Car No. 1 Renovation Contract Awarded

Muni’s governing body, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors, has awarded a contract to Brookville Equipment Company of Pennsylvania to completely renovate Muni’s flagship streetcar No. 1. The contract is for $1.88 million including a possible $100,000 in spare parts.

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Car No. 1 has been out of service for almost three years with a wiring problem. Last restored in 1962 for Muni’s 50th anniversary, it was decided to undertake a complete overhaul rather than patch it up one more time. The goal is to have the venerable streetcar (pictured here on its very first trip on December 28, 1912 with Mayor “Sunny Jim” Rolph at the controls) ready to play a starring role in Muni’s 2012 centennial, which Market Street Railway is helping organize.

Brookville, which modernized PCC streetcars for Philadelphia’s SEPTA and has worked on Muni’s ex-Newark PCCs, was the only bidder on the contract. We know of at least two small streetcar restoration outfits that wanted to bid, but either couldn’t meet the city’s bonding requirements or didn’t want to deal with the myriad unrelated requirements imposed by the city in its contracts. After finalizing contract formalities, Muni expects to authorize Brookville to pick up the car within a few weeks. The contract calls for it to be returned to San Francisco within twelve months after pickup.

In other streetcar restoration news, Muni is currently evaluating proposals from two companies to rewire the 11 troubled ex-Newark PCCs (streetcar Nos. 1070-1080) and completely restore five ex-Muni PCCs, four double-end streetcars (1006, 1008, 1009, 1011) and single-end No. 1040, which is the very last of some 5,000 PCCs built in North America. That contract is expected to be awarded in June, with the first Newark PCC returning finished within 12 months, and the first ex-Muni PCC returning within 24 months.

Comments: 12

  1. GREAT NEWS about #1. Big price, however. Hope the contract comes in to repair the eleven ex-Newark cars. I have questions about those cars: Why wasn’t the problem with the doors opening, just troubleshoot and a temp fix put in to slove that problem? From what I have read, the Cleveland car (#1075) was the only car with that problem. So, put a temp fix in 1075, and test it out on the rails. If the doors don’t open, when they shouldn’t, you fixed the problem. Test all the ex-Newark cars, on the rails, if the doors don’t open, when they shouldn’t, that car may not have the problem. Get them out running on the rails as they should be. I see no reason why those cars are setting in the yard, getting rusty, for about two years now. I agree, they all should be re-wired, but they could be out running if that problem isn’t on that car. One other question: Why can’t testing be done at the same time operator training is going on? Put a mantenance crew on board, if a problem comes up, they can take care of it. You can do two things at the same time, testing and operator training!!

  2. Is this project funded through MUNI or through MSR or both or…?
    I’m guessing that they can do this because the source of the money is such that they can’t use it for daily operations , salaries etc. but a little more info would be good as the haters are already out in blog-ville harshing on this project, which is silly. We don’t tear down city hall because it’s old and we’re not plowing Independence Hall into the ground for a Chilis.

  3. Greg, it is in fact capital project (public) money that cannot be used for operating expenses. It has been in the pipeline for several years now and is treated as a maintenance expense like that of any other Muni vehicle. I told Rachel that this restoration is less than half the cost of a new Breda and just over half of what it would cost to buy a “modern” streetcar like Seattle or Portland uses. The early negative posts on SF Gate are now being balanced by defenders of the project who point out the obvious value of car 1 to the F-line and the city.

  4. It would be a great shame not to restore car #1. It has great historical value to the MUNI, and the city, and should be restored no matter what it costs!! I grew up, in the Marina, riding cars like that and I’d love to ride one again, like #130 or #162. I’ll be up there at the end of April 09 and hope to ride one. Great to hear, too, that the last of the “Big Tens” 1006, 08, 09 and 11 are also going to be restored. They can be used on the “E” line. Also happy to hear that 1040 will also be restored. About time!! It was the last, and the best, of the “Baby Tens.” Hope it will be put back in it’s, as delivered, MUNI Wings paint job. That is the way I remember it!!

  5. Car repairs finally scheduled–good news! Dec. 28, 2012 is creeping up on us! Although I’m a native Southern Californian, I made it to MuniLand for the Cable Car Centennial in Aug 1973, F-line openings in 1995 and 2000, and the Quake Remembrance in Apr. 2006. I envision a streetcar parade with Muni 1 leading and 1040 bringing up the rear.

  6. Dennis, I haven’t seen 162 running on the Embarcadero lately, good luck. And it’s usually only one shuttle car per day, well at least that’s what I see during the weekends.

  7. #1 should play a staring role in the centenial. #1 should be followed by 130, 162, and maybe even C1. It seems all four of these were part of the team that built Muni.

  8. How about the MSR I believe # 978 when will we see this acr in action on the F or E line and the two Pittsburgh cars we got some time ago when will we see them in action.

  9. Car No. 798 (not 978), a 1924 Market Street Railway car that is the last surviving one of 250 home-built here in San Francisco, is our group’s top restoration priority now. We are working with Muni to identify ways to complete its restoration in time for Muni’s 2012 Centennial.
    The Pittsburgh cars were purchased for about $5,000 each by Muni, but once here, the engineering staff decided they were non-standard in many ways (starting with the truck gauge, of course, but that’s fixable). With the pending restoration of Muni’s own remaining double-end PCCs, car 1040, and the completion of the 11 ex-Newark cars, it’s not likely the Pittsburgh cars would be restored any time soon.

  10. From what I have been reading, the major step preventing MSR #798 from being put back in service is a lack of trucks for the car. I recall, however, that the Western Railway Museum still has the trucks from sister car #974, which was unfortunately lost to vandals before it could be relocated the museum site. ( http://donsdepot.donrossgroup.net/dr379.htm, http://www.cable-car-guy.com/html/ccmrsg.html ) Can the trucks from #974 be used on #798? It would seem appropriate, using parts from a car that didn’t make it to help restore a car that survives, especially sister cars from the same company.

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