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Ray Mullins
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One thing to remember with San Francisco is that it is based on two numbering schemes: the original Market Street Railway (numbers) and the San Francisco Municipal Railway (letters). (Cable cars originally were just named based on their route.) When streetcar lines were abandoned, Muni replaced with numbers (B Geary became 38 Geary...in San Francisco, the vernacular is to use the line number and letter together). When MSRy went bankrupt, Muni took over almost all routes and kept the numbers in order to avoid confusion. There was some consolidation, especially following the war. The cable car lines are numbered - 59/60 is Powell/Hyde/Mason (I can never remember which one is which) and 61 is California. In fact, what helped trigger the "save the cable cars" movement of the late 1950s-early 1960s was publication of planning maps that used those route numbers for "bustitution". Special owl routes (combinations of multiple routes) are numbered in the 90s (90 and 91 currently). Some other lines also run 24 hours, but they are not If you have serious interest in the numbering scheme of Muni, contact the Western Railway Museum. They have extensive archives from both MSRy and Muni. Additional information can be found in the various Interurban Specials that discuss the history of transit in San Francisco. In the East Bay, the old Key System used lettered routes for the rail lines, which is why the AC Transit Transbay routes are still lettered today. (Remember that originally the lower deck of the Bay Bridge served three rail lines - 50 Internet Points if you can name the other two). Down south, check out the San Fernando Valley Transit History Page (do a Google Search) for an extensive history of bus routes, including number usage. For example, you can see that routes 14-16 at one time were routes that were taken over from Burbank Transit after the war, and routes in the upper 80s were originally Asbury Transit routes in North Hollywood and Burbank. Route numbers in the lower 80s were Pacific Electric routes.
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May 3, 2010