Happy 105th Birthday, Muni!

On December 28, 1912, 50,000 people flooded Geary Street near Market.

They were there to cheer a streetcar!

More exactly, ten streetcars, lined up in numerical order pointed west, led by Car 1.

It was the opening of the first publicly owned transit system in a major American city: the Municipal Railway of San Francisco.

The new city-owned streetcar line on Geary was a product of the Progressive Era, which called for ownership of public utilities by the public, not by private corporations who did it to make a profit. “Muni”, as it soon came to be known by all San Franciscans, competed fiercely against private competitors until all transit routes were consolidated under city ownership mid-century.

The opening celebration saw San Francisco Mayor James Rolph, Jr. board Car 1, place one of the first forty nickels ever minted in San Francisco into the farebox, put on his motorman’s cap, and personally pilot the first car out Geary. San Franciscans considered it a very big deal, and supported Muni’s growth over subsequent decades.

For Muni’s centennial in 2012, Market Street Railway successfully advocated for the complete restoration of Car 1, which became the star of centennial celebrations, just as it was on that first day, December 28, 1912.

On a recent private charter of Car 1, a birthday party for a prominent San Franciscan (yes, you can charter it or other vintage streetcars for your own private ride), guests who had never experienced a ride on a vintage streetcar were incredulous that the city would still have — and operate — its very own streetcar. And the smiles and stares of onlookers along The Embarcadero reinforced that story line. San Francisco cares about its history, remembers its past, and puts it to work!

Happy 105th, Muni! San Francisco wouldn’t be what it is without you!

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Private Cruise on the Boat Tram, Just for You, June 4

UPDATE: This event is SOLD OUT. If you’d like to be the first to know when our next trolley tour will happen, ask to be added to our excursion notification list by emailing us at info@streetcar.org.

Sunday, June 4, one of the famous 1934 Blackpool “boat trams” will cruise again on the tracks of the F-line, with a guided tour of everything historic along the route from our friends at City Guides and our own Paul Lucas. It’s a private charter, and seats are limited.

Here’s the link with all the information. You don’t want to miss this!

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Take a 1950 Trolley Bus to Streetcar Movies Sept. 24

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In a new addition to Muni Heritage Weekend, we — Market Street Railway — have chartered vintage 1950 trolley coach 776 to a special encore showing of Streetcar San Francisco Movie Night at the Balboa Theater. The 90-minute programs features archival footage (much of it supplied by us), new and original short films, highlights from the OpenSFHistory collection, and other historically-inspired surprises around the theme of San Francisco public and private transit. It’s narrated with zest by Woody LaBounty and David Gallagher.

In this case getting there will be at least half the fun. We’ll leave the San Francisco Railway Museum at 5:45 pm sharp on 1950 Marmon-Herrington trolley coach 776 and follow the 31-Balboa route (which was electrified after this bus was retired so it’ll be a historic trip in that respect) through the Tenderloin and Western Addition, over Lone Mountain, and then out Balboa Avenue to 38th Avenue and Balboa Theater.

There, we’ll give you a ticket for the show. After the show, use whatever Muni route you like to get back (though you would wait a long time for the B-Geary streetcar, which passed the theater until 1956).

The whole package is $20 for Market Street Railway members, $30 for non-members. Reserve your space by sending an email to info@streetcar.org including your name, number of guests in your party, and whether you’re an MSR member. (If not, you can join and save ten bucks on the deal.)

If you’ve already bought a ticket to the movie, you can ride the charter bus to the theater for $20 (non-members) or $15 (members).

We’re going to do this on the honor system, meaning you don’t have to pay for the ride in advance, but rather at the bus when you board Saturday night. Cash only; we can’t process credit cards or electronic payments for this. Only RSVP if you’re sure you’re going to go. This will sell out and we don’t want to turn people away, only to find some people were no-shows.

Remember, rsvp to info@streetcar.org.

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Exploratorium Charter August 24

We’ve got a great combo opportunity coming up on Sunday, August 24. It’s a charter on PCC streetcar No. 1050 that starts at 1:00 p.m. at our San Francisco Railway Museum. We’ll cruise down The Embarcadero past AT&T Park, past all the new development on Third Street in Mission Bay and Dogpatch, then loop through Muni Metro East, the current home of the historic streetcar fleet and not usually open to the public.

Then we’ll head all the way back up the waterfront to Pier 39 and turn around, finishing at The Exploratorium at Pier 15. Your tour package includes VIP admission to one of the world’s great interactive science museums, which you can enjoy right up until closing time at 5 p.m. It’s a great afternoon out, enhanced by expert commentary along the route by our own Paul Lucas.
The package is $45 for Market Street Railway members, $55 for non-members. Under 18: $30. More information and sign up here.

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Still Time to Join the Dallas PCC Charter Aug. 4

Perhaps the most remarkable renovation performed on any of the F-line streetcars is the one given to No. 1009. Here’s the before photo: Interior of PCC No. 1009, vandalized and burned by homeless, leaving San Francisco for restoration, 2010. Though the car had been badly vandalized while in storage, its capacity (one of the largest streetcars in the fleet) and its ability to operate from either end made it worth restoring. Now it’s back, painted in tribute to Dallas Terminal… — Read More

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Ahoy! Sail the F-line in Style on October 23

UPDATE: WE’RE SOLD OUT FOR THE TOUR! THANKS. Our trolley tour is back on track, with a nautical theme this time! Market Street Railway and San Francisco City Guides are again collaborating on a memorable vintage streetcar ride along Muni’s historic F-line on Sunday, October 23 from 1-3pm. This extra special history tour in the fabulous open-top “Boat Tram*” (Blackpool, England, Car No. 228) offers a fresh-air view of the sights and sounds along the F-line on Market Street and… — Read More

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