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Old Spaghetti Factory Birney Comes to National City!

Workers cut a hole in the side of the Old Spaghetti Factory at 275 Fifth Ave - in the same location where the car went in years before. The restaurant has been closed to make way for a smaller Mediterranean-style restaurant.

Photo by Jim Price

 

The Birney streetcar, built in 1917, operated in Bellingham, Washington until 1938. In 1972, it arrived at the Old Spaghetti Factory. Nobody seems to know what happened to the car between '38 and '72. While at OSF, the car was part of the Dining Room and has been a part of San Diego.

The delicate process of moving the car from the restaurant was handled by Superior House Movers. Great job, guys! 

Photo by Jim Price

 

Sliding on rails placed on the floor, the Birney makes it way through the wall and onto Fifth Ave in its early morning travels on Feb 14, 2005.

Photo by Jim Price

 

What was a dining area inside the restaurant emerges onto Fifth Ave for the first time since 1972 as it prepares for its move to National City.

Photo by Jim Price

 

Workers raise the front of the car off the ground as they prepare to place the front

Photo by Jim Price

 

SDERA President Jim Price stands in front of the Birney car doorway just after the front dolly was placed under the frame.

Photo from Jim Price

 

Jacks raise the car in preparation for  rear dollies to assist in the move from San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter to its new home in National City.

Photo by Jim Price

 

Onlookers watch as the Birney car starts on its trek to the National City Depot under the careful watch of Superior House Movers.

Photo by Jim Price

 

Another view as the Birney prepares to leave Downtown. The move was originally scheduled for the previous Friday but heavy rain forced the cancellation of the move. Since the roof has holes for ventilation and electrical connections, a dry day was a better choice!

Photo by Jim Price

 

Home at last! SDERA's "new" streetcar arrives at the National City Depot without incident. The car will stay at the depot while the SDERA decides on the future of the car. Ideas have included a gift shop, cafe, or even rebuilding it into a sightseeing trolley.

Photo by Jim Price

 

The Birney car move gave the San Diego Electric Railway association a great opportunity to highlight the group's activities as local media covered the event. KFMB Channel 8 brought their live truck to the depot to cover the delivery of the car. Other local stations and newspapers mentioned the group and our desires to restore the car.

Photo by Jim Price

 

Channel 8's reporter took video from inside the depot's Passenger Waiting Room.

Photo by Jim Price

 

KFMB reporter Carlo Cecchetto stands on Bob Recks' replica handcar at the National City Depot. This great prop was ideal material to highlight SDERA and the Depot!

Photo by Jim Price

 

Maybe it's a good thing that Bob Recks had his handcar chained down to keep this reporter from becoming news himself!

Photo by Jim Price

 

Now at its new home in the National City Depot parking lot, this historic streetcar awaits word of what its future will hold. Covered to protect it from the elements, this newest part of the SDERA collection will require lots of work to make it whole again. The running gear, controls, and trucks are gone - replaced by decorative but useless fake wheels. The roof will need to be rebuilt and windows replaced.

Photo by Jim Price

 

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