New Cable Car Rolls Out Today

The latest addition to the Powell Street “vintage livery” fleet hits the streets for the first time today (Monday, June 22), with a public ceremony at 10:45 a.m. at the Cable Car Barn, Washington and Mason Streets to unveil newly built car No. 15. The Chronicle touts it this morning with lots of detail on its construction. Click on the thumbnail below by Carmen Magana of the SFMTA for a big, glorious view.

Car 15 3.jpg

Rather than repeating the Chronicle’s details, we’ll mention that the cable car shop and top Muni leadership have been very receptive to Market Street Railway’s efforts to expand the number of vintage liveries on the Powell Street cable cars. Last September, heavily rebuilt Powell car no. 25 returned to the streets in a red and creme United Railroads livery, the one the Powell cars featured on the fateful morning of April 18, 1906, when most of the cable car system was destroyed by earthquake and fire.
The yellow, red, and buff livery being unveiled today was the immediate predecessor to that red United Railroads livery, at least for the Powell-Mason cars. In the days of the Market Street Railway Company of 1893, which operated the Powell cars from that date until United Railroads took over in 1902, cable cars were color-coded by line. Since only the Powell-Mason line has survived from the lines then housed at the Washington-Mason car barn, that line’s livery was chosen for replication on car No. 15. David Dugan of Market Street Railway recreated the “owner’s logo” on the lower side panels by using historic photos to design a decal that the cable car painters installed. MSR also purchased some special paint for the red pinstripes, saving the paint crew from going through the exhaustive city procurement process.
With the introduction of car No. 15, almost all the major historic Powell Street cable car liveries are represented in the active fleet. A few of the existing vintage schemes will be tweaked in coming years to enhance their historic accuracy, and Market Street Railway hopes that the next Powell cable car to be rebuilt will be painted in the first Municipal Railway green and cream scheme, the one on the Powell cars in 1947 — when Friedel Klussman stepped up and saved them from extinction.

Comments: 3

  1. I saw this today, great job with the decals! Although I don’t think it’s necessary for Cable Car 15 to be on a motorcade for, like, 4 hours, anyone know what was up with that?

  2. Beautiful new car!! Congrats to the re-build crew. They did a beautiful job. I’d like to compair this job with the job that was done on Iron Monster car #162. That was a beautiful job as well!! Keep up the great work!!

  3. I want to take this opportunity to thank MSR for thier guidance and support in the preparation of Car 15. This brand new car, from the rail-up, is something the maintenance crews of the Cable Car Division are very proud of, and also the part MSR played in its completion. The First Kids were the first kids to ride car 15, hence the motorcade on Monday. Car 15 is on run 1 Hyde line, for about 2-weeks, the break-in is best done on this line. We will put car 15 on the Mason line(where it belongs) in the very near future. and lastly my special thanks to David Dugan and Rick Laubscher, sorry you missed it Rick!

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