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December 1984 - Page 37

T ransit
M uni
B y D on J ewell

This year's Summer Historic Trolley Festival has again received a good reception by the public as well as the news media. As many as seven o f the cars could be found in service on any given day. The Vera Cruz car, No. 001, finally entered revenue service on Saturday, August 12. M uni shop personnel performed considerable work to the traction motors and electrical gear on the car at Metro Center. Since it is a single-end, open-bench car, its regular operation was restricted to Market Street between Transbay Terminal and Van Ness Avenue, using the 11th Street wye. For obvious safety reasons, this open car could not be operated on the N-Judah line through Sunset Tunnel, where the other single-end cars were assigned. Although running on a much shorter route, the Vera C ruz car quickly attracted heavy ridership once it became a "regular" on Market Street. T he Milan (Italy) car No. 1834 arrived in San Francisco on the afternoon o f Friday, August 4. It had arrived by ship in Oakland and made the final short journey to San Francisco. T he car was received in good condition, but Muni decided to do some work to the car before placing it in service. Handrail stanchions were installed throughout the interior for passenger safety, and the woodwork was revarnished. After operator training, car 1834 was placed in regular service on the weekend o f August 26. It has been running ever since on the N -Judah

line, usually all the way to the Beach Terminal, because it does not have a rear controller needed to back into the wye at 30th Avenue. This car was an 'immediate hit with both the regular N line riders and visitors to the City. Given the heavy ridership o fLRVs on the N line and the additional popularity o f the few historic streetcars run on this line, perhaps the next trolley festival should concentrate on Market Street and N line service only, so that all festival cars would be on one regular route with more reliable headways. Restored double-end P CC 1006 entered regular service in mid-July. Although not fully rewired or operational as a double-end car yet, its exterior appearance is very near its original 1948 look, with only the taillights on its front end missing. This year it is running as a single-end car on the N line. Next year further work may be done to completely return the 1006 to its original condition. To further complement ' the historic streetcars, Muni's restored Marmon-Herrington trolley coach 776 was run during weekends on the 8-Market Street line. Unfortunately, Muni's operating budget for this year's festival began to r un out sooner than expected. Consequently, the festival was finally shortened by two weeks and ended on Monday, September 17. Passenger counts on weekdays were disap-pointing this year, causing a reduction in expected revenues. T he r eturn o f the cable cars has had some effect, but this year's festival was also not given the publicity it deserved. Its odd five-day schedule using two different routes caused very irregular headways on Market Street and confusion for most passengers. Some o f the historic streetcars will continue to run on weekends only until the rainy season starts, probably through the ThanksUntil it lost a case in U.S. District Court in 1949, National City Lines was influenced a great deal by several major stockholders, including General Motors Corp., Standard Oil Co. o f California, Firestone T ire & Rubber, Mack Manufacturing and Phillips Petroleum. These firms and N CL, a jury decided, were guilty o f antitrust violations because o f the way National City Lines bought products from the bus, tire and oil companies. One way City Lines raised money to buy transit companies was to sell stock to the other defendants which, in return for their investment, were given exclusive contracts to supply buses and related products. There is an additional argument that General Motors deliberately scrapped rail systems to encourage greater use o f its automobiles. T hat is the basis o f the so-called "conspiracy theory." Whether or not G M conspired to sell its automobiles in that manner is not the topic

glvmg weekend. T he cars will run each Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p .m. T here is talk among city officials that these cars may run every weekend indefinitely, until a permanent historic trolley line is established.

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

Because o f insufficient federal funds to construct an 18.6, or even an 8.8 mile initial Metro subway, S CRTD released an Environmental Assessment document for a fourmile line running from Union Station to the intersection o f Wilshire Blvd. and Alvarado St. A public hearing to gather testimony on the environmental effects o f this route was held on August 30. T he transit district estimates that by the year 2000, 55,000 passengers will board the system daily. SCRTD also revealed it would require only 30 cars to operate in four-car trains for most o f the day in stations designed for a maximum o f six-car trains. Although support is eroding, the Los Angeles City Council voted on September I I to commit $7 million for the Metro Rail construction fund. T he i mportance o f this rather small sum was to send a signal to the F eds that the region is allocating local dollars in support o f M etro Rail anticipating that U MTA will soon sign a " letter o f i ntent" to begin construction o f the four-mile segment, and later to agree to sign a " letter o f no prejudice" for funds that will be available in the future. o f this discussion. What can be proved, in my opinion, is that National City Lines deliberately scrapped many American urban rail systems. T hat City Lines subsidiaries bought a few h undred P CC cars is hardly evidence that they were interested in streetcars. Only four properties retained significant street ail way operations after City Lines took over: Baltimore Transit, Philadelphia Transportation, St. Louis Public Service and Los Angeles Transit Lines. (A fifth, El Paso, bought 20 secondhand PCCs from San Diego in 1950 and 1952, because it was forced by a governmental agreement to retain rail service into Mexico. This situation has no bearing on our discussion.) Except for Los Angeles Transit, N CL did not entirely own the major transit systems that retained rail operation, although it might be argued City Lines had enough stock to exercise considerable i f not total control.

B y H arre W . D emoro
Having done considerable research, much o f it published, on National City Lines and its impact on electric railway abandonments, I was intrigued to read that some historians point to ownership o f P CC cars when they argue there was no conspiracy to replace streetcars with motor buses . The PCC (for Presidents' Conference Committee) streetcar was designed in the 1930s as a super vehicle to rescue the street railway industry from motor bus and automobile competition.

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