End of the B-Geary, 60 Years Ago

B-Geary last revenue run 122956 Jack Tillmany

 

On December 29, 1956, the last passenger-carrying streetcar ran on the tracks of Muni’s first street, Geary.  Muni became America’s first big city publicly owned transit system 44 years and one day earlier, on December 28, 1912, when it opened the A and B streetcar lines on Geary Street. Soon, four Muni lines were running along Geary from the Ferry Building via Market: the A, which went from the Ferries to Tenth Avenue, then south to Golden Gate Park; the B, which reached Ocean Beach and later Playland via 33rd Avenue, Balboa, 45th Avenue, and Cabrillo); the C, which turned north at Second Avenue then followed California Street west to 33rd Avenue; and the D, which turned north at Van Ness, then East on Union, jogging into the Presidio via Steiner and Greenwich.

last-b-geary-run-122956-wayne-pickering-motorman-copyThe Geary lines were Muni’s busiest by far. The B-line alone required more than 50 streetcars at peak hours. But that fact alone couldn’t save them. We reported on the factors that led to the demise of the B-Geary in 2002 in our exclusive member newsletter, Inside Track, and later posted here. (You can join Market Street Railway here to get this great quarterly newsletter, either electronically or in hard copy.)

These two photos come to us from Jack Tillmany through our friends at the Western Neighborhoods Project, showing the final passenger run of the B-Geary on December 29, 1956. Car 77, shown here, was not preserved but two other cars of the same class, both Geary veterans, 130 and 162, have been. So has the last PCC ever built in North America, Muni 1040, which carried a load of railfans out Geary the following day, December 30.

The bus line that replaced the B-Geary, the 38, has been Muni’s busiest bus line ever since, and Muni has been working for years to upgrade it to bus rapid transit, still a number of years in the future. Meantime, many San Franciscans continue to regret that streetcars ever left Geary, even 60 years after the fact.

Share
2 Comments on End of the B-Geary, 60 Years Ago
Share

Flop

IMG_3532

We came across this billboard in West Oakland yesterday, actually one of several for the same company, concentrated in a small area. The company makes an app that invites people to talk about things in the location where they are at the moment. On the Apple app store, it gets a poor rating, with one commenter saying, “It’s Instagram without any of the features or users or support or design or implementation. Don’t waste your data downloading.”

But of course, our interest here is on the streetcar. The positive? It’s another example of how San Francisco’s historic streetcars have become iconic, a true symbol of the city, just like the cable cars. The negative? Well, they flopped the photo of No. 1040, and not very well. They Photoshopped in the destination sign so the lettering wouldn’t be backwards, but the car number is still obviously reversed and, oh yes, the streetcar is operating on the wrong side of the road (hey, maybe they should have used one of the Melbourne trams).

If what they did to the photo represents the quality of the company, well…

Share
No Comments on Flop
Share

Switch to Cameron Beach Goes Smoothly

12208341_10207795575270049_8685905578107669163_n

The historic streetcars are snug as a bug in a rug during this first rain of the season, now that they’re back at Cameron Beach Yard, their longtime (and we hope future) home during the current shutdown of the connection to the Muni Metro East storage yard.

The historic cars’ trips going in and out of service again follow the J-Church line tracks from Balboa Park to 17th and Church. Ace photographer Curley Reed captured some great shots of the old cars on the J the past few days.12188898_10207801209850910_8799061263723279591_n

With El Nino on the way (so they say), Market Street Railway wants to see the streetcar fleet protected from the drenching overnight rains. Without overhead cover, which already exists at Cameron Beach but not at Muni Metro East, when streetcars are sitting still overnight, heavy rain can work its way into the cars and cause rust and rot to begin.  Leaving the historic cars uncovered for decades before the canopy was built at Cameron Beach caused hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage to Muni’s own most historic streetcars, such as Car 1 (now rebuilt) and Car 130 (still running, but very rusty).

12193711_10207798965994815_2747069885204240660_n

Soon, the LRVs that have been taking the historic cars place at Cameron Beach Yard during the reconstruction of Green Light Rail Division yard across the street will be able to return to Green. As soon as possible, for the long-term protection of San Francisco’s historic streetcar fleet, the vintage cars need to return to Cameron Beach Yard permanently.

Share
No Comments on Switch to Cameron Beach Goes Smoothly
Share

K is for Kenosha

11990530_10153536045482638_7487262422097401689_n

 

Big celebration in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Saturday, September 12, “Streetcar Day,” as they welcomed their newest PCC streetcar for their two-mile loop line from the commuter rail station to the new housing developments along Lake Michigan.

Local angle? Just look at the paint job! Like San Francisco, Kenosha paints its PCC streetcars in different liveries that pay tribute to some of the 30 North American cities that operated this, the most successful streetcar design in history. For their latest car (which, like most of the fleet, came from Toronto), they’re honoring — San Francisco, adopting the classic mid-century green and cream “Wings” livery, modeled in San Francisco on several Muni cars, including No. 1040, the last PCC built in North America.  In a clever touch, the head sign (route and destination listing above the windshield) says K-Kenosha/Beach.  (It does in fact loop through a beach park on the lakefront.)

In a collaborative gesture, Market Street Railway and Muni sent materials, including the old Muni logo (the initials S.F. circled by the words “Municipal Railway”) and F-line maps for display inside to the Kenosha Streetcar Society, our counterpart in Kenosha.  They’ve done a great job there.

Market Street Railway members: look in your mailbox in about a week, and you’ll see an exclusive story on the plucky Kenosha streetcar operation, with great photos, part of the latest edition of our member newsletter, Inside Track. You can join Market Street Railway now and get that issue, plus the last three, to catch up on exclusive coverage.

Congratulations to Kenosha, our Wisconsin PCC cousins! แผนที่นำทาง

Share
5 Comments on K is for Kenosha
Share

“Last PCC” Back in Business!

Muni PCC No. 1040 at Van Ness Avenue March 12, 2012, on its first day back in passenger service. Matt Lee photo. The last of 5,000 streamlined PCC streetcars built in North America is carrying passengers again…on the F-line. Muni’s No. 1040, originally delivered in 1952, entered passenger service today a bit ahead of schedule. It had completed the minimum 1,000 of miles of testing after being completely rebuilt by Brookville Equipment Company in Pennsylvania, but was waiting for a… — Read More

3 Comments on “Last PCC” Back in Business!
Share

Car 1040: Newest All Over Again

Restored Muni PCC No. 1040 at Muni Metro East, December 15, 2011. (Yes, it can run the outer end of the L-Taraval line, and others, too.) Click photos to enlarge. During its “first life” at Muni, PCC No. 1040 was always the kid, the youngest in the fleet. Indeed, it is historic for being the last of nearly 5,000 streetcars of this type built in the U.S., coming off the assembly line at St. Louis Car Company in 1952. Now,… — Read More

13 Comments on Car 1040: Newest All Over Again
Share