Ride the Boat July 19 All the Way Out the J

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In the days of strong competition between our namesake, Market Street Railway, and Muni, Muni sometimes had an employee at the Ferry Building loop promoting its K and L lines by saying “ALL the way out Market” (which many San Franciscans of the day pronounced “MAH-ket”).  Of Market Street Railway’s lines, only the 8 went all the way to Castro Street..and the trolley buses that succeeded the streetcars on that route gave way to the F-line streetcars in 1995.

But that’s the past. On Sunday, July 19, you have the chance to go all the way out Market (well, to Noe Street anyway), and then ALL the way out the J-line, through newly renovated Dolores Park, over the famous “backyard route” across Dolores Heights, on Church through Noe Valley, and then along San Jose Avenue on the private right-of-way through the historic Bernal Cut, created by the Southern Pacific for steam trains!

This special charter will then loop through Cameron Beach Yard, where the historic streetcar fleet is normally housed (diverted temporarily to Metro East during construction), and then back downtown on the J and F lines.  A 13-mile round trip!

To make it even better, it’s going to take place on Muni’s famous open-top 1934 Boat Tram from Blackpool, England.

The tour runs from 1:30-3:30 pm, starting and ending at our San Francisco Railway Museum, 77 Steuart Street across from the Ferry Building.

Sign up today for $50 per person. (Market Street Railway members receive a 25% discount, so please consider joining us before you buy your tickets…you can get the discount on two tickets!) Seating capacity is limited, and the last boat tram tour, which stayed on the F-line, sold out, so move quickly.

Your ticket purchase provides the funds required to charter the streetcar from Muni, so all ticket sales must be final. All proceeds go to support Market Street Railway in its work to keep San Francisco’s transit history alive.

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E-Line Startup Looks Set for July 25

E-line car No. 1008 in 2013 Demonstration Service at its Caltrain Depot terminal.

E-line car No. 1008 in 2013 Demonstration Service at its Caltrain Depot terminal.

As readers of our member newsletter, Inside Track, learned last month, Muni’s second historic streetcar line, the long-awaited E-Embarcadero, now looks set to start up for initial weekend-only service on July 25.  Officials of SFMTA, Muni’s parent, were comfortable sharing that date with local blog Hoodline.

UPDATE: E-line startup moved to August 1.

The E-line, providing single-seat service the length of The Embarcadero, from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Giants ballpark and the Caltrain Depot, has been a goal of Market Street Railway and other advocates for more than 20 years.  It will share F-line boarding platforms between the Wharf and Ferry Building, and use separate low-level platforms and ADA ramps (built ten years ago) at the four N- and T-line stops from Folsom to Caltrain. All stops will be fully accessible.

The weekend-only service will run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with E-line cars running every 20 minutes. It will acquaint operators with the route and optimize the sharing of the trackage with the other lines that use it, while providing time to train the additional operators needed for full-time service.  Full seven-day service is expected to begin in early 2016.

The E-line has operated in special demonstration service on numerous weekends over the past decade, most intensively during the America’s Cup races in 2013. Because there is no loop track at the south end to turn single-end streetcars around, the E will be restricted to double-end vintage streetcars only.  Muni has seven double-end PCC streamliners (Nos. 1006-1011 and 1015) as well as several older vintage cars that are expected to see service, including 1912 Muni Car No. 1, 1914 Muni Car No. 130, 1928 Melbourne tram No. 496, and 1923 New Orleans “Desire” streetcar No. 952.  (The popular Blackpool boat trams function as single-end streetcars after modifications to make them ADA-compliant, and so will not be seen on the E-line, though we are hopeful of having them operate some trips on the F-line this summer.)

Market Street Railway has pledged to assist SFMTA with signage and docents at key stops to acquaint riders with the new weekend E-line service. We welcome volunteers, so if you’re interested in helping us get the word out about this exciting new service, just email us at volunteer@streetcar.org to let us know and give us your contact information.

Market Street Railway’s non-stop advocacy played a big role in making the E-line a reality. We depend on memberships and donations to carry out our mission of Preserving Historic Transit in San Francisco.  Please consider supporting us.  Thanks.

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Third PCC Goes Into Rehab

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PCC streetcar No. 1060, wearing its 1938 Philadelphia “Cream Cheese” livery (named for its silver and blue color, evocative of that famous food product), left San Francisco June 3 en route to a full rehabilitation at Brookville Equipment Company in Pennsylvania.

It’s the third of 16 PCCs to leave town for the renovation following 20 years of intense use on the F-line.  This $34.5 million contract covers the original F-line PCC fleet: 13 cars acquired from the SEPTA transit agency in Philadelphia in the early 1990s (Nos. 1050-1053 and 1055-1063 — No. 1054 was wrecked long ago) and three of Muni’s own double-end “torpedo” PCCs (Nos. 1007, 1010, 1015).  It follows No. 1056 and No. 1051.

The contract describes the work to be done:

The rehabilitation work will include a complete disassembly of the vehicle; rebuilding of the carbody, underfloor, trucks, doors systems and passenger area; installation of a new Westinghouse-type propulsion system; all new wiring, power supply, lighting and a video surveillance system; and all necessary work that may be uncovered when the car is disassembled.

All three of the cars now at Brookville had been removed from service well before they left town. No. 1056 had a cracked bolster (the portion of the frame that connects to the truck underneath), while Nos. 1051 and 1060 had been involved in a car house accident that demonstrated the fragility of the rusted ends of those cars. Since the contract was about to be signed, no effort was made to repair them in-house.

The remaining 13 PCCs covered by this contract are all currently operational. It is expected that those judged the most unreliable will be sent ahead of those that are still running well. That said, Brookville wants to start on one of the double-end cars soon, so that they know what to expect with the other two. No. 1015 is the most likely candidate to go first among the double-enders.

The schedule calls for the first completed car to be returned to Muni by October 2016, with the second following no more than three months later, and subsequent cars arriving back, completed, every month and a half after that. If that schedule is to be kept, the pace of departures from San Francisco will need to pick up briskly.

 

 

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