The Past is the Present in San Francisco

PCC Streetcar nos. 1050 & 1051 at Beach & Jones

The moment is a quiet Sunday night at Fisherman’s Wharf. The photo is of PCCs 1051 and 1050, both resplendent in Muni’s “Green & Cream” paint scheme. 1050 sports the “Wings” while 1051 is painted in the later “Simplified” version.
They are seen in a classic rail fan 3/4 view, nothing to get overly excited about. But the message that this photo carries is worth its weight in gold. Anyone who was born or came to San Francisco after 1982 missed the era of seven day a week PCC operation. Prior to the start of that decade Muni’s street railway fleet consisted entirely of PCCs. In 1982 these sleek and smooth streamliners where replaced by modern Light Rail Vehicles. Life and its course of events can be an interesting thing, and the way that life over time comes full circle never fails to amaze me.
Thanks to the preservation efforts of Market Street Railway and San Francisco Muni these vehicles again got a chance to roam the streets of the city. For those who missed out it is still possible to see, as in the photo above. What Muni might have looked like some 30 or so years ago. This is living history, and to the benefit of San Francisco’s residents and visitors the past is the present!

Comments: 8

  1. Beautiful photo!! Great to see them both together. I remember these well. I grew up in the City. Rode the K line, almost daily, from 1960 to 62, out to City College. Car #1040 and the “Torpedos” were my favorites. These two were the best MUNI liveries, in my opinion.

  2. There’s a sight I haven’t seen since I was a child. In my opinion the PCCs were always more reliable than the LRVs.

  3. Love the picture…
    I went to SFState and lived on Willard, just above Kezar (sp?) Stadium…N to Market and M to the college, day in and day out. When I visit SF, I make sure to ride the F line and if possible one of the muni-painted cars. Even though I graduated from State in 1966, I still remember….

  4. Kevin, great photo. That is a memory I never will forget living out on Duncan /Church a daily rider of the green and cream, always loved the way the lights looked coming out of the window on a foggy night in the city. Spent many many nights coming home after “too much” fun. you know what I mean. The sight of a car coming was always a thrill. thanks, great photo again.

  5. My first visit to San Francisco was in 1959 as an 11 year old, and I remember very clearly riding the wonderful PCC cars on the L up Market, through Twin peaks and out to the zoo.

  6. My thought on seeing the photo was, who would have imagined PCC cars in a location so far from their former “habitat”? Back in the 60’s, if someone had said, “They’re going to tear out the Belt Railway tracks and extend the trolley line to Fisherman’s Wharf” the response would probably be “What have you been smoking lately?”

  7. Kevin,
    Thanks for that photo. I’ve been coming to The City since November, 1965, and have never tired of riding the streetcars whenever I visit. Have been on many unusual PCC trips, including the last car (a charter-after the last regular car) down Market from TP and across Church, before the beginning of the 17th/Church diversion.

  8. My first trip to San Francisco was in the late 1960’s. I filmed the PCC cars {with color movie film} on all five lines. Back in those days, the MUNI had converted the Torpedos to single end cars, covering over the off-side doors and rear destination sign. It’s great to see the Torpedos restored to full double end operation once again.
    As for the ex-Philadelphia PCC cars, so loved and successful on the F Line, the transit system in Philly {SEPTA} disposed of them because they said they were “too old to run anymore”. I rode those cars {called trolley cars in Philly} many hundreds of times. I also rode the ex-Newark, New Jersey PCC cars hundreds of times on the 7 City Subway line. It’s great to see them in their next life.

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