Market Street Railway x Dress-Lace Inc Mini Lace Dress – Gray / Elbow-Length Sleeves
This Market Street Railway x http://dress-lace.com women’s mini lace dress will provide a fresh, casual look for your transitioning seasonal wardrobe. The dress is constructed from high quality cotton knit and has a slight amount of stretch for a more comfortable fit. It is a mini length dress with the hemline ending at the upper thigh area. The dress comes in four color choices. Select your favorite from black, taupe, royal blue or emerald green. This dress has flattering elbow-length sleeves and a rounded neckline. It has no buttons or zippers, and slips easily over the head. The dress is fully machine washable in warm water. We recommend tumble drying on a low heat setting. The lace dress has a loose cut and may be worn with or without a belt. It is available for purchase in sizes Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large.
On vacation last month, we missed the 25th anniversary of the return of the cable cars to the Streets of San Francisco. But it’s still worth a look back at that memorable project, which we chronicled in the pages of our member newsletter, Inside Track, five years ago:
When the reduced cable car system reopened in 1957, it was still old. During the lengthy shutdown of the California and Hyde Street trackage, Muni focused on consolidating operations with its Powell lines, not on complete renewal. Capital funding, as usual, was in short supply, so much so that in this same period, Muni had to effect a complicated lease arrangement for used PCC streetcars from St. Louis so the last of its original streetcar fleet could finally be replaced.
Having ‘saved’ the cable cars, most San Franciscans started taking them for granted again. But the system was growing sclerotic. In late 1979, a rash of accidents shut the system down for emergency repairs that lasted six months. Muni commissioned a complete engineering evaluation of the system, which concluded that it had to be rebuilt from the hole-in-the-ground up.
A $60 Million Job
The city’s politicians and business community rallied. Mayor Dianne Feinstein took personal charge of the effort. She helped win federal funding for the bulk of the rebuilding job.
The ‘gauntlet’ track on Jackson, between Powell and Mason, was showing its age shortly before the 1982 shutdown. Market Street Railway photo.
She recruited Chevron USA head Ken Derr to ‘tin cup’ leading San Francisco businesses to raise the required local matching funds. Market Street Railway director Virgil Caselli, then general manager of Ghirardelli Square, ran the ‘Committee to Save the Cable Cars’ that coordinated fundraising. In all, public and private contributions approached $60 million.
Time was of the essence. Major changes would trigger an environmental impact study, which would add a year or more to the process. So the only changes allowed were for the sake of improved safety, flexibility, and operability. For example, the Powell lines were engineered so that the higher capacity California-type cars could run safely on them.
The restrictions on new route trackage deferred the dream (originally proposed in 1954) of an additional cable car line using the tracks on California and Hyde Streets. The tight schedule couldn’t accommodate all the extensive connections necessary for through running of a ‘California-Hyde’ line.
Swarm of workers
Before dawn on September 22, 1982, the last passenger-carrying car bounced over the old cable car system. Soon the cables would fall silent for 21 months as workers swarmed the routes.
All things considered, the rebuilding went quite well, especially since there had been essentially no cable car engineering performed in the previous 95 years, and there was the potential for nasty surprises under streets and structures that had been little touched over that same period.
Contractors did get a big surprise when they started working on the venerable carbarn and powerhouse at Washington and Mason. Originally built in 1887 and rebuilt after being destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire, it was found that the exterior brick walls were standing largely out of habit–there was no foundation to speak of.
The plans called for keeping the exterior walls only for appearance’s sake, building a modern steel and concrete structure inside. Still, they had to devise and implement a fix for the problem.
Headed for the home stretch of the project, brand new track frames a completely rebuilt powerhouse and car barn at Washington & Mason. Only the brick ‘wrapper’ is old. Market Street Railway photo.
The carbarn that emerged looked the same from the outside, but was completely new inside, from the cable winding machinery to a completely enclosed car storage area upstairs to better protect out-of-service cars (something the historic streetcars still lack).
On the street, 69 blocks of track were completely rebuilt with heavier rails and deeper flangeways, cable channels of concrete instead of rusted iron, and new pulleys with space-age components like Teflon for reduced friction. Curves were now banked, putting an end to the thrilling lurch around corners accompanied by the conductor’s yell, ‘cout [look out] for the curve!
The cars themselves got new, stronger trucks and improved brakes. A couple of cars were rebuilt; all were repainted. The Powell fleet received a new paint scheme derived from the 1888 Powell Street Railway livery. Car No. 3 was left in the Muni green and creme livery it had worn since the mid-1940s and dedicated to cable car savior Friedel Klussmann. (Later, some replacement Powell cars built for the fleet got other historic liveries.)
The result: a smoother-running and safer cable car system. There were some problems with some of the newly engineered features. For example, the metal pulley cover plates made a racket when automobiles ran over them, waking neighbors. But these problems proved minor, given the scope of the task.
More safety, less flavor
Perhaps inevitably, some of the flavor of the old system was lost: the clatter at Geary and Powell when the cable car passed over the remnants of the Muni B and C line streetcar tracks; the Belgian block between the rail in segments of Hyde Street; the lurch as wheels dipped into a trough in the track caused by subsiding streets. Now it was uniform, predictable, homogenized.
No question, though, that the cable car system couldn’t have gone on the way it was. It was the proverbial accident waiting to happen–perhaps a catastrophic accident that might have called the wisdom of preserving the system into question. The reconstruction project significantly lessened the chances of that happening.
On June 21, 1984, Mayor Feinstein was joined by City, Muni, and corporate top brass and thousands of other San Franciscans to celebrate the full reopening of the cable car system–just in time to host delegates to the Democratic National Convention. The cable cars were “rebuilt and ready for another 100 years of service,” according to Muni officials. We’re only one-fifth of the way there [one-fourth now] , but so far, so good.
While National Park lands are a major destination of the planned streetcar extension to Fort Mason, connecting western Fisherman’s Wharf to regional transit and the rest of the waterfront is a big benefit as well. Market Street Railway illustration, Robert Campbell photo.
Did the F-line split Fisherman’s Wharf in two? Anecdotal evidence suggests it might have, albeit accidentally, to the detriment of the western part of the Wharf area. But a solution is at hand: an extension of vintage streetcar service westward to Aquatic Park and Fort Mason, a project now in environmental review. This project, currently led by the National Park Service with strong Muni support, promises very positive impacts for the western Wharf area as well.
Changing Historic Patterns
Fisherman’s Wharf is San Francisco’s biggest visitor attraction. As such, it’s a critical part of the city’s economy, in good times and bad. Until the late 1960s, what people referred as ‘the Wharf’ was almost literally that: the boat harbor next to Pier 45 that was home to the city’s fishing fleet, crewed mostly by Italian immigrants and their descendents. The string of restaurants surrounding the harbor was included and not much else.
But in 1957, Muni realigned its cable car service, piecing together parts of two lines to make a new ‘Powell-Hyde’ line that, for the first time, directly linked the heart of the city’s retail and hotel district to Aquatic Park. Tourists just wanting a cable car ride happily climbed on board the Hyde cars only to find an empty dirt lot at the other end, along with a bunch of industrial buildings.
But this new, visitor-friendly historic transit line soon helped inspire visionary developers, including William Matson Roth and Leonard Martin, to convert some of those old industrial complexes into shining new retail attractions such as Ghirardelli Square and The Cannery. Gradually, the definition of ‘Fisherman’s Wharf’ expanded, in the minds of both visitors and merchants, to stretch from Ghirardelli in the west all the way to Pier 39, developed in the late 1970s, in the east.
The two cable car lines distributed public transit visitors evenly across the western and central parts of the Wharf. (The Powell-Mason line’s terminal at Bay & Taylor has served the area since 1888.) The eastern edge of the Wharf area, anchored by Pier 39, counted mostly on automobiles to bring its visitors, as clearly evidenced by the enormous garage adjacent to the facility.
When the F-line opened to the Wharf in 2000, visitor travel patterns changed again. Now, in addition to the two north-south cable car lines reaching the Wharf, there was attractive east-west vintage rail service directly linking downtown via The Embarcadero, where it replaced an infrequent Muni bus that no one rode.
Looping through much of the Wharf on Jefferson Street heading west and Beach Street heading east, the F-line was an immediate hit with riders and today carries far more people than the Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde cable car lines combined. Some of the F-line ridership has come at the expense of the cable cars (the $5 cable car fare and long turntable lines in summer no doubt play a role in this), but most F-line riders appear to be people who otherwise would have either taken a private automobile or a taxi. Bottom line, though, the F-line has made it easier and more attractive for people to reach the Wharf. At least part of it.
When people ride into the Wharf area on F-line streetcars, they pass sights they’ve seen or heard of before. Pier 39. Restaurant Row. And, just before the Jones Street terminal, the fishing fleet’s harbor. So, the strong temptation when getting off the streetcar is to walk back to explore these attractions, rather than walking westward. Watch where people go when they get off the F-line cars at the terminal and this pattern becomes visible. Similarly, visitors who start their Wharf visit at Pier 39 and walk westward often stop when they see the F-line terminal at Jones and take the streetcar back downtown, figuring (wrongly) that the end of the line is the end of the attractions. Given this, perhaps it is not so surprising that some attractions in the western part of the Wharf have seen static or declining visitation since the F-line opened.
Back to ‘Plan A’
There’s a little irony in this, because Muni’s original plan for historic streetcar service, dating back to 1979, called for the line to go all the way through the Wharf — past it, in fact, to use the 1914 railroad tunnel to reach Fort Mason Center.
But by the time planning for the F-line extension began in earnest, the originally proposed Fort Mason terminal had been pulled back to the central Wharf area for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was opposition to the whole streetcar concept by some wharf merchants concerned about losing a handful of automobile parking spaces.
Muni’s H-line ran through Fort Mason from 1914 until 1948, but never connected it directly to Fisherman’s Wharf. The streetcar shelter (left) is still there, as are the buildings, now National Park Service Headquarters for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Bob McVay photo, Walter Rice collection.
Now, wharf merchants unanimously support the F-line and are calling for additional service to handle the demand, which at 23,000 daily riders is way beyond Muni predictions.
Seven years ago, the then-executive director of the Fisherman’s Wharf Merchants Association, Al Baccari (now a member of Market Street Railway’s advisory board) began lobbying to implement Muni’s original plan of streetcar service all the way to Fort Mason. His reasons? The Fort Mason Center area had grown steadily in popularity through its mix of performing arts venues, galleries, and exhibition space, to attract more than 1.5 million visitors annually, despite no direct Muni connection to the Wharf or Downtown. Many of those Fort Mason visitors, Baccari reasoned, would take an attractive streetcar to get there, stopping to eat or shop at the Wharf on the way. The Wharf would also gain a quick attractive connection to Fort Mason’s ample affordable meeting space, helping its hotels attract more conference business.
That spark of interest from Wharf merchants was enough to rekindle the proposal. The National Park Service, as part of a park master plan, had been reserving the abandoned — but intact — 1914 railroad tunnel between the foot of Van Ness Avenue and Fort Mason Center for rail transit. The Park Service also saw how attractive streetcar service would provide a pollution-free alternative for visitors to reach its San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, enabling children and families from all over the Bay Area to reach the park easily on public transit. It would also give them the ability to expand visitor capacity without having to expand parking. This too, helps merchants in the western Fisherman’s Wharf area.
Rebalancing Wharf Transit
The extension has the important benefit of reunifying the pieces of Fisherman’s Wharf by rebalancing transit access between its eastern and western portions. After studying several possible east-west alignments of the extension, Beach Street was selected as the route for environmental and historic preservation reasons. Among other advantages, this allows the placement of streetcar stops in both directions directly opposite the Hyde Street cable car turntable, providing a mini-transit hub to visitors wishing explore the Wharf area. The streetcar tracks alone provide a clue to visitors getting off the cable cars that there’s something to see where the tracks lead.
The extension would run in both directions from this point on Beach Street at Leavenworth, westward into the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, enlivening the streetscape in the western Wharf while circulating more visitors among its attractions.
Going east from Hyde, the tracks pass The Cannery and the foot of Columbus Avenue, gateway to North Beach, and then continue on Beach to connect to the existing F-line track at Jones. (Coming west on Jefferson from the current Jones Street terminal, the extension would go west to Leavenworth, then swing one block south to meet the eastbound line at Beach.)
Going west from Hyde, the extension’s track reaches Ghirardelli Square and the Maritime Museum, now undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation by the National Park Service. Indeed, a key reason for such strong support of the extension by the Park Service is the exposure streetcar riders will get to the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park (including the Maritime Museum, Aquatic Park, the Hyde Street Pier’s historic ships, and Municipal Pier).
Along with the tracks, the streetcar extension will bring the existing F-line’s upgraded streetscape to the western Wharf on the streets it follows, including ornamental streetlights/trolley wire supports and passenger boarding areas. This further reunites the Wharf area visually.
Market Street Railway has been closely involved with the extension planning process since it began, serving as an advocate and facilitator through a role on the technical advisory committee created by the National Park Service, which is leading this phase of the project.
An Environmental Impact Statement is underway and once a draft is published, public comment will open to take feedback. Though it has been slow, the project continues to progress.
Earlier expected to be operated as an extension of the forthcoming E-Embarcadero line running along The Embarcadero from Mission Bay to Fisherman’s Wharf, Muni now considers it possible that rider demand would cause the extension to be operated as part of the more frequent F-line instead, with the E-line terminating at Jones Street. (Either way, both the E and F lines would operate between Jones Street and the Ferry Building.) Further study, public comment, and operating experience will inform the ultimate operating decisions.
Whatever the operating details, a vintage streetcar extension would clearly help reunite Fisherman’s Wharf in addition to its many benefits to the National Park Service, which has funded the studies and would fund much of the project construction as well. The core construction costs are estimated at around $30 million, not counting contingency, plus $10 million for a seismic retrofit of the tunnel, which is planned to be funded separately. Five million dollars of the extension project has already been funded; additional funding is being sought from sources that do not conflict with such Muni priority projects as the Central Subway. Depending on funding availability, the extension could be carrying passengers by 2014.
As of 2010 planning work continues slowly, but steadily, despite SFMTA budget troubles. Market Street Railway will continue advocating for this and other historic transit projects with the support of our members.
Three ex-Muni PCC cars are being slowly but steadily readied for a new life down the coast in San Diego. That city’s now-iconic red ‘trolleys’ (actually light rail vehicles) represented the first new American urban surface rail system in decades in 1980. Much expanded, the San Diego Trolley remains one of the great rail success stories.
At its core is a loop of track encircling downtown, serving the business district, waterfront, convention center, Gaslamp Quarter, and the Padres’ ballpark.
Along the length of the track loop, new residential towers have sprouted as more residents forsake the suburbs for the attractions downtown.
Harry Mathis, Chairman of the Board of the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), sees a major opportunity there. “The red trolleys are really an interurban line that happens to run through the middle of downtown. We want to bring streetcars back downtown to share those tracks.”
Mathis, who grew up in San Francisco “standing on the steps as the old streetcars roared through the Twin Peaks Tunnel,” recognizes that any new service has to complement — not compete or interfere with — light-rail (trolley) service on the Blue and Orange lines, both of which terminate downtown but run more than a dozen miles east and south. “We’d only be running off-peak — between 9:00am and 4:00pm on weekdays, and possibly on the weekends — with charters available in the evenings.”
The three PCCs that would start the ‘Silver Line’ service are ex-Muni cars No. 1122, 1123, and 1170. They’ve been renumbered 529, 530, and 531 respectively, to continue the sequence San Diego used on its own PCCs which ended service in 1949. They were acquired from Gunnar Henrioulle of South Lake Tahoe, who purchased a number of Muni PCCs upon their initial retirement. (Market Street Railway purchased four ex-Muni ‘Baby Tens’ from Henrioulle several years ago and gifted them to Muni for future restoration.)
San Diego No. 529 (ex-Muni No. 1122) stripped down to bare metal as part of its restoration. Ron Sutch photo.
All three San Diego PCCs are being stored under cover at MTS’ light rail shops, where volunteers for San Diego Vintage Trolley, Inc., a wholly-owned nonprofit subsidiary of MTS, are working on them. Two have had their front ends repainted in the pea-green & cream used in the 1940s, primarily to show visitors what the future could look like. The third car is being rebuilt with new body panels, with professional labor donated by Carlos Guzman, whose company has the contract to perform body and paint work on the red trolley fleet. The craftsmanship is excellent, but the work must be fit between paid projects so restoration will take time. Cost of materials is covered by public grants and corporate and individual donations.
The restoration is managed on a volunteer basis by Dave Slater, and the many volunteers include native San Franciscan Dennis Frazier, Market Street Railway members both. Since the original San Diego Trolley system was mostly built on freight railroad tracks, the PCC wheels need to be changed to railroad profile. The overhead not being compatible with poles, pantographs will be installed (though the rear trolley poles will be retained for visual effect), and wheelchair lifts will be installed in the front stepwells.
Once restored, the San Diego Silver Line would run a clockwise loop around the downtown, a direction dictated by existing track. Mathis hopes this is just a starting point, a proof of concept like San Francisco’s 1980s Trolley Festivals. He envisions a line going north into Balboa Park, much like San Diego’s historic PCCs did in the 1940s. He believes 2015, the centennial of the park, might be a good target date to inaugurate such service, but acknowledges there’s no current funding. Another possible line might connect downtown with the airport. These lines might be served by additional renovated PCCs if they could be found, or by modern low-floor streetcars such as run in Portland, Seattle, and Tacoma today.
So, San Diego, which showed America the way to build cost-effective rail transit almost 30 years ago, now seems poised to go ‘back to the future’, reincarnating its PCC era as well.
In What Have We Learned? we discussed what we have learned since the first Trolley Festival 25 years ago about the pluses and minuses of various vintage streetcar types in F-line service. Now, we discuss what we’ve learned about operations over that period. F-line operator Robert Parks pulls up car No. 228 — the Blackpool Boat Tram — to load at the Ferry Building on a shuttle run. Rick Laubscher photo. Looking back at the first Trolley Festival, it’s easy… — Read More
Rookie bite — 1) A minor injury to the fingers or palm, consisting of a small (but painful) blood blister caused by the skin being pinched between the release latch and the main upper portion of the grip and/or track brake handle. As the name derisively indicates, this type of injury is most often suffered by inexperienced gripmen and conductors. The wearing of heavy gloves usually precludes any such injuries. 2) A title for a column consisting of several loosely… — Read More
In 1901, the poet Gelett Burgess penned a poem that celebrated a cable car ride. Specifically, The Ballad of the Hyde Street Grip chronicled the feeling of riding what was then San Francisco’s newest cable car line, the O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde line, which had opened ten years before. The rule of that day was that any new cable car line was ‘inferior’ at the crossings to older lines, meaning that a gripman on the new line had to drop… — Read More
Muni No. 176 and a couple of Twin trolley coaches pass Weinstein’s department store near Sixth Street. Clark Frazier photo. Few felt it, but a seismic shift in American culture had begun. Grandfatherly Ike was President, friendly dairyman George Christopher was Mayor, stalwart Republicans both. Most white, middle-class San Franciscans (the majority then) saw these as comfortable times, and change as not terribly threatening. Now over there in North Beach, we’re getting some weirdos: Kerouac, Ferlinghetti, what was that Herb… — Read More
As part of our mission, Market Street Railway creates displays on-board the historic streetcars to educate San Franciscans and visitors on interesting aspects of the city’s transit history. We call it the Museums in Motion project. This is an online version of one of those displays. Last day of the Castro Cable, April 5, 1941. Market Street Railway photo. Today, the electric streetcars of the F‑line take you out Market Street to the Castro. But before there were streetcars on… — Read More
Market Street Railway will be operating a booth at the Castro Street Fair this Sunday, October 5, from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, and we’re happy to announce that we will be showing off one of the seldom-seen members of Muni’s historic streetcar fleet: Market Street Railway Co. streetcar No. 578. Market Street Railway photo. Built in 1895, this single-truck ‘Dinky’ is — to our knowledge — the world’s oldest trolley in active municipal service (so old, it looks like… — Read More
As part of our mission, Market Street Railway creates displays on-board the historic streetcars to educate San Franciscans and visitors on interesting aspects of the city’s transit history. We call it the Museums in Motion project. This is an online version of one of those displays. Hand-tinted post card of a cable car RPO at the Ferry Building, around 1900. Cities require commerce to prosper. Getting parcels and letters delivered quickly has always been important. In San Francisco around the… — Read More
Will you look this good at 118? This Powell Street cable car (at least part of it) has been riding the rails since 1890. On May 28, it returned to service in the flamboyant livery it wore at the time of the 1906 earthquake and fire. Neither of the landmarks it shares the frame with — Coit Tower (1933) and Sts. Peter & Paul Church (1924) — go back that far. Rick Laubscher photo. On a crisp May morning on… — Read More
Several years ago, artist John Kuzich began collecting Muni Fast Passes for an art project that is nearing completion. He’s created a number of small collages and completed three out of a set of four large panels using the passes. Along with flyers posted around town and word of mouth, Market Street Railway helped John connect with riders and their accumulated passes through our website, and our member newsletter, Inside Track. The public response to his appeal for donated passes… — Read More
During the reacquisition and restoration of 1914 Muni streetcar No. 162, we sought out vintage photos of the car, almost all of which we’ve featured in our member newsletter Inside Track already — except these two. Seems that our ‘newest’ vintage streetcar has never been afraid to get into a scrape … literally. The first picture — taken at Market & Geary in 1936 — shows why San Franciscans called the gray Muni cars ‘battleships’. Well, actually, it was more… — Read More
The New York Times published a piece last week about the resurgence of the streetcar in cities throughout the US, focusing on Cincinnati (with a brief mention of San Francisco). Click here for the main story, and here for the accompanying slideshow.