Happy Heritage Day

The wait was worth it. Thirty months of pandemic, service shutdowns, and struggles to get F-line and cable car service going again. After all that, it was time for a celebration. Thousands of San Franciscans and visitors agreed, coming out on June 4 to ride or watch vintage streetcars, unique cable cars, and Muni buses spanning 60 years of service.

Happy Heritage Day
It’s the Fabulous Fifties revived with three original Muni vehicles in the famed green and cream “Wings” livery. Left to right, 1950 Marmon-Herrington Trolley Coach 776, 1952 PCC 1040, and 1956 Mack Motor Coach 2230. Rick Laubscher photo

Here’s the first-hand experience of a first-time visitor, Bruce Sundack, who flew up from San Diego at the crack of dawn and grabbed BART at SFO, hoping to start his vintage riding early.

Emerging from the Balboa Park Bart station, I noticed [PCC] 1063 [on its first day back in service after more than four years] about to make its pullout run downtown. Hustling down to San Jose and Ocean, I was welcomed aboard by the car’s operator, Francisco. We became friends instantly as we shared stories (while stopped for traffic signals and following LRV’s) of how we both began our rail careers, he at Muni and I at Amtrak. At the Embarcadero, Francisco introduced me to Melvin, motorman operating the Melbourne tram and his conductor, Dave, who did some amazing work to repair the 1063’s damaged dash to its present splendor, and several other gentlemen in one of the pictures I am attaching. Thank you and the great folks at Muni for a joyous, unforgettable experience!

Happy Heritage Day
Francisco and a new fan on Car 1063 during a layover. Bruce Sundack photo

People from all over the Bay Area and beyond enjoyed the day. Here’s a selection of photos. We have more in our exclusive member magazine, Inside Track, going to print this week. Join us and get it!

Happy Heritage Day
Newly repaired PCC 1063 in front of the historic (1889) Audiffred Building at Mission and The Embarcadero. Adolfo Echeverry photo
Happy Heritage Day
Blackpool Boat Tram 228 pulls away from Pier 39 after letting off passengers. The Boat was full every time it left our Museum. Adolfo Echeverry photo.
Happy Heritage Day
Muni’s two oldest streetcars at Pier 39. Car 1 (left) was the first streetcar Muni owned (1912), but Car 578 (1896) was inherited by Muni in 1944 as a ramshackle work car when it bought out Market Street Railway, our namesake. Muni restored it. Adolfo Echeverry photo
Happy Heritage Day
1956 Mack Motor Coach 2230, fabulously restored by the Woods Division maintenance team, turns onto The Embarcadero beneath Coit Tower. Bruce Sundack photo
Happy Heritage Day
Muni’s newest and oldest cable cars cross at Powell and California. Powell 8 (left) just went into service after a complete rebuilding; “Big 19” (right) was originally built in 1883 for Market Street, then went to Sacramento & Clay Streets from 1907-1942. Matt Lee photo
Happy Heritage Day
1975 Flyer Trolley Coach 5300, signed for the disappeared 20-Columbus line, rides the cable car tracks on Columbus near Mason Street. Matt Lee photo
Happy Heritage Day
O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde Cable Car 42 is far from its original route, turning onto Mason from Columbus, with Flyer 5300 a respectful distance behind. Keegan Hartman photo
Happy Heritage Day
Muni added an impromptu second day on Sunday, June 5, bringing back (left-right) Brussels-Zurich PCC 737 (1952), Melbourne Tram 496 (1928) and Milan Tram 1815 (1928). The Boat would have been back, but it rained in the morning. Traci Cox photo

Beyond the wonderful “Museums in Motion” — 15 vintage streetcars, cable cars, and buses operated — attendees enjoyed the plaza across from our San Francisco Railway Museum with Muni’s motorized cable car set up so that kids could ring its bell (and did they, all day!) along with a 1950s rescue squad fire truck from the SF Fire Department for the kids to climb all over. There were booths from various transportation and history groups, a Peerless motor coach brought by the Pacific Bus Museum on display, and a big sale of books and ephemera by our Museum, which had one of its busiest and most successful days in its 15-year history.

Special thanks to Leslie Biedenfeld and Pamela Johnson of SFMTA who worked so hard to organize the resumption of Muni Heritage, powering through some unexpected surprises and getting to the finish line. Also, Inspector Traci Cox, who wrangled streetcars all day to carry the maximum number of passengers. And Deputy Chief Mechanical Officer Louis Guzzo, who led the beautiful repair of Car 1063 and whose maintenance team had all the buses and streetcars looking and running well. Of course, thanks also go to Jeff Tumlin and Julie Kirschbaum, Muni’s top leaders, to Alison Cant, who once again went above and beyond to make the events in the plaza and the museum a big success, and to all our volunteers. We’re already talking about a full two-day event next year, with additional elements, Stay tuned.

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Comments: 2

  1. Sorry I could not make it this year. I was planning on it but could not make it work. I’ll be there next year! I was there in 2019 and had a great time. I discovered Market Street Railway in 2014 when I discovered the museum while waiting for a ferry to Oakland. I was there visiting by brother and had spent the day in San Francisco. I went back to the museum the next day and joined Market Street Railway and have been a member ever since. I always stop by to visit whenever I am in the Bay area. I don’t get there as often now since my brother has moved. At the 2019 event I met Alison and Rick and enjoyed talking with them. I have really enjoyed my membership in MSR. Thanks Alison and Rick! See you later Jeff

  2. So reading above, and looking at the Roster of Cable Cars, it says #19 was scrapped, so how could it be the oldest? Also on the roster, #49 says it was scrapped, yet has a green button showing it active. What am I misreading? Thanks in advance for any answers,

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