Colors, Forms of the F-line

San Francisco’s vintage streetcars, particularly the streamlined PCCs that provide most of the service on the E and F lines, keep attracting the eye of artists. We particularly like George Clapper, who we learned about the other day when we got a “pingback” request from another website, informing us that they had linked to our site.

When we clicked on the link, our eyes were dazzled by a panoply of colors and shapes, photos by Mr. Clapper that show close-up details of the streetcars.  We just had to share it. So take a look!

For the fans, that’s the headlight of Car 1070, painted in the livery that it wore for decades in Newark, New Jersey, earlier in its life. See how many other cars you can identify from the slivers of their bodies on the site.

Tributes like Mr. Clapper’s are a reminder that our streetcars are more than just transit. They have become an iconic part of our city that catch some very sharp eyes!

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Visit Us at San Francisco History Days March 3-4

Visit the Old Mint on Fifth Street March 3-4 and join dozens of organizations, including Market Street Railway and SFMTA, celebrating and telling the stories of our City’s unique past.

Meet community historians, archivists, genealogists, archaeologists, researchers, educators, re-enactors, and other history enthusiasts at this free event.

Lots of details here. You can take the F-line to the Fifth Street stop, or BART or Muni Metro to Powell Street station. Great for kids too.

 

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Say ‘G’day’ to Melbourne on the E-line this weekend

UPDATE: Melbourne 496 is now scheduled regularly on the E-line on Saturdays and Sundays, until further notice.

An old friend will be carrying all comers on the E-line from Caltrain to Fisherman’s Wharf this weekend. Melbourne tram 496, built in 1928, is back in revenue service for the first time since last September’s Muni Heritage Weekend.

The Melbourne tram is scheduled to fill regular E-line run 201 both Saturday and Sunday, February 3-4. Its GPS is said to be operational so its exact location should show up on our E-line NextMuni map. It is scheduled to pass the Ferry Building on its first Wharf-bound trip at 8:54 a.m. both days.

Quite coincidentally, the Melbourne tram is back in revenue service exactly two weeks before its 90th birthday. (It was put into service on February 18, 1928, according to this authoritative Australian website.

Another coincidence: its reappearance comes 100 years to the day after streetcars first ran through the Twin Peaks Tunnel.

The E-line has had severe equipment shortages of late. Because the southern terminal is stub-ended and not a loop or wye, only double-ended equipment can serve it. Muni has seven double-end PCCs but one of these, Car 1015, has left San Francisco for its scheduled rebuilding at Brookville Equipment Company after 22 years of hard service. Two other double-end PCCs restored back in the 1990s with 1015, Cars 1007 and 1010, are out of service at the moment as is another double-ended PCC receiving a radio upgrade.

Market Street Railway has been urging Muni leadership since before the E-line even opened to be prepared to run operational double-end vintage streetcars, such as Melbourne 496 and Muni’s own Car 1, to ensure E-line service is kept at promised levels. We are pleased to see Car 496 on the streets again to help provide better E-line service.

Meanwhile, a “younger” Melbourne tram, the 916, built in 1946, is at the heavy overhaul shop at Green Division getting its rebuilt trucks refitted. We hope that car, which like 496 is highly reliable, will be available for E-line duty soon.

We will have a more complete story on E-line developments in the next edition of our member magazine, Inside Track. If you’re not a Market Street Railway, you can get it by joining here.

 

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Rebuilt PCC 1050 Heads to SF, Honoring St. Louis

 

Our “spies” are everywhere, as evidenced by this photo posted by Jim Kulczyk in a Facebook group called “Civil Defense Fire Vehicles.” He writes: “My sister is a truck driver somewhere in [Southwest Pennsylvania] and caught this electric trolley being transported on a flat bed. Couldn’t help but notice the CD insignia. Looks to be in great museum condition.”

Well, yes, but more than that it should be in great OPERATING condition because it has just finished being thoroughly rebuilt at Brookville Equipment Company, the eighth of 16 vehicles in Muni’s current contract with Brookville. Car 1050 returns to San Francisco wearing the livery of one of the largest PCC operators ever, St. Louis Public Service Company (SLPS). We are delighted to see a PCC car in SLPS livery. Muni bought 70 PCCs second-hand from SLPS between 1957 and 1962, and one of those cars ran here in St. Louis livery during the Trolley Festivals of the 1980s.

Muni retains that car (renumbered to its original SLPS 1704) as one of about a dozen non-operational cars of this class, which have now been in dead storage for 30 or more years. None is currently slated for rebuilding, though some may be put back into service sometime in the future if demand warrants. But since no one knows when that might be, Market Street Railway encouraged Muni to repaint the 1050 into St. Louis colors as an overdue honor to that great system.

About that Civil Defense decal near the front door that caught Mr. Kulczyk’s attention: Market Street Railway suggested that be included, based on historic photographs that showed it to be common on SLPS cars during the era when that CD sign was common. (Muni streetcars had them on their windshields for a time as well, though it was unclear exactly where the streetcars could take you that represented an improvement over anyplace else on the streetcar system in case of a dire emergency. We like to see details gotten right where we can do so, though, so there it is.

This is a spot of good news in the wake of the collision on New Year’s Day evening that seriously damaged the most recent PCC in this contract to return to regular service, Car 1063, honoring Baltimore. We will provide updates on that event, and on 1050’s arrival in San Francisco, as we learn of them. When 1050 arrives in San Francisco, it is expected that the first of three-double end PCCs covered by the contract, Car 1015, will depart for Brookville and its complete rebuilding.

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Happy 2018 and Thanks!

We at Market Street Railway wish everyone a happy and healthy 2018. We want to take the opportunity to thank all our members and donors, including the many who joined, renewed, or contributed in the past week. We ourselves were deluged with repeated solicitations from all kinds of worthy organizations in the past month, the same or similar appeals coming over and over both in email and snail mail. We elected instead to send out just one email request to… — Read More

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Happy 105th Birthday, Muni!

On December 28, 1912, 50,000 people flooded Geary Street near Market. They were there to cheer a streetcar! More exactly, ten streetcars, lined up in numerical order pointed west, led by Car 1. It was the opening of the first publicly owned transit system in a major American city: the Municipal Railway of San Francisco. The new city-owned streetcar line on Geary was a product of the Progressive Era, which called for ownership of public utilities by the public, not… — Read More

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Positively (Twenty-)Fourth Street

Okay, the headline reference is anachronistic, because this shot goes WAY back beyond Dylan. So evocative, though, we couldn’t resist the reference. Few are still around who remember streetcars on 24th Street, now the cultural center of the City’s Latino community and known to many as Calle 24. But here we are in 1938 (based on the streetcar and the automobile license plate) looking east on 24th at York Street, staring at a 35-Howard line streetcar. It has just descended… — Read More

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121 Years in One Day

Muni Supervisor Robert Parks, who trains operators on every type of streetcar and light rail vehicle in the city, may have set a record today. In the morning (above), he trained operators on Muni’s newest model of LRV, Siemens car 2001, delivered earlier this year. (The first Siemens cars are due to start carrying paying passengers next month.) Above. 2001at the N-Judah Ocean Beach terminal. Then, he got a call — could he do a shop move, transferring 1896 single-truck… — Read More

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Vintage Buses on the 7-Haight Friday, September 8

As part of its celebration of 100 years of buses at Muni, vintage motor coaches will make a rare passenger-carrying appearance on the 7-Haight line between the Ferry and Golden Gate Park, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday September 8. Here’s the schedule: At 10 a.m., 1970 General Motors coach 3287 (above) will leave the Ferry Terminal on Steuart Street to Stanyan Street via Market and Haight, and return. It will be followed by 1975 AM General coach 4154 departing the… — Read More

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Muni Bus Centennial Celebrated at Heritage Weekend

Muni operated its first bus on September 1, 1917. Their ace archivist and photographer, Jeremy Menzies, put together a great post with lots of photos that’s definitely worth a look. We got a bit of a head start on the Muni bus centennial with an exhibit we opened in March at our San Francisco Railway Museum, telling the story of how buses came to replace streetcars as the city’s dominant transit vehicle. It’s still up, and it’s one more reason… — Read More

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No Cable Cars, F-line Streetcars Saturday, Aug. 26

UPDATE, Saturday, August 26, 9:30 a.m. — Even though the “white nationalist” gathering at Crissy Field was cancelled and the city subsequently barred them from moving it to Alamo Square, buses are still running on the F, instead of streetcars. Streetcars are running on the E-line this morning. Because of the planned protests and counter-protests around San Francisco this coming Saturday, August 26, Muni has decided to replace all three cable car lines and the F-Market & Wharves streetcar line… — Read More

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Visible Pride for Harvey Milk

Since his passion and determination grabbed the attention of San Franciscans in the 1970s, Harvey Milk has been a household name here. His terrible assassination in 1978 brought global attention to his human rights advocacy, specifically for LGBTQ people. The movie “Milk” in 2008 brought his story to millions more around the globe. In 2009, Market Street Railway urged the SFMTA to dedicate a PCC streetcar used in the movie, No. 1051, to Harvey. It wears the simple green and… — Read More

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Private Cruise on the Boat Tram, Just for You, June 4

UPDATE: This event is SOLD OUT. If you’d like to be the first to know when our next trolley tour will happen, ask to be added to our excursion notification list by emailing us at info@streetcar.org. Sunday, June 4, one of the famous 1934 Blackpool “boat trams” will cruise again on the tracks of the F-line, with a guided tour of everything historic along the route from our friends at City Guides and our own Paul Lucas. It’s a private charter, and… — Read More

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Help Preserve Mona Caron’s Market Street Railway Mural

      UPDATE:  As of May 5, Mona had raised more than $16,000,138% of her goal.  THANK YOU to all who donated. Fifteen years ago, the artist Mona Caron painted a wonderful mural on a wall on Church Street at Fifteenth Street. Now, according to Hoodline, the mural is deteriorating and Mona is seeking funding to conserve and restore it. If you’d like to help, here’s the link. It’s a wonderful work of art and historic interpretation. Our organization, Market Street… — Read More

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“Boston” is Back!

  PCC 1059, honoring Boston Elevated Railway, is back in San Francisco, photographed by MSR Member Traci Cox at Muni Metro East in the wee hours of Monday, April 24. Like many of the 17 first-generation F-line streetcars (numbered from 1050-1063, plus 1007, 1010, and 1015), the colors on the tribute livery adorning 1059 were a little off. At that time, Muni only allowed a relative handful of colors in the palette for the PCC tribute paint schemes, but now, there… — Read More

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