNI August, 5, 2009 293 (28)

San Francisco August 2010 532

MUNI F-LINE CARS--1053, 1056, 1811 at Ferries Layover

Images, from top: Telstar Logistics, hoteldennis, hoteldennis, hoteldennis, and Peter Ehrich

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Visualize This: Modern Streetcar Service in Downtown Los Angeles

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As part of an effort to bring a streetcar line to Downtown Los Angeles, two LA filmmakers produced this tidy little video. It extols the economic and social benefits of streetcar service, and provides nifty computer-generated visualizations of what modern streetcars might look like operating in downtown LA.

As an added bonus, the introduction to the video includes some nice historic footage of LA’s streetcar fleet before it was abandoned in 1963:

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Here’s the complete video:

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Meet the Mayor of the F Line Streetcars

The streetcars of the F Line have many attracted fans, lots of dedicated Muni employees, and even a board of directors, but they never had a mayor — until now. Meet Owen Thomas, the new mayor of the F Market Streetcars on Foursquare, the location-based social networking site. Owen became the mayor after he used Foursquare to “check in” on the F Line  more times than anyone else. A San Francisco resident who lives on the northern side of Telegraph… — Read More

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Remembering The Loop, As It Was in 1930

Our friends over at Muni Diaries recently steered us toward this vintage film from 1930. It appears to be home movie, and the good stuff starts at around 0:23, when we get a superb view of The Loop — the once-famous streetcar turnaround at the foot of Market Street — as seen from the second floor of the Ferry Building. Check out all those Iron Monsters! Also worth noticing: The pedestrian bridge that used to connect the Ferry Building to… — Read More

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The LA Times Finds Streetcar Magic in San Francisco

Last weekend the LA Times ran a nice article in its Sunday travel section about the simple pleasures of the F Line, and how San Francisco’s vintage streetcar fleet adds such color to everyday life in the city. Author Caitlin Fitzsimmons writes: I always imagined a trainspotter as an English eccentric in an anorak, lurking about railways junctions and scribbling down train numbers in notebooks. I found this an inexplicable pastime until I discovered the joy of spotting different F… — Read More

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Lost Streetcars of San Francisco, Now Lost in Missouri

ex-Muni PCC streetcars in St. Charles, Missouri. Scott Tiek photo. The odd story of the Lost Streetcars of San Francisco has taken another very odd — and unfortunate — turn. Here’s how the odyssey begins: During the 1980s, after Muni began selling off some of its old PCC streetcars to make way for more modern Boeing LRVs, a gentleman in South Lake Tahoe purchased 18 of the cars with an eye toward someday establishing PCC service in the Lake Tahoe… — Read More

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Empirical Data Proves the Intangible Benefits of Vintage Streetcar Service

It’s a fact that streetcar service can help cities reduce traffic congestion and boost economic development. More difficult to quantify, however, are the intangible benefits that come from offering a beautiful and efficient way for people to get from Point A to Point B. So let’s consider this photo an empirical data point. Captured last week on Market Street near the Beale intersection, it shows two passengers enjoying the ride on PCC No. 1057, in service on the F Line,… — Read More

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Video: How to Replace a Streetcar Railbed (In 56 Hours)

Over the course of a few days last weekend, Muni replaced a large section of streetcar railbed around the intersection of 18th and Church streets near Dolores Park in San Francisco. The project is part of the J Church Improvement Project, but the vintage streetcars of the F Line will benefit as well, as they too traverse this stretch of rail while traveling to and from their base camp at the Geneva Yard. Happily, a few amateur infrastructuralists were on… — Read More

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