“The bell is charming; the horn works”

 

The headline above is a great quote from a great story in Curbed SF about a dad and his two kids riding every Muni line terminal to terminal this summer. This installment includes the F-line where they rode the newest PCC to return to service following rebuilding, Car 1050 (pictured above in yet another calendar-worthy photo from Traci Cox). The author, Mc Allen, describes rolling along The Embarcadero on the “retro delight” PCC, “exceptionally maintained as rolling museums”.

Along the way, since it’s a mostly tourist-laced area, the operator chimed the train’s bell several times to alert pedestrians wading into intersections. She also honked the rarely used yet very loud train horn, including a 40 second series of blasts at a clueless Uber driver trying to enter a “streetcars only” trackway along Pier 39.

After we made it to the end of the line, I asked the operator how she decides between the bell and the horn. She replied with the quote of the day: The bell is charming; the horn works.”

Fans know that in San Francisco and most other PCC cities, the streetcars only had a bell (actually called a gong) for warning pedestrians. Under modern safety regulations, the streetcars now also have a VERY loud horn.

The whole story is a nice shout-out to Muni and a must-read for any transit fan.

Share
No Comments on “The bell is charming; the horn works”
Share

Celebrating Dashiell Hammett’s 120th Birthday

Sam Spade IT cover

Dashiell Hammett was born May 27, 1894. He essentially created the modern detective novel. His most famous fictional character was Sam Spade. To celebrate Hammett’s 120th birthday, and the enduring greatness of the Spade character, we’re providing a link to a Feature article that appeared nine years ago in our member newsletter, Inside Track.

It tells the story of how Hammett wove his own rail riding experiences in San Francisco (both streetcars and cable cars) in to his novels. Check it out, and remember, most of the members-only content in our newsletter never makes it to the web. So if you love our historic streetcars and cable cars, or San Francisco history in general, please consider joining Market Street Railway.

Share
No Comments on Celebrating Dashiell Hammett’s 120th Birthday
Share

Tipple Your Way Along the F-line


1061 and Twin Peaks bar sign 17thCastro Elrond Lawrence photo.jpg
The Twin Peaks bar is right at the F-line Castro terminal. Photo (c) Elrond Lawrence.

We’re not in the business of promoting booze, but San Francisco is, after all, a great drinking town, and if you’re going to do that, you need a designated driver.
How about letting an F-line operator fill that role, by patronizing establishments along the route? Our friends at Thrillist have put together a list of bars and restaurants all along the F-line with dandy libations waiting for you along the way.
Take a look here for the entire list. From the Twin Peaks at Castro and Market to Pier 23 (and beyond), it’s a great ride!
Oh, and if you’re looking for a different kind of guide to the F-line, without the bars but with just about everything else concerning the historic streetcars (and cable cars too), drop by our San Francisco Railway Museum or click here to buy our new book ON TRACK.

Share
No Comments on Tipple Your Way Along the F-line
Share

Walgreen’s Invents New Transit Vehicle

Underneath the very intersection of historic transit in San Francisco, in the basement of the old Emporium (now a food court named — wait for it — the Food Emporium), is a shiny new Walgreen’s. Kind of a mini-Walgreen’s, actually. There are a couple of bigger ones within a block or two (are drug stores multiplying like Starbucks?)

Anyway, just so you don’t think you’re dealing with some kind of national chain or anything, they’ve got a sign saying they’ve been in San Francisco since 1937. And to PROVE it, they’ve got a drawing of a cable car. With a trolley pole on top. Wait. No, it’s a streetcar. Running on a cable car track. (Dear railfans, no lectures on Washington DC or Manhattan streetcar conduit systems, please. And no, we don’t think they intended to show the old Fillmore Hill counterbalance.)
Wait, maybe it’s a hybrid.
Or maybe it’s just a mistake.
Dear Walgreen’s-in-San Francisco-since-1937. Learn the difference between how streetcars and cable cars look and work. And oh, by the way, we’ve got a great field guide for you to carry in your Market Street stores. (Smile.)

Share
No Comments on Walgreen’s Invents New Transit Vehicle
Share

New Field Guide to SF’s Historic Streetcars & Cable Cars

Market Street Railway is proud to announce the release of our new field guide to San Francisco’s historic streetcars and cable cars: ON TRACK. Written by Market Street Railway President Rick Laubscher, this 128-page guide tells you the story of each vintage rail vehicle in Muni’s fleet, gives you riding tips, lists the historic sites you’ll pass on each route, and shares insider secrets for great walks that link to your historic ride. It’s full color and there are great… — Read More

No Comments on New Field Guide to SF’s Historic Streetcars & Cable Cars
Share

On the Good Ship Lollipop

Today, we bid a fond farewell to Shirley Temple Black, actress and diplomat, who passed away last night at her Peninsula home. She was 85. Shirley Temple is generally considered the most famous child star ever. In dozens of films during the 1930s, she lifted moviegoers’ spirits and touched their hearts with her upbeat persona and infectious dimpled smile. Some of her songs, such as “Good Ship Lollipop,” were hummed or whistled by people everywhere. In the depths of the… — Read More

No Comments on On the Good Ship Lollipop
Share

Our E-line Vision Gaining Attention

In the wake of several successful weekends of vintage streetcar service the length of The Embarcadero on the E-line, the Curbed website posted a story on our vision for an extended E-line service today. That, in turn, spawned a post on SFist. Curbed drew on the document we’ve been distributing around town, which you can download here. Recently restored E-line PCC streetcar No. 1008 switches off the F-line tracks onto the connector track that will take it the rest of… — Read More

No Comments on Our E-line Vision Gaining Attention
Share

On the Line: Hard Water

We start a new feature today: fun places you can reach on Muni’s historic streetcar or cable car lines. Our first entry is Hard Water, the hot new whisky bar cum southern cooking temple that’s the brainchild of Charles Phan, proprietor of the famous Slanted Door. The whisky wall at Hard Water. Although Hard Water is just one F-line stop away from the Ferry Building’s Slanted Door, it’s a world away from Phan’s celebrated take on Vietnamese cuisine. The location… — Read More

No Comments on On the Line: Hard Water
Share

Learn How the F-line Started, At Our Museum

Thirty years ago this week, the first San Francisco Historic Trolley Festival kicked off, with then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein personally piloting historic Muni Car No. 1 from 17th Street and Market to East Bay Terminal. The festival was so successful, the mayor asked that it be repeated…and the F-line rapidly progressed from a dream to full-time reality. We recount that seminal event in a new exhibit at our San Francisco Railway Museum. And now there’s more opportunity to see it, because… — Read More

No Comments on Learn How the F-line Started, At Our Museum
Share

Mid-Market Comeback

PCC No. 1060 enlivens the scene at Seventh and Market Streets. (c) Melissa Wuschnig. In his Chronicle column today, former Mayor Willie Brown said of the mid-Market area, “After decades of nothing but talk, that area is really taking off.” Decades is right. I grew up on Market Street. My family had delicatessens between Fifth and Sixth and between Fourth and Third in the 1950s (and one at Fifth and Jessie as well). As a kid, I watched the stretch… — Read More

No Comments on Mid-Market Comeback
Share

Sunday Street(car)s!

San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) mounted the latest Sunday Streets celebration March 10, 2013, along The Embarcadero. We thought what better way to see it than from Muni’s 1934 boat tram from Blackpool, England. Come along for the ride in this video we put together!

No Comments on Sunday Street(car)s!
Share

Visit Us This Weekend at the SF History Expo

Market Street Railway and the San Francisco Railway Museum invite you to visit us at the third annual San Francisco History Expo. This great event takes place Saturday, March 2 from 10-5 and Sunday, March 5, from 10-4, at the historic Old U.S. Mint at Fifth and Mission Streets, worth a visit by itself. Our display of San Francisco transit artifacts at the first History Expo in 2011. This amazing event, sponsored by the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society,… — Read More

No Comments on Visit Us This Weekend at the SF History Expo
Share

A Trip to the Boneyard!

1954 Hamburg, Germany tram No. 3557 (right) and two ex-Muni PCC streetcars are among the historic vehicles awaiting restoration at Muni’s "boneyard," as the streetcar storage facility is informally known. Todd Lappin photo. Recently, a group of Market Street Railway board members joined a tour of Muni’s storage facility for streetcars awaiting restoration. This facility, near Islais Creek, exists in part because of our active advocacy, begun three decades ago, to preserve retired streetcars to meet possible future service needs.… — Read More

No Comments on A Trip to the Boneyard!
Share

Great Muni Photographers Open Show

UPDATE: The Chronicle’s Sam Whiting has an excellent profile of Kevin Sheridan, whose work is featured in “The F-line Inside Out” show, also showing at the Harvey Milk Photo Center. The article includes great photos from the show. With both shows now running there, it’s well worth a visit. In Transit: San Francisco’s daily commute in words and pictures Exhibition Dates: November 30, 2012-January 5, 2013 Opening Reception: Friday, Nov. 30, 6:30-9 p.m. Click to enlarge. More great Muni photos… — Read More

No Comments on Great Muni Photographers Open Show
Share

Singing Operators’ Praises

The often unsung heroes (and heroines) of the F-line are the operators. We saw that again last Sunday during the special service Muni put on that day (and this coming Sunday as well) as part of its centennial celebration. Case in point: Ronna Brown. An 18-year Muni veteran, Ronna has worked the F-line for several years, though currently she’s a yard starter at Green Division, getting LRVs ready for their runs. She was out last Sunday (and will be again… — Read More

7 Comments on Singing Operators’ Praises
Share