This weekend, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which operates the Municipal Railway (Muni), and Market Street Railways held their Muni Heritage Weekend. They rolled out their vintage motor buses and trolley buses for all the public to enjoy and to get a taste of what it was like to ride the golden rails of yesteryear. Muni is America’s first publicly owned transit system and has been around for over 100 years! The highlight for me was being able to ride Streetcar No. 1, Muni’s very first streetcar. It was built in 1912 and was in immaculate condition. But the best part was the enthusiasm from the operators and volunteers. They clearly took pride in their work and enjoyed sharing the details of these fine machines with all of us.
Highlights included being able to ride:
Bus No. 776: A 1950 Marmon-Herrington trolley coach, which served virtually all of Muni’s trolley bus lines during its quarter-century of service. It is painted in its original green and cream “Wings” livery.
Streetcar No. 1: Muni’s very first streetcar, which inaugurated Muni service on December 28, 1912, running out Geary Street from Market to 10th Avenue, with Mayor “Sunny Jim” Rolph at the controls. It wears Muni’s first paint scheme of gray and red, with gold trim.
Streetcar No. 578: The oldest streetcar operated by a North American transit agency, built in 1896 for a Muni predecessor.
Cable Car No. 42 is the last cable car bearing the markings of the O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde line, which was closed in 1954. Reacquired from a private party in the 1990s and subsequently restored to its 1906 appearance by Muni’s cable car maintenance team with assistance on cosmetic work by volunteers from Market Street Railway.