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October 1984 - Page 37


Transit
M uni
B y D on J ewell

R eturn o f t he C ables T he cable cars are running again I II San Francisco! On T hursday, June 21, amid a gala ci vic celebration that lasted for four days, regular service resumed on all three cable car lines. This important day was preceded by several hectic weeks o f crew training and last-minute work to complete the track and cable machinery on time. Even as cable car service started, several related projects were still not finished. Streets in front o f and near the Washington-Mason cable car house were still unfinished due to construction o f the cable machinery vaults under those thoroughfares. All these vaults and the trackway above them were completed on time, but a strike by concrete teamsters in the Bay Area delayed the finish o f streets and sidewalks adjacent to the tracks. And the cable car house itself was still missing all o f its windows. Clear plastic had been placed over all 57 window openings to protect the cars and machinery inside, and the new windows were to be installed in the near future. T he window frames for the cable house took quite some time to fabricate, since only two o f the windows in the preserved car house walls were the same size. Some o f the cable cars themselves also were not ready for opening day. Last November Muni shop forces began a major project to repair and strengthen the cable car bodies. Initially, during the cable car system rehabilitation major work was not going to be done to the cars, except to do truck and wheel work and add improved brakes and a more efficient lighting system. However, as the cars were e xamined a nd i mpro vements begun at Pier 70, where the cars were being stored, serious body deterioration was discovered in a majority o f the cars. An appropriation o f$2 million by the City in the fall o f 1983 provided the funding for this car rebuilding. Each car was individually inspected, and all wood and panel sections were replaced as needed, including repairs to the roofs o f some cars. T he underframes o f every car received steel reinforcing to strengthen the b odies-an item which has increased the weight o f each car by approximately two tons. T he single-end Powell Street cars now weigh 15,500 pounds and the double-end California Street cars weigh in at 16,800 pounds. On opening day 34 cable cars o f the 40-car fleet were ready for service, with the remainder nearing completion o f their repairs and

repainting. As to the repainting o f the Powell Street cars, all but one have been painted in the new white/maroon/blue colors. O nly Powell car No. 3 was renewed in the old ivory/green paint as a reminder o f the previous colors. Following the opening day celebrations the cable car system ran on its full schedule through that weekend, but starting Tuesday, June 26, the cable lines were alternately shut down for periods o f a few hours to a full day on one or two lines at a time so that adjustments could be made to\the cable machinery (and work finished on some o f the incompleted projects). Full service resumed Saturday, June 30. After the concrete strike was settled, additional construction work was performed during the evenings o fJuly 8-12, and by Friday, July 13, the cable car system was again back in full operation, this time hopefully for good! 1984 H istoric T rolley F estival M uni's second Historic Trolley Festival began with a civic parade up Market Street on Thursday, June 7. Eleven streetcars took part in the opening ceremony with the mayor again at the controls o f the first car. T his year's historic cars include several that ran last y ear-Muni 's " Iron Monsters" Nos. 1, 130, 178, and P CC 1040, plus Blackpool " Boat" No. 226, Hamburg No. 3557, Melbourne No. 648, Oporto No. 189 and St. Louis Public Service P CC (Muni No. 1128) No . 1704. Additional cars appearing this year include one from Milan, Italy and Vera Cruz, Mexico car N o.1, a single-truck, open -b ench car. T he Vera Cruz car broke down during the opening day parade and had not returned to service as o f late July. Also, the Milan car was still en route to San F r ancisco in early July and was not expected to arrive until about August 1. M uni BoeingVertol LRV 1213 is again being used as a backup car for the festival, and LRV 1212 has also received trolley poles to provide an additional spare car. One other restored Muni P CC returned to service in this year's Trolley Festival in July. Double-end P CC 1006 was returned to Metro Center from storage at Pier 70 during early May, where it was cosmetically restored to its double-end appearance when it was delivered new in 1948 from the builder. Another historic car almost made this year's festival when Sacramento Northern Birney Safety car No. 62 was brought to the City from the California Railway Museum at Rio Vista in mid-May. After considerable testing on M uni rails it was found that car 62 's mainline wheels and deep flanges were not compatible with street trackage, especially on the older track on Market Street. Birney 62 was reluctantly returned to Rio Vista, and M uni No. 178 again returned to the City for this year's operations. T he 1984 Trolley Festival will operate

daily except Tuesday and Wednesday through October 1. All double-end cars operate over the same route as last year, Transbay Terminal to 17th and Castro Streets. Single-end cars such as the PCCs and the Hamburg 3557 have a new route this year, running from the Transbay Terminal to 30th Avenue and J udah S treet on the N -Judah line. Special Trolley Festival F -Market Street dash signs have been made for the fronts o f most o f the older cars, and new front rollsigns appear on the PCCs as well as the Hamburg car.

L os A ngeles T ransit P rospects
B y J im S eal

W ilshire M etro R ail: Even though the Urban Mass Transportation Administration gave the Metro Rail project a second-place ranking based on a revised system o f priorities that included local financial backing and cost effectiveness that included ridership and operating costs, a week earlier on May 8 U MTA denied long-term authorization for the full 18-mile line. R TD planners were requested to shorten the first phase o f the project which was to have been 8.8 miles. In a June 4th letter to U MTA administrator Ralph Stanley, John Dyer, R TD district general manager, asked for a Letter o fIntent to finance construction o f a 4-mile segment. T his initial increment would cost $1.174 billion and allow line construction from Union Station to Alvarado Street with stations at the Civic Center, 5th and Hill, and 7th and Flower. Costs also include central maintenance yard and control systems. Dyer is also requesting a " letter o f no prejudice" for the remaining 14 .6 miles so as not to lose the backing o f Valley and Hollywood supporters who have expressed on occasion their concern that the Wilshire line may not reach their communities. T he J une 4th letter was also in response to a House Appropriations' approval in May o f only $117.2 million ( RTD's scaled-down request was for $234 million to start construction). O n J une 7, the House boosted the spirits o f M etro Rail backers by overwhelmingly approving the bill sponsored by Rep. Glenn Anderson to increase appropriations from the nickel gas tax fund o f which a penny is devoted to mass transit. Included is an additional $200 million for new rail s tarts-a portion o f this increase could flow to the Metro Rail project i f the senate and President Reagan adopt this approach. One loca1 politician has decided that the survivability o f the Metro Rail project can be exploited in next spring's mayoral race. L.A. City Councilman John Ferraro's characterization o f M etro Rail as a " rat hole" is being
PACIFIC N EWS 37

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