949 PRESIDIO AVENUE
SAN FRANCISCO,CALIF 94115
15 December 1989
TO: Mayor Art Agnos
SUBJECT: Municipal Railway Earthquake Notebook Tuesday, 17 October 1989, 5:04 PM
At 5:04 PM, 17 October 1989 when the 7.1 earthquake hit, the Muni Railway was winding down an early rush hour.
Approximately 80 diesel buses were assigned to World Series service for game number 3 at Candlestick Park. The rush hour came early as non-ticket holding baseball fans hurried home to watch the San Francisco Giants overcome a 2-0 deficit against the Oakland Athletics. Approximately 830 vehicles were in service at the time of the quake. One hundred electric light rail vehicles, 260 electric trolley buses, 25 cable cars, and 420 diesel buses. All electric Modes come to an instant halt when PG&E power was lost. The Muni was totally dependent on its diesel fleet until the following morning. We were fortunate that PG&E restored power to the electric fleets on October 17th itself. The electric fleets pulled into their storage yards, were serviced and readied for the following morning.
The events of the following days are documented in the pages that follow. Muni had lost over 50 percent of its transport capability for the first 12 hours of the quake. The diesel operation did much to pick up the extra load.
Each year the Muni participates along with all other city departments in the annual earthquake preparedness exercise sponsored as a joint federal, state, and local event. Although everyone rehearses with the upmost of seriousness and responsibility, you are never ready for the reality when it comes.
The preparation paid off for Muni. Even with limited communication and direction, Muni personnel carried on, moving people about, serving as ambulances, shuttling disaster teams or the displaced, and even providing an emergency mobile shelter to the many emergency response agencies being called to duty. As the City's official transportation provider, Muni was called on time and time again to provide vital transporting services.
As the enclosed report will help to highlight, Muni sustained very little property damage and no injuries to either its personnel or the riding public. In addition, Muni performed an outstanding job of restoring its regular scheduled service; within seventy-eight (78) hours of the earthquake muni was providing ninety-six percent (96 percent) of its scheduled service, including the Cable Cars.
The earthquake of 17 October placed challenging demands on Muni employees and resources. In many cases, our employees put the obligation of their job before their own concerns for home and family; dedication obviously above and beyond the call of duty. muni performed in the time of need, and against many odds, but it's this kind of performance that is expected from a first class transit organization such as the San Francisco Municipal Railway.
CBS said it all on their Thursday night news when they ended the broadcast showing a
California Street Cable Car, its bell singing a tune, climbing the hill from the Embarcadero.
The City was back on its feet.
Fleet and Infrastructure Damage
There was no damage to the buses, trolleys, LRV's, or non-revenue vehicles.
There was negligible damage to any facility or Muni infrastructure with two exceptions, the old Geneva office building and the Non-Revenue shop at 24th and Utah Streets.
A UEB [Utilities Engineering Bureau] survey indicates that the Geneva office building, a
pre-1906 building, should be abandoned. After several surveys, the building at 24th and
Utah, an old brick structure, has had to have significant sections of the building closed.
These include portions of the special machine shop, non-revenue parts room, body repair
office, and offices above the storeroom.
The cost estimate for labor and material is on the order of $150,000. Most of this cost was
generated by the loss of power to electric vehicles and the overtime work of diesel buses to
provide alternate service and clear Candlestick Park. FEMA documentation is being
prepared for possible reimbursement.
Muni has rerouted service to meet the new Ferry service serving downtown San Francisco.
It has developed an interagency transfer agreement with Caltrans, AC Transit and Golden
Gate Transit to allow easier access to and from the Ferry service. Muni Metro Station
agents are staffing the downtown stations during BART Owl service to assist passengers.