E-line Opening Now August 1

PCC Streetcar No. 1006, training on the E-line June 30, 2015, joins the light rail tracks that emerge from the Market Street Subway at Folsom Street.

PCC Streetcar No. 1006, training on the E-line June 30, 2015, joins the light rail tracks that emerge from the Market Street Subway at Folsom Street.

The opening of weekend service on the E-Embarcadero line has been rescheduled for Saturday, August 1, one week later than originally planned.

At a meeting between SFMTA and Market Street Railway representatives on Thursday, July 1, it was agreed that the San Francisco Marathon, which will clog the entire Embarcadero on Sunday, July 26, made it prudent to defer the E-line opening.

SFMTA had decided to substitute buses for streetcars on the F-line on Marathon day already, due to the difficulty of keeping schedules.

“We support the new August 1 opening date,” said Market Street Railway President Rick Laubscher. “The rollout will go smoother for operators, inspectors, and riders if they don’t have to deal with the extreme circumstances caused by the Marathon.”

Besides the start date, the meeting focused on creating clear signage for the cars and stops to explain the difference between the E-line and the F-line to unfamiliar riders.  The two lines run together from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Ferry Building, but while the F-line turns inland and heads out Market Street to Castro, the E-line will continue along The Embarcadero and King Street to AT&T Park and the Caltrain Depot.  It will share tracks with the N- and T-line light rail vehicles south of Folsom Street, and has its own low-level boarding platforms and accessibility ramps at one end of each light rail station.

Market Street Railway is looking for volunteer docents to be stationed at key stops along the E-line during its 10 a.m.-7 p.m. operating hours during the first several weekends, starting August 1-2.  Shifts will run about two hours. You’ll help guide riders to the correct location, hand out brochures explaining the E-line, and answer questions. You can sign up by emailing volunteer@streetcar.org.

Seven-day service on the E-line is still slated for early 2016.

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Training for E-line Under Way

Vintage 1948 double-end PCC streetcars Nos. 1006 (left) and 1011 pass just south of the Ferry Building during E-line training, July 1, 2015

Vintage 1948 double-end PCC streetcars Nos. 1006 (left) and 1011 pass just south of the Ferry Building during E-line training, July 1, 2015

Think of it as a dress rehearsal: double-ended historic streetcars cruising the length of The Embarcadero, running along both the F-line tracks (from the Wharf to the Ferry Building) and the N- and T-line tracks (from Folsom Street past AT&T Park and on to the Caltrain Depot at Fourth and King Streets.

With only an operator and Muni training staff on board.

These streetcars are getting ready for the formal launch of the long-awaited E-Embarcadero vintage streetcar line, which begins weekend operation on Saturday, July 25 August 1, from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.  Seven-day operation will follow early in 2016.

PCC No. 1006 makes a practice stop at the low-level E-line platform at Harrison Street northbound, July 1, 2015

PCC No. 1006 makes a practice stop at the low-level E-line platform at Harrison Street northbound, July 1, 2015

So if you see these historic streetcars with the “Training Car” or “Not In Service” signs along The Embarcadero, now you know why.

Give them a friendly wave!

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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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“The Streetcar Named Common Sense”

That’s how Joel P. Engardio, columnist for the San Francisco Examiner, described Market Street Railway’s proposal to extend the E-Embarcadero line, south through Mission Bay and Dogpatch, sharing existing tracks of the T-Third light rail line.
In his April 27 column, Engardio cited strong support for the extended line in the neighborhoods it would serve. “We are exploding with development and we need more transit options,” Engardio quoted Janet Carpinelli, president of the Dogpatch Neighborhood Association, as saying. “Putting in the E-line is a no-brainer, especially when the T-line is so inefficient.”


1856 Central Waterfront Ehrlich 2012.jpg

A Milan tram passes a T-line light rail vehicle on Third Street at 23rd Street in Dogpatch.Since October 2012, Muni’s Milan trams have been housed at Muni Metro East a few blocks away, with no incidences of them interfering with T-line operations when they enter and leave service via Third Street through Mission Bay and Dogpatch. This part of Third Street is slated for major residential and commercial development. Photo Copyright Peter Ehrlich.

The column also supported our belief that the relocation of the proposed Warriors Arena site to Third and 16th Streets makes E-line service through Mission Bay and Dogpatch even more important.
Engardio also laid out the case for extending the E-line at its other end, from Fisherman’s Wharf to serve Aquatic Park, the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Ghirardelli Square, and Fort Mason.
Again, here’s the link to Engardio’s column.

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Warriors Arena in Mission Bay Boosts Importance of Extending the E-Line

The Warriors now say their future lies on the border of Mission Bay and Dogpatch, instead of a mile farther north on Piers 30-32. The 125-foot tall, 18,000-seat arena the basketball team proposed to build over the Bay along the southern Embarcadero is now slated for a site the Warriors just bought on the east side of Third Street, between South and 16th Streets. Unlike the Pier 30-32 site, this site fits within current zoning and would need only a… — Read More

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E-Line Finally Budgeted…For 2016!

It’s going to take even longer before you see this sight every day. E-line service won’t be full-time until 2016. As the old saying goes, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is the SFMTA Board of Directors has approved funding to start regular E-line service. The bad news is that full-time E-line service isn’t funded until the spring of 2016, with weekend service (11 a.m.-7 p.m.) okayed to start in the summer of 2015. The schedule was… — Read More

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Our E-line Vision Gaining Attention

In the wake of several successful weekends of vintage streetcar service the length of The Embarcadero on the E-line, the Curbed website posted a story on our vision for an extended E-line service today. That, in turn, spawned a post on SFist. Curbed drew on the document we’ve been distributing around town, which you can download here. Recently restored E-line PCC streetcar No. 1008 switches off the F-line tracks onto the connector track that will take it the rest of… — Read More

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Here’s the E-line America’s Cup Schedule

Muni has released the schedule for E-line service in conjunction with upcoming America’s Cup series races. Service will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from the Caltrain Depot at Fourth and King Streets to Fisherman’s Wharf. Here are the dates: Saturday, August 10; Sat.-Sun., August 17-18; Sat.-Sun., August 24-25; Sat.-Sun.., September 7-8; Sat.-Sun., September 14-15; Saturday, September 21. PCC No. 1006 where The Embarcadero becomes King Street, training operators for E-line America’s Cup service. We are looking for docents… — Read More

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E-line Service Sunday, July 7

The special E-Embarcadero streetcar service was a big hit on July 4. It’s running again on Sunday, July 7, from the Caltrain Depot at Fourth and King Streets to Jones and Jefferson Streets in Fisherman’s Wharf. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The E-line service on July 4 drew big crowds, like this one at the Caltrain Depot. Bruce Agid photo. Service will be provided by double-end vintage streetcars, led by the restored 1948 PCC cars. The service is… — Read More

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Sneak Peek at a Special Streetcar

This image from a computer screen just popped up on our Facebook group (search for Market Street Railway and join!). It shows the last of the 16 PCC streetcars to be renovated by Brookville Equipment Company at its Pennsylvania facility, under a Muni contract. It’s sitting outside, and looks complete. It’s a very special streetcar for our organization, in large part because of the tribute livery it wears. Could this mean that this long-delayed streetcar is finally about to head… — Read More

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Shuttle Diplomacy?

We’ve learned that Muni is going to greatly increase the number of F-line shuttle runs in the coming months. These are vintage streetcars that run on just the waterfront portion of the F-line, between the Ferry Building (and our museum!) and Fisherman’s Wharf. There are three shuttle runs most days now, usually filled with the oldest streetcars, like Muni’s No. 1 and 162, Melbourne No. 496, or, in good weather, the popular Blackpool boat tram. But with additional runs, they… — Read More

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Another Vision for the E-line

An excellent article by Aaron Bialick in Streetsblog San Francisco discusses the possible demise of the northern end of Interstate 280 as a means to help facilitate — and pay for — undergrounding of High Speed Rail and Caltrain to reach Downtown. A version of this plan has been mooted by the Mayor’s Office. The article includes a link to a fascinating and very thoughtful study by Ben Caldwell, studying for his Master’s at UC Berkeley’s School of Urban Design.… — Read More

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“E for Effort” — Hectic Weekend Taught Lessons

A conga line of buses, Milan trams and PCCs lines up to turn around at Pier 39 while the Wharf portion of the E and F lines was closed for a parade on Sunday — one of the many challenges facing Muni on an extraordinary weekend. Muni just went through one of its busiest weekends in its hundred-year history, and we at Market Street Railway are helping distill lessons learned, specifically to keep improving the historic streetcar operation. Muni got… — Read More

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Car 1 on the F-line! Get Out and Ride!

The big Fleet Week/America’s Cup/Giants Playoff weekend is under way, complete with E-line service. It includes the first regular passenger service for Muni’s Car No. 1, its very first streetcar, since its rebuilding. This surprise appearance by No. 1, apparently operating on the F-line between 11th Street and Fisherman’s Wharf, follows a ceremonial debut earlier this year and a couple of charters, including one for our Market Street Railway members. Here’s how to find out whether Car No. 1, shown… — Read More

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Come Ride the E-line Twin Torpedos (and Volunteer) Oct. 6-7

You haven’t seen this in San Francisco for almost 60 years. A pair of 1948 Muni PCCs, Nos. 1006 and 1008, in their original double-end configuration and their as-delivered “Wings” paint scheme. This class of Muni streetcars was altered around 1955. They were converted to run from only one end and painted to look like their single-end cousins. Both of these streetcars have been out of passenger service for at least a quarter-century. They’re now back from a complete remanufacturing… — Read More

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