Historic Streetcars in San Francisco


Moscow/Orel, USSR

This tram, dubbed “Streetcar Named Desire for Peace”, was a gift from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to the City and County of San Francisco in January, 1987. The gift was facilitated by Market Street Railway Board member Maurice Klebolt. Be sure you read the wonderful story of its acquisition.

Car 106 is typical of early European streetcars (known as trams abroad). Short, with open platforms at each end, and designed to tow trailers to make up for the small capacity of the vehicle itself. (No trailer came with Car 106).

This vehicle was built for use in Moscow, and was said by its Soviet donors to have carried wounded soldiers to hospitals when the Germans were at Moscow’s doorstep during World War II. After the war, it was moved to the city of Orel, where it operated a few more years before becoming a non-passenger carrying work car. It was painted back into its passenger colors before being donated to San Francisco as a Cold War gesture just before the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Car 106 operated during the 1987 Trolley Festival, the last of five summer-long events that ended so that the tracks could be rebuilt and extended for today’s permanent F-line. It did make one more appearance, in the 1992 parade down market street celebrating the centennial of electric streetcars in San Francisco.

Between the Trolley Festivals and the opening of the permanent F-line in 1995, the Americans with Disabilities Act took effect, requiring new transit vehicles to be accessible to people in wheelchairs. While technically, Car 106 might have been exempt, Muni made the decision that all its vintage passenger-carrying streetcars be accessible. Given structural considerations and other factors, Car 106 has not been able to meet this standard, and has not operated in revenue service. It is currently stored with an uncertain future.

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