Photo of the (Past) Moment: Deja Vu, Chronicle?


Jim Lekas photo, Market Street Railway Archive

Here’s an oddity. Not the photo, but where it showed up. We love this shot for two reasons: it features preserved Muni “Iron Monster” No. 162, near the end of its original service life on the M-Ocean View line on 19th Avenue crossing Junipero Serra, and it’s got that cool Nash keeping pace right alongside.
We know this photo, because it’s part of our collection, donated to us by MSR member Jim Lekas, who took it himself. We’ve never put it on the web before, but somehow — Jim doesn’t know how and neither do we — it has appeared in the Chronicle several times now in an advertisement for their website Groupon wannabe “”. An even bigger mystery than where they got the photo is why they used it, since it has nothing to do with the copy.
Maybe they just think it’s cool.
We’re fine with that!
UPDATE: Mystery solved. Thanks to eagle-eyed member Walter Gerken, we now know how the Chronicle got the photo. The great Carl Nolte did a story on the return of Car No. 162 to the active fleet in 2008. Muni had asked us for photos of the streetcar; we provided Jim’s; it was attributed in the story to Jim, but courtesy of Muni, rather than us (which is fine). Frankly, we just missed that ball. Strike one!
Still, a good excuse to share a great photo. Thanks again to Jim for sharing it.


Comments: 5

  1. “Iron Monster” is the name of one of the beers my brother made a while back. He made a series all based on old streetcars and my favorite, “High Speed Ale”, brewed with Hetch Hetchy water in Burlingame LOL

  2. This is a great picture of #162. I remember seeing this streetcar along with, I believe #172, on the SP interchange track around 1959(At City Colleg where Interstate 280 is today.) with Muni when they were loading it on to a flat car. I always carried a camera in my car. However, when I attempted to shoot a couple of pictures of the #162 Face on with a SP switcher, I found I was out of film. So it goes. Great to have the #162 back on SF tracks looking excellent.

  3. Great neighborhood photo vis-a-vis on Market St. Granted it’s a photo from the ’50s but there’s a fixture missing. When were cow catchers removed from the fleet?

  4. Around 1952. When the oldest group of streetcars (like No. 1) were retired, the remainder of the “Iron Monsters” were fitted with “lifeguard” fenders under the body, in front of the front wheels. These have a similar mechanism that snaps up and cocoons anyone unlucky enough to fall under the streetcar. In fact, Car No. 1 was fitted with one of these lifeguards during its renovation. It still has the Eclipse fender (what you called the “cowcatcher” — that’s actually a mainline railroad term), but it could now safely run without it.

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