Milan trams back on tracks Friday

The famous and popular orange Italian “historic streetcars” — sidelined recently because of a lack of brake shoes — should be back on the streets Friday.

Six of the Milan trams, originally built in 1928, are out of service because the required cast-iron brake shoes for the cars were not ordered in time, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokeswoman Maggie Lynch said.

The six Milan trams join ten other historic streetcars that are out of service due to accidents and necessary maintenance work.

Lynch said the person responsible for ordering the shoes “screwed up” and ordered them too late. That factor combined with a delay in the brake shoes delivery — they were due two weeks ago — has led to no service from the fancy trams over the last several days, she said.

“Had we ordered them with plenty of lead time we wouldn’t be having this problem,” Lynch said. “We shouldn’t have gotten in a position that we were so low on brake shoes that we ran out.”

Delivery of replacement parts for the cars can take longer because they need to be specially designed and fabricated for the vehicles, she said. Muni typically has roughly 15 months worth of brake pads available for the cars, she added.

The first small portion of those cast-iron brake pads, which keep the cars from careening down Market Street and The Embarcadero came Wednesday, she said.

Sixteen hundred riders use the line during a typical weekday, Lynch said, riding on 20 regularly scheduled buses. The streetcars, from Milan, Italy, were built in 1928 and based on a faster-loading design by former Cleveland, Ohio, Transit Commissioner Peter Witt. Nine of the cars are currently being used along the F-line.

To maintain the service — used heavily by morning commuters —Muni pulled three bus shuttles into service for the area to replace the railcars. Lynch said the replacements were able to pick up the slack.

dsmith@examiner.com

jgoldman@examiner.com

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