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Market Street Railway “San Francisco”

Market Street Railway “San Francisco”


Car “San Francisco” is a wooden double end double truck clerestory roof car with lines similar to a small interurban car. It has dual side-by-side headlights and the letter board extends several inches above the edge of the roof. As a school car is was painted all white.


The “San Francisco” was built in 1901 by the St. Louis Car Company for the San Francisco and San Mateo Electric Railway Company as part of a series of 20 seven-center window “California style cars”. The future car “San Francisco” bore the number 61. After that company in 1902 became part of the United Railroads of San Francisco the future car “San Francisco” became part of that company’s 680-class, until it was rebuilt in 1904 into a luxury private party car and named “San Francisco”. When this type of service became unproductive in the 1920s because of the changing nature of society, brought about by the automobile and tour bus, Samuel Kahn, the president of the Market Street Railway (of 1921) recognized that the “San Francisco could become a pivotal piece in his marketing strategy to maximum the public’s good will toward the company. Kahn had the “San Francisco” painted white and it became the company’s school car providing free transportation of school groups over the company’s entire system. Classes were taken on tours of the Company’s Elkton shops. Shut-ins were carried. Because of World War II school trips were ended. After the SFMRy take over in 1944 of the Market Street Railway, the “San Francisco” saw limited charter service before being placed in storage in a walled and tarp enclosure at the rear of the Geneva car house. In 1951, a new MUNI superintendent discovered the car and ordered it scrapped. The Levin Metal Company purchased “San Francisco” for $400.00. Bay Area Electric Railroad Association president Warren Miller offered to buy the entire car from Levin for $600.00. Levin says “no”. BAERA could have the body only for $1,200.00. Soon Levin sold all the metal under gear for scrap and the body for a hotdog stand in the Valley of the Moon. Fortunately, as a hotdog stand the body is not altered. As part of San Francisco’s Maritime Museum ill-fated Project X to create a transportation museum in the Haslett Warehouse, the body was purchased by the Maritime Museum and moved to the Kortum ranch in Penngrove, Sonoma County. After the failure of Project X, the Maritime Museum gifted the San Francisco’s body to BAERA. It arrived at the Western Railway Museum in 1980. Today “San Francisco” rests on the trucks of former Market Street Railway car No. 974.

  • Owners: Market Street “San Francisco”. San Francisco & San Mateo 61. United Railways of San Francisco 680 Class.
  • Technical Data: Wooden interurban car. Built by St. Louis Car Company in 1901. Seats 26 passengers. Weight, 38,300 pounds.
  • Trucks: Brill 27-GE-2. Wheels, 30-inch diameter. Axle. Journals, plain bearings. Traction motors, 4-35 horsepower @ 500 VDC, outside hung.
  • Air Brake Equipment: Air brake equipment. Motorman’s valve. Brake cylinder. Air compressor, National AA-1.
  • Dimensions: Width over steps, 9’ 8”. Width over drips, 8’ 10”. Length over buffers, 37’ 0”. Height. Truck centers, 22’ 0”. Truck wheelbase, 48”.
  • Propulsion Equipment: General Electric type K. Controller, (K-12). Traction motors, (GE-1000). (Gearing, bull 66 teeth, pinion 22 teeth, ratio 3.0 to 1, ?” face). Power resistors.
  • Misc Data: Trolley wheel. Trolley base.
  • Current Condition: This is a body only and has extensive dry rot.
  • Proposed Future Treatment: This car could either receive a heavy restoration or be stabilized and maintained in current condition with some conservation activities.
  • Date Last Modified: Monday, 04 July 2005

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5848 State Highway 12
Suisun City, CA 94585

(707) 374-2978

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