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.
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!
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!
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.