San Francisco has awarded just about its highest civic honor to a beloved honorary son, the late Tony Bennett. As morning fog chilled the air on Valentine’s Day, Mayor London Breed was joined high on a hill – Nob Hill – by Bennett’s wife Susan Benedetto, SFMTA/Muni leaders and workers, VIPs, and friends of the cable cars – to dedicate California Street Cable Car 53 to the singer who drew untold millions of visitors to the City and its cable cars with his rendition of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”.
Mayor London Breed, along with SFMTA’s Board Chair, Amanda Eaken, and its Director of Transportation, Jeff Tumlin, will lead a Valentine’s Day celebration of the late, great Tony Bennett by dedicating a California Street Cable Car in his honor. The celebration will take place “high on a hall” – Nob Hill – outside the Fairmont Hotel at 10:45 a.m. on February 14. Here are the details.
Here’s a great chance to see memorable historic photos of San Francisco transit. And, if you come on January 27, bask in the perfection of a fully restored vintage Muni bus and hear from photography and history experts.
As planned, the special six-month 150th anniversary fare on the California Street cable car line has expired, and the fare has gone back to $8 one-way, the same as the Powell Street cable cars.
All Muni vehicles are being evicted from the downtown portion of Market Street for two weeks starting October 14, so that the Department of Public Works can install conduits for new traffic signals on a three block stretch between Fifth and Eighth Streets. This is the first phase of the tortured “Better Market Street” project, stripped way down from the bloated, unaffordable scope that SFMTA Chief Jeff Tumlin blew the whistle on when he took over in 2019.
Muni’s most popular electric streetcar, an 89-year old Boat Tram from Blackpool, England, will be back on The Embarcadero for an encore at the end of Fleet Week, Saturday-Sunday, October 7-8, 10:15 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
The 1934 English “Boat Tram” is Muni’s most popular streetcar. But due to a variety of circumstances, including what Muni leader Julie Kirschbaum says is an ongoing shortage of trained operators, it didn’t carry any passengers this year until September 12-13 (Sunday-Monday). Instead, vintage Milan and Melbourne trams have been alternating on Sundays and Mondays carrying people along the northern Embarcadero between Pier 39 and the Ferry Building (with an additional stop at our San Francisco Railway Museum).
Cable cars celebrated their 150th birthday on August 2 with a lively celebration at Market and Powell Streets. The event commemorated inventor Andrew Hallidie’s first cable car trip, down Nob Hill on Clay Street, on August 2, 1873.
As we’ve mentioned, the civic celebration of 150 Years of Cable Cars kicks off at 11 a.m., Tuesday, June 13 at California and Market Streets as Mayor London Breed is joined by Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, Cable Car Inventor “Andrew Hallidie” (or a reasonable facsimile) and the oldest and largest cable car in the fleet, Sacramento-Clay Car “Big 19”, which will carry the dignitaries up through Chinatown and over Nob Hill to Polk Gulch and Van Ness Avenue, parallel to Hallidie’s original Clay Street line two blocks north. Here’s “Big 19” taking a spin on the cable car barn turntable, getting ready for its closeup.
In 2013, Market Street Railway brought 1934 Blackpool, England “boat tram” to San Francisco, underwritten by a generous donation from the Thoresen Foundation, with shipping help from FedEx. We did it because the boat tram we brought over for Muni in 1984, thanks to Bechtel, had proven to be the most popular single vintage streetcar in Muni’s fleet.
With only one, though, it was impractical to schedule regular operation of the popular car. And even after the second boat tram (#233) arrived, most folks thought Muni still only had the one (#228). When the time came to do some work on 228, we suggested to Director of Transit Julie Kirschbaum that they do what Blackpool itself had done more than a dozen years before: paint the trim on one boat a bright red, to contrast with the traditional green and make it obvious that there are two of them. She thought it was a great idea.
Archive: All Posts