Best Muni Heritage Weekend Ever!

It had more vintage vehicles, more riders, and more fun than ever. We’re talking about the sixth annual Muni Heritage Weekend September 9-10, 2017.

It also had some of the best photos we’ve seen over the years. The great one above, showing Martin (3) and Catherine (2) Andreev looking out the back window of 1950 trolley coach 776, is from Amy Osborne, part of a great photo essay she put together on sfgate.com.

Great news pieces from Sal Casteneda on KTVU-Fox 2, KGO 7, Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez in the Examiner and Ida Mojadad in SF Weekly brought out lots of curious first-time visitors, especially families with young kids. We were ready for them, with a kids’ activity area, led by our board member Katie Haverkamp. (That’s Katie in the photo below, taken by fellow Board Member Paul Wells, instructing a guest how to “pin the part on the streetcar.”

This being the centennial year for Muni buses, the SFMTA folks outdid themselves to operate seven vintage coaches, built between 1938 and 1990. Additionally, the crackerjack maintenance team at Woods Motor Coach Division gave us a peek at the past-as-future by displaying 1956 Mack diesel coach 2230, gorgeously restored and operable but awaiting re-installation of its interior. It should be carrying passengers next year. (Our non-profit has helped SFMTA with the Mack, buying a set of new tires and other needs.)

Muni posed the Mack next to one of its newest hybrid-electric coaches, which carried a great display on the history of buses at Muni.

On the streetcar side, 1896 “dinky” 578 and 1934 Blackpool, England “boat” 228 packed them in all weekend shuttling between our museum and the Wharf, and vintage Muni Cars 1 and 130, along with PCCs 1051 and 1060, took turns recreating the original J-Church line out Market and down through Noe Valley, helping celebrate its centennial. Both days, 1929 Melbourne W2 tram 496 ran the E-line in regular service.

On the cable car side, venerable O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde line 42 brought its gorgeous self to the California line again, gripped ever so lovingly by Val Lupiz! (This photo, by member Todd Glickman, who came out from Boston for the event, shows the 42 next to 1990 Orion coach 9010, signed for a never-launched California-Hyde cable car line!)

There was much more, too. Our members will receive a complete report in our quarterly newsletter, Inside Track, due out in early October. You’ll see coverage of our special Operator’s Circle exclusive tour of Muni’s new LRVs, which we coupled with a twilight boat tram ride. If you’re not a member, join now!

Thanks to all the great team at SFMTA, led by Ed Reiskin and John Haley, with Communications led by Candace Sue and Janis Yuen, all the operators and maintainers and inspectors who made the weekend so great. And on the Market Street Railway side, special thanks to Alison Cant, our museum manager, and Katie Haverkamp, our celebration committee chair, along with all our wonderful volunteers.

Next year, we hope to combine Muni Heritage Weekend with Transit Week (upcoming at the end of September). We’ll let you know dates as soon as they’re set. See you then!

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Great Displays at SF History Days March 4-5

 

San Francisco History Days, the popular annual event, fills up the historic Old Mint at Fifth and Mission Streets this weekend. Hours are 10-5 Saturday, March 4, and 10-4 Sunday, March 5.

This year there’s a special treat: SFMTA (Muni’s parent) has created a great slideshow from its Archives to celebrate the centennial of the J-Church, Muni’s oldest surviving line, which has of course been operated by streetcars its entire 100-year life. Here’s a sneak peek. 

Market Street Railway will have a historic display too, as will dozens of other city history groups. We’ll also be offering our 2017 calendar at a special price, along with unique pint glasses and coffee mugs displaying vintage San Francisco streetcar advertisements.

It’s a great event. Stop by!

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Switch to Cameron Beach Goes Smoothly

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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).

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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.

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