Key System Streetcars

by Vernon J. Sappers

Full Text of a Review:

Review from Allen Copeland, traction historian.

"I just received a copy of the new book Key System Streetcars: Transit, Real Estate and The Growth of the East Bay by Vernon J. Sappers, published by Signature Press.

"While quite a bit of material has been written and published on the Key System suburban trains of the San Francisco East Bay region, there has not been much written on the history of the local streetcar lines of Oakland, Berkeley, Hayward and Richmond, California. A few articles that appeared in The Western Railroader and Pacific News are the only ones that come to mind.

"This new book fills the void, with lots of terrific pictures, history and supporting data, written by one of the the acknowledged experts on the railway. Unfortunately, the author died before the book could be put into print, but the project was considered so valuable, that friends and volunteers from the Western Railway Museum stepped up and helped get the book published. This book covers the predecessor companies, horse cars, cable cars and curious and strange-looking electric cars. The later fleet included single truck Birneys, ex-Lehigh Valley Transit deck-roof cars, former Spokane streetcars, and double truck lightweight cars with MU couplers (some even had pantographs for operation on the Key suburban lines). There was even a Brill master unit! Highly recommended as a valuable addition to your traction library.

"An unsolicited testimonial."

— Allen Copeland