09 September 2017

San Francisco – Market Street Railway Heritage Weekend: 9 & 10 September 2017

In San Francisco, you can see beautifully restored historic public transit vehicles operating in everyday service alongside San Francisco's modern bus fleet and the light rail streetcar fleet. During the annual Market Street Railway Heritage Weekend, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and Market Street Railway celebrated the 100th anniversary of the gasoline-powered public bus service in San Francisco. On 1 September 1917, Muni made the 1-Park transit route the first gasoline-powered public bus route in San Francisco. The 1-Park transit route provided supplemental service on the A-Geary streetcar line between the Inner Richmond District and the Inner Sunset District.

Click on an image to see the full-size photograph.
Muni Superintendent Fred Boeken at the Geary Terminal in 1918.

Motorcoach # 1 on the 1-Park line, 1917.

By the end of the 1920s, buses became an essential companion to Muni's streetcar network, which had expanded with the K-Ingleside, L-Taraval, and N-Judah streetcar lines.

After World War II, pressures from decreasing ridership and rising operating costs led Muni to replace all but five streetcar lines with bus routes. While buses cost more to maintain and have a shorter lifespan than streetcars, they're cheaper to purchase and operate. They were seen as the solution to an aging rail system needing rehabilitation, and Muni bought hundreds of buses over 10 years. 

A fleet of 209 buses manufactured by the White Motor Company is being introduced to the people of San Francisco in 1948; the buses are traveling outbound on Market Street.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Muni updated the system again. Muni consolidated some routes into longer crosstown routes for better transit connections between neighborhoods. Also, longer articulated buses were introduced to San Francisco to increase passenger capacity and provide wheelchair accessibility. 

Today, buses provide the vast majority of Muni service. Currently, buses manufactured by New Flyer Industries are being added to and revitalizing the bus transit system. Powered by hybrid-electric engines that run on 100 percent renewable biodiesel fuel, they are San Francisco's most environmentally friendly buses. Along with Muni's electric trolleybuses, light rail vehicles, historic streetcars, and cable cars, which are all powered by hydroelectricity, they make San Francisco's Muni fleet one of the greenest mass transportation systems in the nation.

 The below photographs were taken on Saturday, 9 September 2017.

Motorcoach # 042 was manufactured by the White Motor Company in 1938.

Motorcoach # 042

Motorcoach # 042

Motorcoach # 2230 was manufactured by Mack Trucks in 1956. It is currently being renovated, and it is scheduled to re-enter service in 2018.

The interior of motorcoach # 2230

The engine compartment of motorcoach # 2230

Muni bus # 8853 is a hybrid-electric vehicle; it was manufactured by New Flyer Industries in 2016.

General Motors Corporation built bus # 2103 in 1958. This bus was one of a fleet of twenty-one buses operated by the Key Route System. The buses were in service on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. This bus was overhauled and restored in 1995.

Two trolly coaches and two buses are waiting on Steuart Street.

 Trolly coach # 776 was manufactured by Marmon-Herrington in 1950.

Bus # 3287 is a diesel bus manufactured by General Motors Corporation in 1970.

Trolly coach # 5300 was manufactured by Marmon-Herrington in 1975.

 "Boat tram" # 228. was constructed in Blackpool, England, in 1934.

 Municipal Railway streetcar # 1  was constructed in 1912.

Lon is the transit operator of Municipal Railway streetcar # 1

This photo was taken from aboard Municipal Railway streetcar # 1 as it rolls through the Fisherman's Wharf area.

 This photo was taken aboard Municipal Railway streetcar # 1. A portion of San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf area is visible.

This photo was taken from aboard Municipal Railway streetcar # 1 as we roll past Pier 39.

This is one of America's oldest streetcars. Market Street Railway streetcar # 578 was manufactured in San Francisco by the Hammond Car Company in 1896. This was the same company that later built San Francisco's California Street cable cars. Streetcar # 578 survived the 1906 earthquake and fire. It also escaped destruction by being converted into a work car. The streetcar was restored in 1956. Streetcar # 578 is only put into service on special occasions.

Emma is driving Market Street Railway streetcar # 578.

Emma was the transit driver, and Angel was the conductor.

This photo was taken from aboard Market Street Railway streetcar # 578 as it rolled past the Ferry Building.

 Streetcar # 1051 was manufactured in 1946 and was used initially in Philadelphia. It was acquired by Muni in 1995. In 2009 it was dedicated to the memory of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk. It was rebuilt by the Brookville Equipment Corporation in 2016 and re-entered service in San Francisco on 15 March 2017.

This photo was taken from aboard streetcar # 1051. Phil is the transit operator of the streetcar, and we are traveling outbound on Market Street.

Streetcar # 1051 is still on Market Street. Ahead are Twin Peaks. The view is looking southwest.

Streetcar # 1051 is on Church Street and veering to the left. Ahead is the summit of Church Street. We are bypassing this portion of Church Street due to the steepness of the route. The passageway we are about to enter is known as the Church Street Bypass. The view is looking south.

The Church Street Bypass.

On the Church Street Bypass.

Streetcar # 1051 is now on 30th Street at Church Street, the dead-head portion of the terminus of this route. Ahead is Bernal Heights Summit. The view is looking east.

Phil is in the process of preparing the dead-head track section to return the streetcar to the Ferry Building on the same route we used to reach this point.

Phil is standing in front of streetcar # 1051 at the Ferry Building, this delightful ride's starting point, and endpoint.

Go Here to view: The San Francisco Market Street Railway streetcar excursion: 27 August 2017

Go Here to view: The 100th anniversary of San Francisco's J-Church streetcar line: 11 August 2017

"A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera." Dorothea Lange 

"Photography has not changed since its origin except in its technical aspects, which for me are not important." Henri Carter-Bresson

"There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer." Ansel Adams

"The important thing is not the camera but the eye." Alfred Eisenstaedt

The first volume of the San Francisco Bay Area Photo Blog contains galleries of photographs posted on the Internet between 2002 and 2011. Click Here to view these photo galleries.

Thanks to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and Jeremy Menzies for providing information about the history of the first 100 years of San Francisco's public bus service. 

A thank you to all of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency for doing the work necessary to succeed in this event.

A tip of the hat to Market Street Railway and all of its volunteers for helping to make the 2017 Heritage Weekend a fruitful and free public event. 

I would also like to thank Rick Laubscher for authoring "OnTrack: A Field Guide to San Francisco's Streetcars and Cable Cars." The book is an excellent source of information about the historic streetcars and cable cars used in San Francisco. An updated edition of the book has just been published.

A Sony camera was used to take these photographs.

Question or comment? I may be reached at neil@mishalov.com.