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Don's Rail Photos

United Railroads of San Francisco

Market Street Railway

Cars 1500 to 1549


These 50 cars were built by American Car Co. of St. Louis in 1906 for the Chicago City Railway and were the first of an order of some 200 cars of this type for Chicago. Following the 1906 disaster in which URR was badly hurt and had to obtain replacement cars in a hurry, URR President Patrick Calhoun made a trip to the St. Louis area car builders in a desperate search for any available rolling stock. These 50 cars were completed and ready to be shipped to Chicago, but Calhoun's plea for them was graciously received (there was an abundance of sympathy around the nation for San Francisco at the time) and the Chicago company allowed Calhoun to purchase the cars.

The 1500 class cars were closed, single compartment cars, incorporating a popular Chicago feature, that of removable window sashes; in summer these cars could be an airy open vehicle, and in winter they were snug and warm with windows again in place. Needless to say, this feature would have been anything but popular in the San Francisco climate, so the windows were never removed throughout all the years they operated.

As built, this class was of the non-prepayment type, with a passenger boarding at either the front or rear and paying the conductor after selecting his seat; the conductor then rang up the fare on a register. In 1911-1912 all 50 cars were converted to Pay As You Enter operation.

When these cars arrived in San Francisco in May 1906, cars 5200-5212 had Chicago City Railway numbers and insignia, plus folding doors on all four corners. Cars 1516-1549 were lettered and numbered for United Railroads at American Car Company's plant in St. Louis; these had no doors but had pantograph gates installed on all four corners in St. Louis. Their Chicago paint scheme of medium dark green body, tile red window sash and roof, with striping and lettering in golden yellow was well received by San Franciscans; URR had intended to repaint the cars in its standard maroon and cream as soon as the pressing need for cars passed, but owing to the popularity of the Chicago paint job decided to adopt it as it's own. (end of quote)

Here are photos of a couple of these cars shortly after delivery and in the late 1930s.


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