A scene on San Francisco’s Market Street in 1943. Tramcar 103 is picking up passengers before turning off onto Duboce Avenue prior to entering the 4,642-long Sunset Tunnel and heading east to Judah. San Francisco is unusual in that its tram routes are distinguished by letters rather than numbers; this car is on route N.

The tramcar was built in 1914 by Jewett Car Co of Ohio for San Francisco Municipal Railway and had seating for fifty people. It was part of an order for 125 cars to expand the Municipal Railway (‘Muni’) service for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in the Marina District. During the Second World War the San Francisco tram livery was royal blue panels with gold window frames.

Muni 103

A mock up of a tram with the same number is now part of an exhibit in the San Francisco Railway Museum in Market Street, although the original tramcar 103 was probably scrapped in the 1950s as the entire electric tramcar fleet was replaced by PCC cars by 1958. Only numbers 130 and 162 of the 125 cars are thought still to exist. Both are operating on San Francisco’s historic F line service, which uses vintage tramcars, including Blackpool ‘boat’ 228. The F line runs along the same part of Market Street as the section of the N route shown in the photograph.

So, a typical day in San Francisco during the Second World War. But what is the British Army doing parading along Market Street? The men were part of the First Composite Demonstration Battery Royal Artillery and were touring America demonstrating anti-aircraft techniques. Heading the column is Captain Clifford Cole whose book about the American tour was published in January 2012. Concerning San Francisco he says:

‘The parade went well but we had to break line to pass a tram, or streetcar as they say over here. We were welcomed on the City Hall steps by the mayor of San Francisco, who offered us the Keys of the City.’

More details from

Tramcar statistics:

Length: 47 feet 1 inch
Width: 9 feet 2 inches
Height: 12 feet 3 inches
Weight: 48,000 lbs
Motors: 4 Westinghouse 532A
Controller: Westinghouse HL
Brakes: Westinghouse SME Air
Trucks: Baldwin L-plate