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San Francisco Municipal Railway


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No trip to California would be complete without a visit to the most diverse system in the country, namely the San Francisco Municipal Railway System. The seventh largest ridership in the nation, MUNI as the system is famously called operates nearly 1,000 buses, 151 Light Rail Vehicles, 50 or so Historic Streetcars for the famed F-Line and 40 Cable Cars running across three lines.

 

A Warning to the viewer, in my two days in San Francisco, I had covered so much that this topic will be split into 4 separate posts. Please be patient!!

 

Focusing first on the bus fleet. MUNI operates a fleet consisting mostly of Neoplan AN-440s & AN-460 articulated buses from 2002 & 2003. Also in this fleet are 45 North American Bus Industries (NABI) 40 foot buses from 1999 & 86 Orion VII Hybrid 30 & 40 foot buses purchased in 2007.

 

First up in Neoplan AN-460 #6271 operating on Route 38-Geary, one of the heaviest lines in the city. So much so that artics cover this line seven days a week:

WCT3303.jpg

 

Another seven day a week artic line is Route 71-Noriega which runs from Downtown to near Ocean Beach in the western end of San Francisco:

WCT3306.jpg

 

Due to a fire that was near the N-Judah light rail line, Buses were used to cover part of the line. Here is Neo #6232 on the Metro Rail Shuttle:

WCT3310.jpg

 

One must have photo is of the Route 76 layover at Marin Headlands. This Sunday-only line operates 7-9 trips and the only MUNI line to use the Golden Gate Bridge. Here is #8208 at the layover:

WCT3333.jpg

 

Route 2 serves the upper class Laurel Heights neighborhood on its way back to Downtown. Here is 8360 eclipsing the fashionable homes and businesses in this bustling neighborhood:

WCT3619.jpg

 

Part of the Orion VII purchase was thirty 30 foot Hybrid numbered in the 8500 series, used for small and medium density lines. Here is 8527 after loading up several passengers in West San Francisco:

WCT3624.jpg

 

Orion #8455, the second to last of the 8400s seen on the 29-Sunset line. Due to the hills of San Francisco, these hybrids were modified to produce better traction:

WCT3625.jpg

 

Even after the Orion purchase, MUNI bought second hand Gillig Phantoms from sister agency AC Transit. These buses are painted in the newer scheme but retain their AC Transit fleet numbers:

WCT3642.jpg

 

San Francisco is also known for its picturesque beauty, which translates even into transit as Neoplan #6201, working the 8x shows the interesting neighborhood skyline of South San Francisco:

WCT3643.jpg

 

Route 14, a trackless trolley route also has a Limited and Express line. However, due to lack of extra wiring, Neoplan artics are used. Packed to the doors with passengers, Neoplan #6243 races past a bicyclist on the 14 Limited on the lower part of Mission:

WCT3650.jpg

 

In a photo that shows just how commuting is so diverse, here is Neoplan #8151 leading a pack of cars and bicyclists across Market Street during PM rush:

WCT3660.jpg

 

MUNI also operates forty-five North American Bus Industries (NABI) 40 footers purchased in 1999. Here is 8007 on the Route 10 layover near Fisherman’s Wharf:

WCT3672.jpg

 

Neoplan #8349 is taking layover on the northern end of Route 47. To the left of this photo is Kirkland Bus yard and in the background is Coit Tower & the Transamerica Pyramid:

WCT3670.jpg

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Here are some videos also taken during the trip on the bus side:

 

Neoplan AN-460 #6228: Cummins ISM/Allison B500R

 

 

Neoplan AN-440 #8208: Cummins ISM/Allison B400R

 

 

North American Bus Industries (NABI) #8036: Cummins M11/Allison B400R:

 

 

Orion VII 07.501 Hybrid #8426: Cummins ISB/BAE Systems Hybrid Drive:

 

 

North American Bus Industries (NABI) #8043 Better Ride Quality:

 

 

“Baby” Orion VII 07.503 Hybrid #8501: Includes reversing

 

 

Kirkland Bus Yard:

 

 

Van Ness Bus Parade:

 

 

Cool clip of a Orion VII Baby Hybrid making a three point run in route:

 

 

Fare Evasion at its best:

 

 

Muni Bus Video:

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Another of Municipal’s Railway famous assets are the Trackless Trolley system. MUNI operates 14 lines using 300+ vehicles of forty & sixty foot variety. The fleet consists of 240 Skoda forty-foot buses and 33 sixty-foot buses as well as 60 Flyer E60 trolleybuses.

 

Skoda #5488 tackles the steep hills of Route 1 near Chinatown:

WCT3331.jpg

 

Skoda #5514 beaming at night at the Route 3 layover near Market Street:

WCT3357.jpg

 

Flyer E60 #7028 at the beginning of Route 14 near Transbay Terminal:

WCT3594.jpg

 

Market Street is home to four Trackless lines (5, 6, 21 & 31). In this shot Skoda #5576 & 5561 take the center lane of Market during AM rush hour:

WCT3606.jpg

 

Underneath the junction of wires is Skoda artic #7123 on weekday rush hour only Route 41 crossing Van Ness, home to Trackless route 49:

WCT3607.jpg

 

Route 45 serves Union when Route 41 isn’t in operation using 40 foot Skodas. 5622 is seen on Union crossing another set of wires used for trackless line, Route 22:

WCT3612.jpg

 

Route 22 serves the Marina & Pacific Heights neighborhood before heading into the heart of San Francisco. Here is Skoda #5458 at the bottom of Steiner, ready to take on the next steep hill:

WCT3613.jpg

 

Also serving the Pacific Heights neighborhood is Route 24. #5408 is pictured near the end of the line squeezing between delivery trucks & parked cars:

WCT3615.jpg

 

Highlighted in another post was Laurel Heights. This neighborhood is home to Trackless Route 1 and Skoda #5572, shown with plenty of beautiful background on a clear sunny day:

WCT3620.jpg

 

Flyer E60 #7059 shows off one of four past and current MUNI schemes as it crosses Market, the midway point of Route 49:

WCT3638.jpg

 

Another scheme seen on the E60 is the SEPTA styled roofline scheme. #7032 pulls it off well as it travels along Mission on Route 14 to Daly City:

WCT3647.jpg

 

My favorite place to photograph on Mission is a hill leaning down. Here I captured Skoda #7121 on this incline showing off the grey & red scheme:

WCT3652.jpg

 

In a very colorful photo E60 #7049 flexes itself around a bend with a beautifully painted church sits in the background:

WCT3653.jpg

 

Another good locale is this hill that shows the San Francisco skyline. Flyer #7043 makes this shot doable as it operate on the 14:

WCT3654.jpg

 

This shot of Skoda #7118 shows just how much “stuff” is attached to the roof of a Trackless:

WCT3662.jpg

 

Videos:

1992 Flyer E60 #7056:

 

 

2003 Skoda artic #7132:

 

 

A pair of Skoda 40 footers:

 

 

Trackless Trolleys inside the Stockton Tunnel:

 

 

A pair of 60 footers on Mission:

 

 

Trackless Trolley Graffiti:

 

 

Trackless Video:

 

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MUNI also operates a subway-surface styled Light Rail system named the Metro. It is comprised of seven lines, five of which were former streetcar lines that survived modernization. All these lines serve the Market Street Subway, built in 1980 which connects with BART and surface services. The system runs on 71 miles of track through three tunnels, nine subway stations, twenty-four surface stations, and numerous surface stops. The system operates 151 Breda LRVs built between 1997 & 2002 when the last of the Boeing Veritols were retired.

 

Breda LRV #1414 operating on the infamous N-Judah line is seen approaching the 23rd Avenue stop, where it connects to Route 71-Noriega Line:

WCT3307.jpg

 

Car #1500 at the stop on 28th Street. Below the Ocean Beach loop can be seen with a car sitting and another approaching the loop:

WCT3308.jpg

 

Car #1452 is pictured just north of the Sunset tunnel, used exclusively by the N to head through Duboce park before traveling into the Market Street Subway:

WCT3311.jpg

 

The T-Third Street Line is the newest branch of the Light Rail system. This line is combined with the K-Ingleside line and operated as the K/T until reaching downtown. Here is Car #1505 at the Montgomery Station stop heading towards Sunnydale:

WCT3339.jpg

 

The J-Church line operates between Downtown & Balboa Park, site of the Geneva rail yard. Here is #1405 at the bottom of Dolores Park along a private right of way:

WCT3347.jpg

 

Along with the J-Church, the K-Ingleside also terminates at Balboa Park, where both lines connect with BART. Pictured are the layover tracks of both lines, which split just after clearing the yard:

WCT3352.jpg

 

MUNI Metro also provides service to the famed San Francisco Zoo under the L line. Here is #1516, part of a two car train heading westbound:

WCT3623.jpg

 

 

Like the N-Judah line, the L’s tracks are in the center, complete with a combination of islands and marked spots. Car #1526 is pictured north of 25th Avenue stop:

WCT3622.jpg

 

A MUNI Supervisor checks in with the operator of Car #1475 at the West Portal Station. This stop serves the K & M lines during normal service hours:

WCT3627.jpg

 

Breda Car #1527 is preparing to exit the Castro Station at the beginning of the Market Street Subway on the M line, the last of three lines that end at or near Balboa Park:

WCT3629.jpg

 

Municipal Railway’s first venture with modern Light Rail cars started with a fleet of Boeing-Veritol LRV cars built from 1976 to 1979. They were retired finally in 2002. Only two survive including #1264, seen outside the Church Station stop near the entrance of the Market Street Subway:

WCT3633.jpg

 

Videos:

 

Breda LRV #1487 on the J-Church Line. Very funny moment at the 5:46 mark:

 

 

Trains arriving and leaving Castro Station:

 

 

M Line Train at Balboa Park:

 

 

West Portal Station:

 

 

MUNI Light Rail Video:

 

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I couldn't leave without getting the true streetcars...

 

The most famous and well used of MUNI’s services is the famed F-Line which operates historic streetcars from the 1920s to the 1950s. The balance of the fleet are Presidential Conference Cars otherwise known as PCCs. All but eleven come from Philadelphia and date back to the early 1940s. Other streetcars come from as far away as Australia and Italy and even a few are original MUNI

cars that were refurbished to operate on the F-Line.

 

First up are PCC #1057 & 1059, painted for Cincinnati & Boston respectively. Both are pictured at the western end of the F-Line in the heart of the Castro district:

WCT3315.jpg

 

PCC #1015, one of the original MUNI double ended cars painted for the Illinois Terminal system is seen just south of the first photo. MUNI operates only three of these cars in active service:

WCT3316.jpg

 

MUNI acquired 11 cars from Milan, Italy designed by Peter Witt back in the 1920s, some of which are still in service there. Here is #1815 in Downtown in the Milan paint scheme:

WCT3335.jpg

 

In addition to the Peter Witt cars, MUNI added 11 wide bodied PCCs from Newark, New Jersey, several of which have entered service. Among them is #1076, painted for D.C Transit:

WCT3584.jpg

 

Car #1055 has the distinction of wearing the Philadelphia Transportation Company scheme twice in its service life. Once as PTC car #2122 and the other in its current state. Here it is heading back to Balboa Park using J-Church line tracks:

WCT3343.jpg

 

Car #1075, painted for the Cleveland Transit System is in service working a tripper stretch from 17th & Castro to Balboa Park via J line tracks:

WCT3345.jpg

 

Peter Witt #1818, painted in two tone green is pictured heading westbound towards Fisherman’s Wharf during AM rush hour:

WCT3601.jpg

 

Back to the Castro we go for this shot of #1059, this time leading the pack:

WCT3630.jpg

 

PCC #1060, painted in the 1938 PTC scheme is turning onto 17th & Noe which crosses the eastbound F-Line track:

WCT3631.jpg

 

Another of the double ended PCCs #1007 at the same spot. #1007 is painted in another homage to Philadelphia, this time for its suburban system:

WCT3632.jpg

 

The prettiest of the three double enders is most certainly #1010, painted in the original blue & gold scheme of 1930s MUNI:

WCT3639.jpg

 

Birmingham Alabama is also featured with car #1077, riding by as old glory waves in the wind:

WCT3641.jpg

 

As twilight descends on San Francisco, PCCs continue to carry tourists and regular passengers alike. Here is #1056, painted for Kansas City Public Service system:

WCT3583.jpg

 

Car #1051 in the simplified MUNI scheme does a car exchange with 1076 on the extra track near the Streetcar Museum:

WCT3585.jpg

 

The last two were photographed at Fisherman’s Wharf in an attempt to be artistic:

WCT3588.jpg

 

WCT3590.jpg

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I almost forgot to post these. I did some recordings and put together a neat video of the F-Line cars in Action. Enjoy

 

PCC #1053 (Brooklyn Car):

 

 

Peter Witt #1859:

 

 

A very speedy ride on PCC #1051:

 

 

A short ride on #1076 before being switched out for having no heat:

 

 

PCC #1060 was the best of them all. The motors roared in this one:

 

 

1060 again, this time making the turn from Market:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nr4vflnnuEQ

 

This video contains the cars I didn’t photograph:

 

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