Harvey Milk streetcar rolls back into service

San Francisco is welcoming back a historic streetcar dedicated to gay rights activist and former Supervisor Harvey Milk back in 2008.

City officials rededicated the President’s Conference Committee streetcar No. 1051 to Milk on Wednesday at a ceremony on Castro at 17th streets.

Transit Officials said the 69-year old streetcar is the first of 16 PCCs to return from the Brookville Equipment Corporation in Pennsylvania where crews worked on rehabilitating the streetcar so it can go back into service.

Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, who represents the Castro neighborhood, said the F-Line has contributed to the neighborhood in bringing people into his district:

“The F-Line, with these refurbished streetcars, is just spectacular and has contributed I think so much to the neighborhood, to the merchants to the bringing people up to the Castro to experience our shopping and our businesses and our historic district.”

He thanked the SFMTA and the Market Street Railway for the rededication of the streetcar to Milk and calling Milk a hero.

Crews rewired the rehabilitated streetcar from the inside, which included everything from the electrical and propulsion systems to the rewiring of all the lighting systems, transit officials said.

Robert Parks, a transit supervisor who trains operators on the F-Line, said most of the sheet metal inside is new, along with some of the equipment in the operator cab.

Rick Laubscher, president and CEO of the Market Street Railway, a group that works with the SFMTA to preserve the historic streetcars, said streetcar number 1051 was last renovated 25 years ago and was part of the original F-Line fleet that opened the line in 1995:

“It’s had a lot of hard service because the F-Line draws about 25,000 riders a day.”

Laubscher said Milk was the first supervisor to use the Muni Fast Pass and traveled on Market Street streetcars to and from The Castro and City Hall.

The Market Street Railway placed placards inside the streetcar with information about Milk.

Ed Reiskin, SFMTA director of transportation, said that Muni arguably operates one of the most diverse transit fleets of any transit system in the world:

“Our stewardship over this diverse fleet, all of which compliment each other and all of which serve an important unique purpose, includes making sure that were investing in the vehicles, in the infrastructure, that make the system work.”

Reiskin said it was fitting that the transit agency made the investment to rehabilitate the historic vehicles not only to reflect Muni’s history, but to also honor Milk:

“His civil rights leadership is legendary and is with us today.”

Daniel Bergerac, president of Castro Merchants, said the F-Line is the lifeline for the Castro:

“It lets people come to The Castro in a unique and interesting way that is unavailable in any other city.”

The work on the PCC streetcars is part of a $31.5 million fleet expansion program that includes rehabilitating 26 historic streetcars, funded by local, state and federal funds, transit officials said.