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Don's Rail Photos

United Railroads of San Francisco

Market Street Railway

601 thru 662 series cars


By Bob Townley

The United Railroads of San Francisco was formed in 1902 as a consolidation of the (first) Market Street Railway, Sutter Street Railway, Sutro Railroad and San Francisco and San Mateo Electric Railway. Most of these companies used a standard single truck California type car, similar in appearance to today’s double truck California Street cable car. By 1905 these cars consisted of 214 cars numbered between 551 and 1183 and all were built by local carbuilders Hammond, Carter, Holman and O’Brian. Cars had either Brill or Peckham Single Trucks and were built during the 1890s. 1175 was later renumbered 650. 810 was renumbered 654 and later 624.


After the 1906 Fire and Earthquake, 28 surplus cars were sold to the Presidio and Ferries, an independent street railway. The P&F was taken over by the Municipal Ry during the 1910s and the route was designated the "E" line. In the early 1920s the Muni in turn replaced the cars with a unique center entrance single truck car.


In 1911 and 1912, the best of what remained of the URR single truck street cars were rebuilt and renumbered into the 601 to 662 class and were used on those routes still using single truck cars. The last line to still use single truck cars was the unique Fillmore Hill counterbalance line, which was abandoned on April 5, 1941.


The Fillmore Hill line was an extension of route #22 (Fillmore). The #22 line ended at Broadway and Fillmore and the Fillmore Hill extension ran on Fillmore from Broadway to Marina Blvd. The two block section from Broadway to Green was so steep that normal traction could not be used. Two cars (one at the top of the hill, the other at the bottom) were attached to the cable and the weight of the downhill car would help the up bound car climb the hill. The last car up the hill at night would be helped by work car #02 a weighted dummy that was left overnight in the middle of the street. The first car in the morning would haul the dummy car up the hill. 


Several of the cars were converted for work car service, such as the 0607, which was the 24th Street Car House sand car. 


One of these single truck cars still remains in service on the Municipal Railway. Car #578 was built in 1895 for the (first) Market Street Railway, but was never renumbered into the 600 series. Prior to 1911 it became work car #0601 and was assigned to Geneva car house as a sand car. In the mid 1950s the car was restored to it’s original appearance and was first used in public as part of a parade in April 1956 commemorating the 50th anniversary of the great fire and earthquake of 1906. It is now part of Muni’s historic car fleet and is used on occasion on Market Street.

The editor also has the following additions to this page.


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