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Thread: I love streetcars....

  1. #1
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    Default I love streetcars....




    And San Francisco is streetcar heaven....

    Jeff C

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    Chicago had some of those rubber-tired/electrics when I was kid. Shoud they be called "Hybrids"?

    I've been on electric streetcars in lots of cities, SF, New Orleans, Chicago, Portland (their rapid transit trains run at street level with stops every three blocks or so. Long Beach CA even has one by the harbor. They make lots of sense.

    Too bad they tend to be thought of as "a Liberal thing" that Conservatives won't support.

    Moby Nick

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....


    I love streetcars including the old munis in San Francisco. They have their fair share of accidents. In a city as old and dense as SF using the streets can be a challenge. There is a mix of rail, cars, trucks, busses, bicycles and pedestrians that can seem bewildering at times. Then you have all of those blind hilltops.

    SF drivers are quite talented but often ignore traffic signals, like the Italian drivers I saw in Turin. In fact, nobody in SF seems to pay much attention to traffic lights. It's a miracle that more people aren't killed.

    Traveling in San Francisco can be dangerous, as outlined in this article.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/...entry_id=80570
    "Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over." -Samuel Clemens

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    The San Francisco "F" line is a heritage streetcar line, with equipment collected from, and painted for various streetcar lines from the US and Europe.

    The line serves as a mass transit option for the city--but it has also become a very popular tourist attraction.

    Jeff C

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    If you are ever up that way, visit the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. (Spell checker never heard of Kennebunkport.) They have all kinds of trolley cars, or street cars or trams, whatever you want to call them. We had a ride out of town for a few miles on on of the open streetcars that were once very popular in the summer.

    Boston was the last home for the PCC (Presidents Conference Cars) cars that ran on the Green Line. The Green Line subway in Boston has such tight curves that only a street car could negotiate them. The PCC cars couldn't do much more that 33 mph. At that speed they start to sway. They are all been replaced by articulated trams, built in Europe, I believe.

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....




    This is another, much shorter, video showing a good sampling of the cars....

    Jeff C

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    I love em too and lucky enough to live near a trolley museum that still runs a live track of about one mile which goes over a tidal marsh.



    http://www.bera.org/

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    Loved the video. It was a bit jumpy here, so I went directly to YouTube. I have an HO model of a Dewitt.

    Rail streetcars are trying to make a comeback here in Washington D.C.. And back in the 60s, my Wife's Grandfather drove one of the last original streetcars here in D.C..
    They kept me up all night, but in the morning, they fed me BACON.

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    A streetcar that I rode while in Turin, 2008. These articulated cars are of more recent vintage. Turin is the home of Fiat but the city has a good public transportation system that is heavily used.

    "Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over." -Samuel Clemens

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    My Dad rode the streetcars in Washington DC when he worked for the War Department. His complaint was that just when they got rolling they had to stop for a red light, just like cars. That is why Boston put its street cars underground in the core of the city.

    The Washington Metro is a joy and delight.

    Once upon a time you could go from NYC to Boston by street car, using transfers. It would be a slow trip.

    I am old enough to remember the interurbans. There was an interurban line near the farm in Illinois. These were cross country street cars that could do 70 mph. They earned a deadly reputation at grade crossings.

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    A nice video of a restored and running Birney car or "Cooty Car" in common use between the world wars. Be patient: this video take a minute to load.

    http://www.wrm.org/video/62.mov
    "Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over." -Samuel Clemens

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    Any named Desire?

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    Toronto has the largest streetcar system on the continent. The cars are not as picturesque as the San Francisco's, though:


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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    Bruce beat me to it. I lived in Toronto, briefly, and their public transport system was first rate. It was years back, but I think it has trolley's running North South and buses East West.


    They make a whole lot of sense! The last city I lived in, Baltimore, ran some buses, and Cleveland, where I grew up, ran buses and a single train line, but nothing as elaborate and on time as Toronto's system. It's a pleasant way to get around a city, especially at the rush hours. You can sit and read the paper or have a chat with the stranger you sat down next to. All in all a much superior solution to sitting in a automobile during gridlock.

    I attended college at a small school that was two plus hours from my parent's home. I couldn't afford a car, and my parents couldn't afford to buy one for me, so on holidays I rode the dog, aka Greyhound. You never knew who you were going to meet. I had some memorable conversations with people I likely wouldn't have rubbed shoulders with otherwise, all of them pleasant.
    Last edited by ishmael; 01-18-2011 at 07:45 AM.

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    Quote Originally Posted by ishmael View Post
    I lived in Toronto, briefly, and their public transport system was first rate. It was years back, but I think it has trolley's running North South and buses East West.


    They make a whole lot of sense! The last city I lived in, Baltimore, ran some buses, and Cleveland, where I grew up, ran buses, but nothing as elaborate and on time as Toronto's system.
    They're the only city in Canada that kept their trolleys. Every other city that had them tore up the rails.

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    In San Francisco, I love riding the historic Muni trams: so many different types and colors. It's a wonder they can keep them running.



    But I'm glad they do.

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    I recall a show, perhaps 20 years ago, aired on PBS which outlined the history of our mass transit on the west coast (only, I believe), and the cause of its demise. The automakers, in concert with big oil, and OEM manufacturers, conspired to buy up the assets - and destroy them. They looked at it as an investment in THEIR future. I don't recall when this took place, many years ago. Their efforts were focused on blocking a resurrection of mass transit, esp. trolleys etc.

    What's interesting is, I've never seen that program repeated, unusual.
    There's a lot of things they didn't tell me when I signed on with this outfit....

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    Quote Originally Posted by George Jung View Post
    The automakers, in concert with big oil, and OEM manufacturers, conspired to buy up the assets - and destroy them.
    Here's a Wikipedia entry on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_A...eetcar_Scandal


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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    San Francisco has several ex-New Orleans Perley Thomas streetcars on the roster. At least one is operating.

    Combining mass transit with tourism is an extremely smart move for any municipality, IMO.

    Jeff C

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    Quote Originally Posted by ahp View Post

    I am old enough to remember the interurbans. There was an interurban line near the farm in Illinois. These were cross country street cars that could do 70 mph. They earned a deadly reputation at grade crossings.
    The Oakland, Antioch and Eastern Railway ran a high speed passenger service on their own tracks between Sacramento and San Francisco from 1913 to 1940. The 62-ton electric locomotives pulled up to six steel passenger cars. OA&E was later acquired by the Sacramento Northern Railway. This passenger line competed with the Southern Pacific Railroad that used steam locomotives on their own route. Both railways competed with steam boats that plied the Sacramento River route. The steamers and electric trains died out at about the same time. I drive over an abandoned stretch of the OA&E tracks every time I make a trip to the boat.

    The caption underneath this photo is not quite correct. 1200 VDC was used to power these locomotives and 70 MPH was possible with lighter loads.
    "Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over." -Samuel Clemens

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    On my last trip to Minnesota I stopped in Mason City, Iowa to see if I could catch any Iowa Traction steeplecabs running, but no luck....

    Jeff C

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    Quote Originally Posted by George Jung View Post
    I recall a show, perhaps 20 years ago, aired on PBS which outlined the history of our mass transit on the west coast (only, I believe), and the cause of its demise. The automakers, in concert with big oil, and OEM manufacturers, conspired to buy up the assets - and destroy them. They looked at it as an investment in THEIR future. I don't recall when this took place, many years ago. Their efforts were focused on blocking a resurrection of mass transit, esp. trolleys etc.

    What's interesting is, I've never seen that program repeated, unusual.
    Who Framed Roger Rabbit deals with it as well - in a more entertaining way......

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    Nice to see the PCC cars, including a few of the prototypes. That fleet is the finest bunch of PCC's in the world, I have been told.
    Mr Dillon's shot of the open-air Brill car from the Muse in Conn is a splendid example of a rather rare car. It was built with curtains made out od aawning material for rainy weather. The fact that it was not used in cold weather made it a costly investment with limited return. The technique was for the Line to build an amusement park out in the country, and with these pre-air conditioning cars, transport city crowds to the park in comfort. In fact, Lines also used this technique, only instead of amusement parks they bought up large tracts of land in the country, and sold them off for houses, thereby creating the Suburbs.

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    "Desire": My first wife had an uncle named Desire (pronounced "de-zer-a", long "a"). Most people just called him "Dish". He liked to say that he was the only guy he knew who had a streecar named after him.

    Moby Nick

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    "The automakers, in concert with big oil, and OEM manufacturers, conspired to buy up the assets - and destroy them."

    I'm not big on conspiracy theory, but as I understand it this was a real one. My best friend when I was growing up was the son of a local haberdashers. They were tapped into the local community, and that's where I first heard it.

    I can vouch, having walked a lot of those woods, that there was a extensive system of electric trams, circa 1925 from what I've read. The raised rail beds are often extant, the rails gone.

    Big auto bought them up and dismantled them.

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    Quote Originally Posted by ishmael View Post
    "The automakers, in concert with big oil, and OEM manufacturers, conspired to buy up the assets - and destroy them."

    I'm not big on conspiracy theory, but as I understand it this was a real one. My best friend when I was growing up was the son of a local haberdashers. They were tapped into the local community, and that's where I first heard it.

    I can vouch, having walked a lot of those woods, that there was a extensive system of electric trams, circa 1925 from what I've read. The raised rail beds are often extant, the rails gone.

    Big auto bought them up and dismantled them.
    whether or not it was an electric line can often be determined, in cases where a map of said lines is not at hand, by examining the surrounding area for things like insulators that held the overhead wire. About the time that the electrics were coming out, no one was buying used parts, and there was little incentive to collect the pieces, except the rail and associated hardware.
    In actuality, the auto maker thing happened considerably after the interurban lines (those through the countryside) were torn up. The auto maker thing was about urban lines, street cars, not those big cars that would struggle to make the curves in the city, but would fly through rural America (and much of the rest of the electrified world) at speeds over 65 MPH, which was a big deal back in, say, 1910.

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    BTW the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine can tell you with a phone call exactly what that woodland line was, where it went, etc. Likely they have a car from that line.

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    Aesthetically, electric streetcars, regardless whether they ride on rubber tires or iron rails, sure beat alternatives like Chicago's "Ell" which is a "third rail" electric railroad elevated above the streets so that the roadbed virtually obliterate most of the direct sunlight that might reach street level sidewalks and shops. The overhead wires for ordinary streetcars shade sunlight even less than the concrete overhead structures for "monorails" such as that at Walt Disney World.

    Moby Nick

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    The dedicated right-of-way offered by an EL or subway is tempting for an urban area, but the expense of building the infrastructure is extremely high when compared to street level overhead wire.

    Jeff C

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....




    One last streetcar video. This is an ex TTC Peter Witt car.

    Jeff C

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....







    Something other than politics....


    Jeff C

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    I remember the streetcars in Baltimore. My grandmother took me on them before they all gave way to buses. Now, all they have are a few motorized "streetcars" to take the tourists around the Inner Harbor. Another modern "improvement" that didn't make life better.

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    Seattle has a new trolly - the South Lake Union Trolley. She even has a song.

    She’s the fastest girl you’d ever see.
    She’s the South Lake Union Trolley.
    The S.L.U.T. is a bump and grind machine
    You can ride the S.L.U.T. down to the lake
    You can take her on a coffee break


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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    Quote Originally Posted by ishmael View Post
    Bruce,

    Just a note, the trollies that were prowling Toronto thirty years ago came from Cleveland, OH. For some damn idiot reason Cleveland dismantled its trolly system and shipped the cars off to Toronto.
    Not just Cleveland...Toronto bought up old fleets from Cincinatti, Louisville, Birmingham and Kansas City.

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    Default Re: I love streetcars....

    Quote Originally Posted by ahp View Post
    My Dad rode the streetcars in Washington DC when he worked for the War Department. His complaint was that just when they got rolling they had to stop for a red light, just like cars. That is why Boston put its street cars underground in the core of the city.

    The Washington Metro is a joy and delight.

    Once upon a time you could go from NYC to Boston by street car, using transfers. It would be a slow trip.

    I am old enough to remember the interurbans. There was an interurban line near the farm in Illinois. These were cross country street cars that could do 70 mph. They earned a deadly reputation at grade crossings.
    It was possible, with a two mile walk in Ohio, to get from Boston to Chicago in street car and interurban lines. The cars in the country were called interurbans, and actually created suburban America, by buying large tracts out in the farmlands and installing a rail corridor, and selling off building lots. You often still see remains of interurban lines out to some of the older amusement parks, which were another fare-producing scheme.

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