Picture in Time: San Francisco 1326

Another instalment of “Picture in Time” and its another image taken in the UK but of a tram from overseas.

At the start of this century Manchester Metrolink were looking for increased capacity on the network and as part of a fact finding mission they imported two trams from San Francisco. These were two Boeing trams of 1977 vintage – one of which, 1326, is pictured below at Queens Road Depot.

1326 arrived in Manchester in 2001 and it was eventually decided that the trams were not suitable for operation on Metrolink. It did linger on at the depot for several years though and it was not until 2008 that it was scrapped. The other tram imported – 1226 – was transferred to Derby.

Photograph by Keith Chadbourne

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6 Responses to Picture in Time: San Francisco 1326

  1. Geoff Currie says:

    Were they offered for preservation to any organisation or individual?

    • Steve Hyde says:

      The two cars were bought and imported to UK by Serco Metrolink in 2001. 1326 was delivered direct to Queen’s Road and did eventually make an eventful return trip to Eccles via Piccadilly Undercroft hauled by the SPV. Subsequently the scope of conversion was deemed too great to be feasible.1326 remained at Queen’s Road until a few months after the Serco Metrolink contract ended and Stagecoach Metrolink took over. It was offered to the heritage movement before being scrapped but there was no interest at all. I don’t know anything regarding the fate of 1226 at Derby other than that it lingered at Serco Rail Test for quite a while.

  2. Ken Jones says:

    It was proposed that these vehicles could be middle cars between two T68 trams. If the trials were a success, more vehicles would’ve been purchased at the price of £170 plus the 15k for shipping. Not to mention they would’ve had to splash the cash on modifying their door height to match the platforms on the Metrolink system.This project was abandoned after 1326 suffered from multiple derailments after trial runs, deeming the vehicles unusable. 1326 was scrapped in 2009, but 1226 sat in a industrial estate in Derby and painted grey where it sat abandoned and essentially has since 2002 when the project was axed. Whether its still there i’m not sure,

    • Steve Hyde says:

      It was never the idea that the Boeing cars would be used between T68s. Metrolink was and still is configured around the operation of pairs of 30 metre units so the use of three car sets would never have been possible. 1326 only ever made one test run to and from Eccles and never actually derailed although it did need some coaxing round some of the tighter curves. They were intended to be used as single units to provide extra capacity at peak times and as the route of the one off test run implies they would have been used on the Eccles line.

  3. Brian Smith says:

    The answer is a regrettable no! I recall reading that when these units arrived in the UK, they were in a straight out of service condition, complete with discarded chinese language newspapers on the seats!

  4. Nigel Pennick says:

    I rode on this type of tram in San Francisco and they were rather odd compared with other trams I rode on in many countries. I believe the aerospace engineers, having no experience of rail vehicles, designed everything from scratch, so integrating them with existing rail vehicles was a non-starter.

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