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S.F. Municipal Railway trio

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By SMT-Images   |   
Published: January 13, 2010
3/31/2010 Todd Lappin was kind enough to share some of my photos in his great Market Street Railway Blog! [link]

Market Street Railway is a nonprofit preservation partner of the San Francisco Municipal Railway that oversees San Francisco's vintage streetcar fleet.

From left to right: S.F. Municipal Railway 1135, S.F. Municipal Railway 1169 & S.F. Municipal Railway 1113.

It's not every day you run across a collection of old San Francisco Municipal Railway streetcars rotting away in a field in St. Charles Missouri.

I did a little home work on these, it looks like a local developer, Whittaker Builders purchased these back in 2007 with plans to refurbish them and to use a few as landmarks in their "New Town" development and planned to actually have a few up and running a short 7 mile line through the city of St. Charles. Two years later and they are still sitting here rotting away. The problem seems to be coming up with the estimated $26 million in start up cost it would take to get the line running. Whittaker spent $243,000 buying & transporting the 9 cars from a seller in South Lake Tahoe, California. They were hoping the city could help pay for a portion of the rail developement with federal funds. Alas Whittaker Builders filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy Oct. 15, 2009 so I am sure this project is dead now.

A little history on the cars, they were originally built by the St. Louis Car Company in 1946 and used on the streets of St. Louis until the late 1950's as part of the 1700 series. Amid a gradual phaseout of the area's lines the cars were sold to the San Francisco Municipal Railway in 1957. The 1700 series were re-numbered to the 1100 series and used in S.F. until their retirement in 1982. In 1994 a private group, Tahoe Valley Lines PCC Railway, founded by Gunnar Henrioulle purchased the cars as surplus from SFMR and hoped to create a restored streetcar line in Sacramento or the Lake Tahoe area. He sold 9 of the cars to Whittaker, sold 4 back to SFMR they used as part of the F Market line, and two of them ended up in San Diego.

Built in 1946 by the St. Louis Car Company

length width height : 46' x 9' x 11'2"

weight: 36420#

seats: 55

gauge: 4'8.5"
Image size
3785x2227px 6.04 MB
Shutter Speed
10/2500 second
Focal Length
32 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Jan 13, 2010, 10:57:14 AM
anonymous's avatar
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Myronavitch's avatar
I thought these old gems looked familiar.  I could have used them back when I lived in SF.
dinodanthetrainman's avatar
dinodanthetrainmanHobbyist General Artist
Poor Things, Cool idea tho. Too bad they didn't have the money.
shenanigan87's avatar
shenanigan87Hobbyist Photographer
That's quite an interesting story behind these.

However, every time I see such rolling stock rotting away, I wonder why the owner didn't just cover them with a large tarpaulin. Would protect it from the weather at least a little bit...
SMT-Images's avatar
SMT-ImagesHobbyist Photographer
We have a wondeful Museum Of Transportation here and they do a great job of saving a lot of old trains, street cars etc. If the developer that owns these cars would donate them to the museum they would at least store them and preserve them in thier current state and restore them when funds/time were available. Problem is that developer is bankrupt so I am sure they wouldnt give them away and I know the museum just doesnt have the extra money to buy them. It's a real shame Whittaker is just letting them rot.
shenanigan87's avatar
shenanigan87Hobbyist Photographer
Ah, I see... That's a sad situation for these then. Makes me think of some very interesting trains here that are also rotting away outside. Only three units were built (each with two powered cab cars and two powered middle cars), early high speed multiple units so to speak. [link]
SMT-Images's avatar
SMT-ImagesHobbyist Photographer
Wow to me that's even more of a waste. With only 3 unites being built that is a real piece of history just wasting away. Any idea where the other two are?
shenanigan87's avatar
shenanigan87Hobbyist Photographer
They're standing in Neustrelitz, a town that is also far out of my range. Otherwise, I'd try to visit them for some pictures.

You're right about it being a waste, but nobody gives a crap apparently. When they were retired from service due to the seating capacity being too small (they were still first class only, while the InterCity network was converted to a two class system), Lufthansa comissioned them, and they ran as the Lufthansa Airport Express. But then, corrosion damage became apparent, and neither Lufthansa, nor the Deutsche Bahn wanted to pay for repairs. So they were pushed onto sidings, rotting, being vandalized.

A private rail company bought them, hoping to restore one train while using the other two for spare parts. You can see how much has been done, namely nothing, apart from towing one train here and the other two to Neustrelitz. They wanted to scrap them at one point, now they want to sell them, but I think they're in such a bad shape that one can't even tow them any more!
SMT-Images's avatar
SMT-ImagesHobbyist Photographer
Makes me wish I was rich so I could save all of them myself.
shenanigan87's avatar
shenanigan87Hobbyist Photographer
Oh yes, there's lots of things I'd like to do... Countless clubs trying to keep a closed line in working condition for nostaliga runs, there are so many of them, all plagued by the lack of money.
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