On August 11, 1917, Mayor James “Sunny Jim” Rolph presided over the opening of Muni’s J-Church line. This line brought Muni service the Noe Valley and Dolores Heights areas, in competition with United Railroads’ privately owned streetcar lines on Guerrero Street and on 24th Street.
Over the past century, most types of Muni cars ran the J-line regularly, especially the B-types (including preserved Cars 130 and 162. PCCs began exclusively serving the J-line in 1958, followed by Boeing LRVs in the early 1980s, then the current Breda LRVs, and in the next few years the new Siemens LRVs. Also fan trips love this line and charters can frequently be seen today.
The J line had its own four track section from Market St to 16th St. until after World War II, after an agreement could not be reached with United Railroads to share the 22-Fillmore line’s tracks on that part of Church. In 1946 the J was detoured over the old MSR 9 line, Valencia, Mission, 29th St to Noe, due to construction on Church Street.
To celebrate the J-line’s centennial, Muni’s first streetcar, Car 1, and the last PCC ever built in North America, Car 1040 (which served the J-line for 30 years) will offer rides at regular fares from our San Francisco Railway Museum to the J’s original terminal at 30th and Church Streets on Muni Heritage Weekend, September 9-10, starting at 10 a.m. and continuing until 4 p.m.
If you’re a Market Street Railway Member, you should have received the latest issue of our newsletter, Inside Track, with an array of great historic photos of the J-line’s first century. (If you’re not a member, you can join, and we’ll send it to you right away.) Also, Bob Strachan, an MSR volunteer archivist, has shared a great bunch of J-line photos on our Facebook Group. (Search on Market Street Railway, and chose the GROUP, rather than the page.)
Happy 100th Birthday, J-line!