F is for Fifteen: Happy Birthday, F-line!

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Today, September 1, 2010, marks the 15th birthday of the permanent F-line. On this date in 1995, regular service began on the line between Transbay Terminal and Castro Street.  It was the culmination of more than a dozen years of advocacy and action by Market Street Railway to restore traditional streetcars to Market Street following the opening of Muni Metro, which moved the J, K, L, M, and N lines from the surface of Market into a new subway.
The F-line continued a tradition of rail transit on the surface of Market Street that has now stretched a century and a half.  As soon as it opened, the new F-line immediately doubled the ridership of the 8-Market bus line it replaced.
This shot of the September 1, 1995 opening parade shows the popular Blackpool, England “boat tram” in the lead, followed by a group of then newly-restored streamliner PCC streetcars, interspersed with Muni’s own historic trams. The “boat” had run in the 1980s Trolley Festivals that provided the proof of concept for the F-line, often piloted by motorman Walt Thomsen, who is at the tiller for the opening parade as well, assisting Mayor Frank Jordan. (Sadly, Walt passed away unexpectedly recently.)
What you don’t see in this picture are Milan trams. Muni had only one of the orange Italian trams at the time, but soon bought 10 more as ridership overwhelmed the original PCC fleet.
An extension to the Ferry Building and Fisherman’s Wharf opened in 2000. The rest, as they say, is history. It is America’s most popular traditional streetcar line, and still growing in popularity.

Comments: 2

  1. Happy 15th Birthday F line and many, many more!! I really enjoy riding every time I get back to The City!!

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