Cate Blanchett and Woody Allen Film on a Streetcar

The town’s been buzzing about the locations being used for Woody Allen’s new movie now being filmed. No one knows the title yet (if it even has one), but today we learned at least one scene is being filmed on a Muni PCC streetcar, No. 1060, to be precise.


Cate Blanchett in the doorway of F-line streetcar No. 1060 during filming of Woody Allen’s new movie in San Francisco, August 24, 2012. Photo copyright Rick Laubscher.

That’s Cate Blanchett in the doorway, waiting with the car on the Eleventh Street wye trackage, out of the way of revenue streetcars. We were told by the crew member that they would be shooting a scene as the streetcar rolled down Market Street. The last time a film crew drew so much interest on a rail vehicle on Market was 1906!
Of course, the F-line streetcars have been used in movies and TV commercials numerous times before. The publicity’s great, and those filming fees can’t hurt either.

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Big Red Cars — Beyond Disney

The anticipation is building for the unveiling of the upgraded Disney’s California Adventure theme park in Anaheim on June 15 (three months late). We talked about the replicas of the legendary Pacific Electric Big Red Cars that will run down the main drag of the park.
Now that it looks like the opening is actually happening, here’s the second part of that story we promised. If you’re headed to Southern California, whether visiting Disney or not, consider taking the time to a enjoy a more realistic “Big Red Car” experience in a couple of places.


Restored Pacific Electric car No. 1058 passes replica No. 501 on the Port of Los Angeles Waterfront Red Car Line. Rick Laubscher photo.

The Port of Los Angeles Waterfront Red Car Line is a 1.5 mile long route along a stretch of real Pacific Electric right-of-way. It opened in July 2003, linking various attractions with two beautifully made full sized replica cars based on the 500-class Pacific Electric cars of 1909. They’re joined by a real Pacific Electric car, No. 1058, built in 1907 and restored for charter and special service.
The San Pedro operation won’t be running on the day the Disney ride opens. It’s currently closed, reopening on June 29 on its regular schedule of Noon to 9:30 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. However, it’s jusssst a bit cheaper than admission to Disney parks. Only $1 for an all day pass.
To the east, in the Riverside County town of Perris, you’ll find numerous “Big Red Cars” at the Orange Empire Railway Museum. This video provides a nice taste:

Of course, you can also join us in paying tribute to Pacific Electric without leaving San Francisco, just by riding the F-line’s car No. 1061!

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Disney Makes Big Red Car Little

An upgrade of Disney’s California Adventure, its second (to Disneyland) theme park, has been under way for over a year now. The first incarnation didn’t capture the “pixie dust” or magic people associate with Disney parks. So they tweaked some things and added a huge new attraction in “Cars Land” after the animated film. It opens to the public March 15.

But to our eyes, the coolest addition are two Pacific Electric streetcars, installed on Buena Vista Street, itself remodeled to suggest Hollywood around 1923, when Walt Disney arrived in Southern California. They’ll run between the park entrance and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction.
Like many Disney attractions, the “Big Red Cars” are scaled down, but they look great in publicity materials so far. We’ve heard they were built under deep secrecy by Brookville Equipment Company, the same who restored Muni Car No. 1 and are renovating 16 Muni PCCs.


Pacific Electric "Hollywood" car, 1953. A.M. Payne photo. Click to enlarge.

Back in the Trolley Festival years of the 1980s, we set our sights on getting Muni a real Pacific Electric car of this type, known as a “Hollywood” for the route they often ran, but the real thing is just a big too long and wide to clear the Muni system. Of course, the classic “Daylight” P-E livery of orange and red is represented in the F-line fleet by Muni No. 1061, paying tribute to the unusual double-end, center door PCCs P-E ran on the Glendale-Burbank line.
Nice to see a tribute to the (sorta) Big Red Cars close to their original back yard.
UPDATE: We had a glitch with our comment feature and lost a few in the past week. Apologies. To answer one question raised about the Disney attraction, the power source for the cars is batteries. Interesting, though, that they still mounted trolley catchers on the end, with the rope tied off to a corner stanchion.
Check back next week for our post on a real Red Car back in transit service in Southern California.

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From Russia, With Ink

106 tattoo Muni Diaries.jpeg

Photo courtesy Muni Diaries; click to enlarge. And no, we don’t know the complete wording of the tattoo.

Well. Tough to know where to start on this one. We know lots of streetcar fans, including many who REALLY love a particular vehicle. Our friends at Muni Diaries shared a photo of a tattoo last year of Muni PCC No. 1010. But at least that streetcar serves the F-line daily, meaning hundreds of thousands of people have seen and/or ridden it, and have some basis for being smitten.
But today’s Muni Diaries feature, showing 1912 Moscow-Orel Russia tram No. 106, takes this to a new level, since the streetcar hasn’t appeared on the street at all since the San Francisco streetcar centennial parade of 1992, and only barely saw service in the final Trolley Festival in 1987. (It’s a long-term restoration project of ours…so long-term that we don’t have a web page for it yet…but we can tell you that it was a gift to Mayor Dianne Feinstein from the then-Soviet Union, and needs a ton of work, including disabled accessibility modifications and a full body and mechanical renovation before it could operate.)
Yet someone, identified only as Alex in the story, loves No. 106 enough to embellish his forearm with it. It’s possible he saw it at our restoration facility at Market and Duboce where it was kept for years. Recently, though, it and our highest-priority project, Market Street Railway Car No. 798 were moved under cover, so it’s not in public sight any more. That facility has experienced numerous break-ins in the past year, apparently by scavengers and/or homeless people who have slept on the property and vandalized those two streetcars, so we felt it prudent to get them out of harm’s way until the day funds can be raised to complete its restoration. Maybe we should sell tattoos…

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Trains in the Plane Place

Well, sort of. We get out to SFO a lot coming and going on business trips, and have had some nice surprises there over the years, like the great display of model trains they had in the International Terminal back in 2009. We also keep seeing plugs for the F-line popping up around the airport. Here’s a current one up in Terminal One, featuring PCC No. 1078, painted in tribute to San Diego (but with the actual words “San Diego”… — Read More

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Thank You, SPUR!

SPUR is one of the great urban planning non-profits in the world. Formally named San Francisco Planning and Urban Research, the organization is widely respected as a powerful and responsible advocate for making our city more livable as well as economically strong and esthetically beautiful. Market Street Railway President Rick Laubscher was one of four San Franciscans honored last week with Silver SPUR awards, given annually for helping make “San Francisco and the Bay Area a better place to live… — Read More

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Superhero Streetcars?

Okay, so we admit it — as wonky as our members and friends can get about streetcars, here’s something we hadn’t thought of before. Streetcars as superheroes. Or at least anthropomorphized with some swagga. Left to right, we’ve got 1912 Car No. 1, an orange Milan tram (love the designer look), Muni No. 162 in its 1950s “Wings,” the Blackpool “boat tram” (no hat, thank you), and Muni No. 130 in its 1940s blue and gold. They’re the work of… — Read More

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Toothpick Cable Car — and City

We admit it’s pretty peripheral to our historic transit preservation mission, but this video is worth a look for anyone who loves San Francisco. Scott Weaver certainly does. He’s the fellow who took 100,000 toothpicks and 35 years to create a kinetic sculpture of San Francisco. Complete with California Street cable car (admittedly a tiny part of the sculpture, but enough to give us an excuse to share this with you).

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Two Streetcars Get Dressed for the Holidays

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. Truth be told, it could have been a much less pleasant experience. Year in… — Read More

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Muni Promotes F-line at SFO

When you’re asked to promote part of your transit service to visitors arriving at SFO, what do you choose?  The “halfway to the stars” icons? How about the F-line streetcars? There are several banners up at SFO with photos of Milan tram No. 1893 or San Diego PCC No. 1078, with the theme “Milan [or San Diego] on the outside; San Francisco from the inside.” The tag line: “When you’re in San Francisco, Muni gets you everywhere you want to… — Read More

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60 Minutes and 104 years

This Sunday night, October 17 at 7 pm, CBS News 60 Minutes (Channel 5 locally) is scheduled to run a story on what they call a Market Street “mystery” that was recently solved.  All fans of San Francisco history and historic transit will want to watch this story, which centers on one of the first commercial films made in the U.S., a 12-minute trip down Market Street on board a cable car (yes!) early in the 20th century. Don’t think… — Read More

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Storage & Link: Tale of Two Photographers

Our 2011 calendar has just gone to the printer. We should have them in stock at our San Francisco Railway Museum around Labor Day. One of our best contributors over the years is Market Street Railway member Bill Storage, who takes fantastic night shots in particular. In Bill’s photo blog, “The Eye Game,” he describes what went into some of his distinctive historic transit shots, like this one of a California Street cable car. It’s well worth a read, even… — Read More

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Now Boarding, the F-Express

Over the years, we’ve gotten a lot of suggestions for additions to the F-line fleet.  But never one quite like this. The suggestion – true story – came to Muni from an email address they didn’t recognize, so they sent it on to us. It contained a link to an interesting page with more pictures and the history of the thing. Maybe the email is from President Mededvev, and this was supposed to be a gift to San Francisco. Do… — Read More

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Family and Member Days at the Museum Dec. 19-20

We’re rolling out the red-and-green welcome mat for members and friends at our San Francisco Railway Museum the weekend before Christmas.  There’s something appealing for all ages! Family Day Streetcar Charter, December 19,  1-4 p.m. On the Saturday before Christmas, we have a special welcome for families at the museum.  Treat your young trolley lover to a special chartered ride on one of the vintage streetcars our members decorated for the holidays. Todd Lappin photo. We’re scheduled to use car… — Read More

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Remembering the Cable Car Rebuild 25 Years Later

On vacation last month, we missed the 25th anniversary of the return of the cable cars to the Streets of San Francisco. But it’s still worth a look back at that memorable project, which we chronicled in the pages of our member newsletter, Inside Track, five years ago: When the reduced cable car system reopened in 1957, it was still old. During the lengthy shutdown of the California and Hyde Street trackage, Muni focused on consolidating operations with its Powell… — Read More

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