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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Muni Bus Centennial Celebrated at Heritage Weekend

Muni Superintendent Fred Boeken poses with Muni’s first five motor coaches (White Motor Co.) outside Geary Division, 1918. Photo from SFMTA Archives.

Muni operated its first bus on September 1, 1917. Their ace archivist and photographer, Jeremy Menzies, put together a great post with lots of photos that’s definitely worth a look.

We got a bit of a head start on the Muni bus centennial with an exhibit we opened in March at our San Francisco Railway Museum, telling the story of how buses came to replace streetcars as the city’s dominant transit vehicle. It’s still up, and it’s one more reason to come down to the museum for Muni Heritage Weekend, September 9-10 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

But don’t just come down to look at the display. Come down to ride and view actual vintage buses, because they’re taking center stage this year in honor of their centennial at Muni. Both trolley coaches and motor coaches will be offering the public rides that Saturday and Sunday.

Muni’s oldest surviving bus, built in 1938 by White Motor Company and numbered 042, restored to its original orange and black paint scheme, will run from the museum to Levi’s Plaza and back, as will 1969 GMC “Fishbowl” 3287, painted in the new livery of that day, which was modeled on the maroon worn by the California Street Cable Cars.

Newer buses running along with them on the Levi’s Plaza route will be 1975 AM General 4154 and 1990 Orion 9010.

But perhaps the most attention will go to Muni’s newest restored motor coach, 1956 Mack 2230. It will be on display in the plaza next to the museum. We won’t spoil the surprise with a photo of the restoration here (besides which, the Woods Division shops are still working on it) but here’s what it looked like during its first life. The Mack will sit side by side with a brand new Muni hybrid-electric motor coach, allowing visitors to compare 60 years of bus technology.

Two vintage trolley coaches will carry riders from the Museum to Washington Square in North Beach, including 67-year old Marmon-Herrington 776, which will be joined by 1975 Flyer 5300.

While the buses take a bow, there’s still a full slate of rail action. The J-Church line is celebrating its own centennial, so Muni’s very first streetcar, 1912 Car 1, will run from the Museum out Market and down the J-line to 30th Street on several trips each day, joined by a PCC streetcar of the type that ran the J for 30 years.

Additionally, the oldest surviving San Francisco streetcar, 578, built for the original Market Street Railway in 1896, will carry passengers from the museum to the Wharf and back, joined by one of the popular 1934 open-top “boat trams” from Blackpool, England. And 1929 Melbourne, Australia tram 496 will operate on the E-Embarcadero line.


Finally, the last surviving O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde cable car to wear that line’s livery, Car 42 in its original 1906 livery, will be operating on the California Street cable car line, just two blocks from the museum, both days.

We’ll have a special sale of hard-to-find rail books and memorabilia both days, plus book signings on transit issues, including BART (by Mike Healy), the F-line (Peter Ehrlich), the Market Street Railway of 1893 (Emilio Echeverria) and the overall heritage operation (Rick Laubscher). We’ll post the schedule for these a few days before the weekend.

This is a Heritage Weekend you don’t want to miss!

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Muni Heritage Weekend Confirmed for Sept. 9-10

 

Mark it down in ink. Muni’s annual Heritage Weekend has now been confirmed for September 9-10, 2017.

This year marks the centennial of Muni as a bus operator, and we will be working with Muni to showcase several of its historic buses, in addition to the usual array of special vintage streetcars and cable cars that will operate that weekend.

Operating hours will be 10 a.m. until about 5 p.m.  The action will be centered again around our San Francisco Railway Museum, across from the Ferry Building, where our exhibit on the transition from streetcars to buses in San Francisco will take center stage. More details will be forthcoming as they develop, but our Market Street Railway members can count on some special events, including a reception and charter for our more generous members and donors on Thursday evening, September 7, and special riding opportunities for all our members outside the regular weekend operation. Again, details to come on this.

Thanks to all our members and friends for their patience in waiting for the dates to be finalized. Other city agencies besides Muni are involved, so thanks to SFMTA’s Communications group for persisting in getting these dates arranged.

Those planning to visit from far away still have time to lock in the lowest air fares! We hope to see you September 9-10!

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