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of Museums

Courthouse Docket

The 40 Line

On Saturday, October 4 at 1 pm, the Courthouse Docket continues with local authors Walter Vielbaum and Robert Townley discussing their book, San Francisco’s Interurban to San Mateo (Images of Rail).
Left: Photo Courtesy SF Municipal Railway.

During their presentation, Vielbaum and Townley will discuss the history of the San Mateo Interurban, better known as The 40 Line. Launched in 1892, the initial segment operated between Market and Steuart Streets out to the San Francisco County limits on San Jose Avenue. By 1903, service was extended to downtown San Mateo. During the line’s heyday, there was talk of extending it further down the Peninsula from San Mateo to Palo Alto to connect with the Peninsular Railway to San Jose. The 1906 earthquake put this plan on hold. Following much the same route as today’s Mission Street, El Camino Real, and Caltrain, the San Mateo Interurban carried over four million passengers a year along its main and spur lines until 1949, when the system was shut down amidst much fanfare.

Authors and San Francisco Market Street Railway members Walter Vielbaum and Bob Townley have had a lifetime interest in Bay Area transit. Vielbaum was the owner of Pacific Auto Repair, the oldest continuing auto shop in Burlingame, which is now owned by his son. Bob Townley is a retired train control signal engineer that has worked on many transit systems. His latest job was working on the train control for BART’s extension to San Jose.

A book signing will follow the presentation. Afterwards, visit the exhibit Journey to Work to discover more about streetcars in San Mateo County.

Next on the Docket

Saturday, November 15: Una Storia Segreta with Larry Distasi.
Saturday, December 6: Holiday Concert with the SFSU Handbell Concert

The Courthouse Docket is a monthly series of presentations held in the History Museum's Historic Courthroom A. The Courthouse Docket Series is sponsored by Cypress Lawn Heritage Foundation.
The Cypress Lawn Heritage Foundation Board of Directors: Lewis Coleman, Charles Crocker, James C. Flood, JB McIntosh, Peter T. Pope, Richard T. Thieriot and Michael R. V. Whitman.
Saturday, October 4, 2014
1 p.m.
History Museum, Courtroom A
$6 for adults, $4 for seniors & students
Click here for event flyer.
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