1909: Report on the operation of the street railroad lines of San Francisco

If you’re like me, get ready to kiss your day goodbye.

@TheGreaterMarin tipped us off to this treasure. It’s a 36-page volume listing in excruciating detail all the rain lines all over our fair city 103 years ago. It was put together by The Merchants’ Association of San Francisco, and includes such gems as:

No 5 McAllister Maximum number of cars 18 Minimum headway 3 to 4 minutes 5 minute cars running to Central Ave only 7 to 10 minute cars running to Chutes ROUTE Out Market from Ferry to McAllister to Car House at McAllister and Central Ave Every other car continues through to Chutes This line gives fair service at times but is handicapped by the old style cars which do not hold the number of people the heavy type of car does The new track was laid on the south side of McAllister to Fillmore from Market but not on the other side All of the old track is in a deplorable condition and is damaging the gear boxes and armatures on the cars The cars are greatly overcrowded during the evening rush hours The cars that only go to the car house never carry at such time less than a hundred passengers which is a great many for this style of car while the cars that go through to the Chutes are crowded beyond reason All of the cars should run through to the Chutes especially mornings and evenings 18 cars are not enough for this line and several are taken off during the slack hours making extra long waits at transfer points

And …

No 22 Fillmore Maximum number of ears 19 Minimum headway 3 minutes KOUTE Broadway and Fillmore south on Fillmore to 13th to Church to 16th to Bryant Crowds patronize this line at all times of the day and night It grew faster than any line in the ctiy after the fire but as the large business houses leave Fillmore Street it will have fewer passengers It will always be a bigger line than before the fire however The service at present is good but the aisles and doorways are always crowded If the outside seats were arranged parallel to the sides of the car as the inside seats are it would aid greatly in handling the crowds and at the same time would give the same seating capacity From ten to twenty passengers board each car during the day at the intersection of Fillmore with Sutter Turk Eddy McAllister Haight and Market Streets as well as 16th and Mission There is one defect in the transfer system on this line Transfers from east bound Turk and Eddy Street cars are not accepted on north bound Fillmore Street cars though they are from all other east bound lines This prevents people living on the route of the Turk and Eddy line from getting over on Union Street Harbor View district etc without paying two fares


Read and/or download the digital version on Google.

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Streetcar No. 1: From Reality to Dream to Reality

We here at Muni Diaries and Muni Time Capsule cannot get enough of the newly returned-to-service streetcar No. 1. Frequent contributor Jayne dropped these photo of the streetcar to our Flickr pool recently, and we felt compelled to share them with you.

Don’t forget: Muni’s centennial celebration is under way. If you’ve got a Muni story to share, Muni Diaries is the place to do so. See our 100 Days, 100 Muni Stories page for details. Meanwhile, enjoy these photos of streetcar No. 1.

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1983: Car No. 1 and Her PCC Friends

On the heels of last Thursday’s Muni Centennial kick-off, which featured the rededication of streetcar No. 1, Octoferret dropped these amazing images possibly from 1983 in the Muni Photos Flickr pool. Thanks, Octoferret!

Also, in case you missed it, Muni Diaries launched a new Muni Centennial feature: 100 Days, 100 Muni Stories. Submit a Muni story in the next 100 days and a portion of your story could end up on a bus ad! Click here for details.

Streetcar No. 1 followed by a Muni-themed PCC at Church and 16th Street

A PCC on Church. Note the destination sign: East Bay Terminal.

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1920: MUNY (and it was an acronym)

Eric Fischer unearthed this lovely diorama of Muni map covers spanning 1920-1930. As Fischer notes, the 1920 map refers to “MUNY,” or Modern Equipment, Unequaled Service, Neat, bliging Employees, Your Own Railway.

Thanks, Eric!

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Tug-Muni Metro Pulls Its Predecessor to Pasture

We’ve been hearing a lot this week about the scene above. First was Jeremy, who captured the scene of a Muni Metro towing an old Boeing LRV from Mint Yard behind Safeway on Market. See Jeremy’s video here.

We asked Jeremy if he knew the story behind this move.

Yes it was towed by a 2car breda train up the J line to Metro Yard… I don’t know the reason….yet :)

Read the rest of this entry »

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Muni holiday movie in 1980

Last November, we posted a nice video we found from 1980 showing our fair transit system in action.

Then, a few weeks ago, the videographer in question, Wouter van der Brugghen, sent us a few more videos, including the one above. Wouter says:

I visited San Francisco for the first time in 1980. We filmed a lot including the impressive public transport system. I like especialy the enormous trolleybus system with 343 trolleybuses. Compare that with the 29 trolleybus fleet in Arnhem (netherlands) where I lived at that time! Also the PCC looked impressive compared to the small ones running in Europe.

Here’s another:

In 1980 I visited San Francisco for the second time. I enjoyed the rides with the MAN artic’s, the flyer E900 buses and the Orion midi buses and was able to videotape them. Fortunately you can also hear the engine sound on this tape.

Great stuff. Thanks, Wouter!

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OldSF.org Has Hella Photos of Muni Past

Old SF is this week’s “everyone is sharing/sending/talking about it via their keyboards” website, and for good reason.

Dan Vanderkam and Raven Keller put the site together presumably out of love of San Francisco history and with a fair amount of tech prowess. If you haven’t already allowed yourself to get sucked into its addictive timesink wasteland, go for it.

We of course tried to zero in on as many Muni photo as we could. Above is one of our favorites. Its caption reads, “Municipal Railway trackless trolley car number 742 being christened on 20th and Mission Street
1950 Mar. 15.”

The collection is so vast, we surely missed some. If you find other great historical Muni photos here or anywhere, share them with Muni Time Capsule, please.

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Muni Rapid: Dreams of the 1960s

Coordinated Transit for the San Francisco Bay Area: Richmond Rapid under Geary Blvd (1967)

“MRT” or “Mart” just don’t have the same ring to them as “BART,” I suppose. But that didn’t stop 1960s planners from imagining an extensive underground rapid-transit system spidering its way all around San Francisco. Eric Fischer has a series of concept drawings like the ones here, along with maps of the proposed system. Go to his Flickr set and spend the next several minutes geeking out, imagining zipping down below Geary on your way to Burma Superstar, or wherever.

Market Street Railway discusses the proposed subway, but says voters defeated it in 1966.

Muni Rapid (1966/1967) set on Flickr.

Muni Rapid Transit Vehicle Concepts (1966)
Muni Rapid Concept Vehicle — look familiar?

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The Fillmore Hill Counterbalance

Image: Cable Car Guy

Friend of Muni Time Capsule Dexter Wong tipped us off a few months ago to the Fillmore Hill Counterbalance. Here’s what Dexter had to say about it:

The Fillmore Hill Counterbalance was one of the more interesting in the city. It was built to extend the 22-Fillmore streetcar line into the Marina District. An un-powered cable was used to allow the tiny streetcars to climb the hill. You see, the weight of the descending car pulled the ascending car up the hill after both cars were attached to the cable. A device called “the wishbone” worked like a cable car grip on these cars. At the end of the day a weighted dummy car was let down the hill to allow the last car to come up. The first car down next morning brought the dummy back up. The entire service was converted to buses in 1941 (and the buses used less steep Steiner Street to climb the hill).

Reading about past engineering solutions often reminds me of being a kid. The 19th century problem-solvers who build the counterbalance on Fillmore Hill had a young city as their toy, and set about making things (and people) move up and down the intimidating hills of San Francisco.

Market Street Railway (which built the Fillmore Hill Counterbalance in 1895) talks a little more about the counterbalance in this post about the 1915 Panama-Pacific Expedition:

Additionally, the 35-Haight-Exposition line operated from Carl and Stanyan via Carl, Clayton, Frederick, Masonic, and Page to Fillmore, returning via Oak Street. It allowed transfer to the URR Fillmore lines 22 and 23, which in turn connected with the Fillmore Hill counterbalance line to reach the Fair.

Cable Car Guy has more on this and other counterbalances around the country, including a couple of mishaps on Fillmore Street:

The score or more of passengers who were tossed about when the car came to a sudden halt at Green street accounted themselves fortunate when they picked themselves up and found their injuries to comprise a few bruises and a bad jarring. (August 8, 1906)

The Fillmore Hill Counterbalance was replaced by diesel bus routes in the early 1940s.

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1937 San Francisco ‘El’ lines that never were

Typical Cross Section of Market Street (1937)

Eric Fischer posts this rendering of an imagined elevated bus line above the sidewalks of San Francisco.

Fischer notes, “A plan for elevated trolleybus lanes above sidewalk arcades on Market Street. This is from the San Francisco Examiner archives, but I wasn’t able to find any reference to it in papers from around the date (December 12, 1937).”

All too often, past visions of the future (a future that has now past us by) are really fun to look at.

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