The family-friendly Muni Heritage Weekend lets you ride vintage streetcars and buses and special cable cars that rarely operate. The world’s oldest cable car (1883), one of the oldest electric streetcars (1896), the very first streetcar Muni owned (1912), and the wildly popular English open-top “Boat Tram” (1934) will all be carrying passengers between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, September 23-24.
The streetcars and vintage buses will depart from the San Francisco Railway Museum, 77 Steuart Street across from the Ferry Building (Steuart Street F-line stop; Embarcadero Muni Metro/BART station). Several of the oldest streetcars will offer FREE rides between the museum at Pier 39. The bus rides will also be free. Vintage trolley coaches built in 1950 and 1975 will retrace Andrew Hallidie’s original Clay Street Railroad 1873 cable route in celebration of 150 Years of Cable Cars. Motor coaches from 1938, 1947, 1956, and 1970 will run various historic routes. The special cable cars will run on the California Street line, two blocks from the Museum, ($5 for an all-day pass).
In addition to the vehicles pictured or linked above, streetcars from Melbourne, Milan, and Brussels (disguised as Zurich) will offer rides this weekend, along with Muni’s own double-end “torpedo” PCCs.
On Saturday until 2 pm, you can ride the past to see the future. Vintage buses will follow the old 40-Commuter route (more or less) to take you to the Caltrain Peninsula Commuter depot at Fourth and King Streets, where Caltrain will have its brand new electric transit from Stadler on display.
Between your rides, the plaza across from the Museum offers booths from transit history and advocacy groups, games and activities for kids, with a cable car bell they can ring, a sidewalk sale of rail history books and ephemera, book signings, an operating model train layout and lots of fun souvenirs to buy.
We’ll have authors Emiliano Echeverria and Michael Dolgushkin on hand to sell and talk about their seminal e-books on Market Street Railway Company of 1893, and its successor, United Railroads. We’ll have a big selection of used traction and railroad books and other memorabilia for sale, plus an expanded selection of merchandise marking 150 Years of Cable Cars and of Muni history in our museum.
Muni Heritage Weekend is co-sponsored by the non-profit Market Street Railway and the San Francisco Railway Museum (Muni), to demonstrate the important role attractive, efficient transit has played in building the San Francisco we know today and keeping it livable.
Note that given these vintage vehicles’ venerability, there’s a chance that one or two might not make it out, but as of Tuesday, September 19, we expect them all to run.