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A slice of Hidden History Pt.1- Streamliners Stranded in SF.

April 29, 2008

While driving around San Francisco trying to locate the California College of the Arts branch in San Francisco, we stumbled upon quite an unusual sight.. Hidden behind a high security fence, appeared to be a Streamlined Observation car. Rusted rails leading into the fenced area further re-inforced this assumption. Being keen on finding old abandoned right of ways, it wasn’t hard to imagine how they got there. You can almost always tell where an old rail line weaved it’s way through any landscape, especially in cities where buildings were built around in the right of way at odd angles, the most visually interesting can be found in Los Angeles here: but I digress. Anyways, we drove around the block, and walked into the adjacent building, which was an Art center and printing studio. We suprised the proprietor, but she understood my enthusasiam after a bit of explination. Luckly, they had LARGE plate-glass windows looking right on the cars which made for some interesting photographs:

The view from the street tipped us off.

Looking though the window on history:

I couldn’t figure out the original owner of this car. The circle of rivets in the foreground probably might be a clue to this car’s heritage. IF YOU KNOW, PLEASE leave a comment to correct me on it’s original owner. My guess would be either

Thanks to some ghosted lettering on the side, this one revealed it’s ex- New York Central heritage.  

Both cars had “RPKD 1991” stenciled on their trucks with “AMTK” and a date as well. So obviously they were refurbished long enough back in 1991 to be moved over some distance to it’s location in the former industrial area of san francisco. If you were to follow where the tracks used to go they’d eventually lead you to the US 101 and the I-80 interchange, and to a ballpark and some older homes on the other. Assuming that the track would have continued under the freeway, they would have probably gone right up 9th Street, or curved around a corner onto townsend street and into the terminal yard at Townsend. My assumptions correlate nicely compared to this map found here:

The Car shown from the street is probably a Budd product, but other than that, I have no idea.

Here’s where you can find them:

Make sure to check out the BIRD’s EYE view for a much closer look!


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