“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.

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2019 Museums in Motion Calendar is Here!

This may be our best calendar yet. Great images from great photographers who willingly share their talent to celebrate San Francisco’s historic streetcars and cable cars, and, importantly to us, help us raise funds to advocate for these “Museums in Motion” and help keep them looking great.

Thanks to this year’s photographers: Traci Cox, Adolfo Echeverry, Peter Ehrlich, Matt Lee, Kevin Mueller, Bernard Spragg, Jeremy Whiteman, and Wayne Worden.

Bonus: a photo history of the L-Taraval, celebrating its centennial in 2019.

It’s now available for $12.95 at our San Francisco Railway Museum, and in our Online Store.  And those of you ordering online, we’ve managed to significantly reduce the shipping cost this year. Don’t wait; these will sell out.

Oh, and you prospective photographers for future calendars, we’re accepting submittals for our 2020 calendar already on our Flickr Group.  Follow the instructions there in the first message on the page; photos we don’t end up using in 2020 will automatically be considered for inclusion in future calendars as long as they meet the technical requirements.

 

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Sacramento Street on Powell!

Few people realize that most of the cable cars that run on the two Powell Street lines originally ran on Sacramento and Clay Streets. Before the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, the Sacramento-Clay line ran all the way from the Ferry Building to Golden Gate Park (at Sixth Avenue and Fulton). It shared ownership with the Powell lines. A number of new cable cars were locally built in 1893-94 by Carter Brothers to serve the Midwinter Fair in the Park. One of them was Car 511.

At 5:12 a.m. on April 18, 1906, the 511 was one of a couple of dozen Sacramento-Clay cable cars resting in a car barn on outer Sacramento Street. These cable cars were spared the flames that engulfed the original Powell Street fleet of identical cars at Washington and Mason Streets. Rebuilding the system in the aftermath, the Sacramento-Clay cable cars became Powell Street cable cars, replaced on a portion of that line by double-end cable cars rebuilt from cable cars salvaged from Market Street service. (Electric streetcars took over Market Street and the flatter, outer portions of the Sacramento-Clay line.)

Car 511 (renumbered to 11 in the 1970s) soldiered on for the rest of the 20th century and into the 21st in different liveries (paint schemes), but when it came time last year to freshen up the 11, Cable Car Superintendent Ed Cobean asked Market Street Railway what would be an appropriate livery for this car in its 125th year of service. We suggested its original Sacramento-Clay livery of Tuscan Red with tan and white trim, with the rocker panel on the side emblazoned with the name of its original owner (which happens to be an early company that bears our non-profit’s name). Ed graciously agreed, and the cable car body shop and painters did a beautiful job on the car, which went back into service today, with Val Lupiz gripping.

Jeremy Whiteman captured this fabulous photo at the Hyde and Beach turntable.  He has contributed many great photos to our organization, especially its annual calendar (we expect the 2019 calendar in our museum and online in June).

The 1890s Sacramento-Clay livery on Car 11 brings to ten the number of Powell cable cars that now wear heritage liveries seen on these cable cars over the past 130 years, since the Powell lines first went into service in 1888. Our nonprofit is proud to have taken a leading role in bringing these liveries back to life, adding authentic color to the iconic cable cars. In coming months, we’ll be talking more about advocating for further improvements to the irreplaceable cable car system.

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The Eyes Behind Our 2018 Calendar

Our 2018 Museums in Motion Calendar is one of the best we’ve ever offered in terms of the quality of photography. If you haven’t bought yours yet, you can get it at our online store or at our San Francisco Railway Museum.

We’re grateful to the fine photographers who contribute their work to the calendar every year. We’d like to share some more information about them.

Traci Cox

“Traci is an SFMTA operator who has been a rail fan for as long as he can remember. When he’s not operating on the F-line, he’s often out with his camera, catching great streetcar and cable car shots.” Here’s Traci’s site.

Jeremy Menzies

“Jeremy is a photographer and archivist for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), Muni’s parent. Jeremy has done fabulous work in organizing and scanning SFMTA’s collection of priceless historic photographs of San Francisco, including collections inherited from past competitors United Railroads and the Market Street Railway Company (our namesake).” Visit the great SFMTA photo archival site Jeremy manages.

Father Kevin Mueller

“Kevin is from Baltimore, Maryland and has been an operator at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum for 38 years. He visits San Francisco every summer to ride and photograph MUNI. The 2018 MSRy calendar is the fourth to use some of his photos. He owns a 1947 Baltimore Transit Co. bus which has been used in two movies.” Kevin’s site.

Joel Salomon

“Joel Salomon has been a trolley fan his entire life and has visited San Francisco several times over the years since he was a child with his parents. It has been over 60 years that  Hyde St. car operated regularly over the Hyde St. cable car line. Joel submitted the photo of car 42 cresting Hyde St. taken last year during the Heritage Weekend. Living in Allentown, PA, Joel is a long time volunteer at the Rockhill Trolley Museum in south central Pennsylvania.”  Some of Joel’s photos.

Jeremy Whiteman

“Jeremy Whiteman, a Bay Area local, has been a contributor to the Market Street Railway calendar for many years and is a past member of our Board of Directors. He is active with the Western Railway Museum in Solano County  He is regularly out and about in San Francisco with his camera and often grabs great shots.” See Jeremy’s work.

Wayne Worden

“Wayne is a street photographer living in Vancouver, B.C. He visits San Francisco two or three times a year making it a point to spend some time capturing the MSR. His images have been selected for the calendar in the previous two years.” Wayne’s website.

Just FYI, we’re already at work on our 2019 calendar. If you’d like to see some of the photos that were submitted by these and other great photographers, visit our public Flickr site and search under 2019msrcalendar. You can also upload your photos there anytime.

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2018 Calendar Now On Sale

It may be our best calendar yet. Thirteen powerful images of Muni’s historic cable cars and streetcars in action on the streets of San Francisco, taken by some great photographers. On top of that, there’s a special page telling the story of the Twin Peaks Tunnel as we celebrate its centennial year. And 12 smaller archival photos, one on each month’s date page, chronicling the building and operation of what was for decades the longest streetcar tunnel in America. Our… — Read More

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New Boat at E-line Ceremony July 31

Muni’s new “boat tram,” Blackpool, England open-top Car No. 233, will officially debut on July 31 at the opening press event for the new E-Embarcadero line. The new boat tram, Muni’s second example of this popular 1934 design, was acquired for Muni by Market Street Railway in 2013, thanks to a very generous donation by the Thoresen Foundation, and ocean shipping subsidized by FedEx Trade Networks.  The boat, pictured above when on display during 2013’s Muni Heritage Weekend, has been… — Read More

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