Among F-line operators, there are many who appreciate the history of the vintage streetcars. One of them, Jose Alvarez, often goes the extra mile to share that history with his passengers.
I snapped this photo of Jose yesterday while he was crewing the “boat tram.” He’s explaining to the visitor that this car came all the way from Blackpool, England, and is the only one operating in transit service in the U.S. Sometimes he tells kids on board, “it’s the only one here, and I get to operate it! How cool is that?”
Currently, the boat is in shuttle service between the Wharf and the Ferry Building, but when the crew pulls up to a stop and sees the priceless expressions on people’s faces, they try to talk them into coming for a ride to the Ferry, then transferring to another car to go up Market, by saying “a unique experience…it shouldn’t be missed.”
Great ambassadors for Muni…and San Francisco as well. Thanks to Jose and all the operators with that vintage spirit!
This is a fantastic, smooth operating car and it’s a shame more can’t be brought here, as their numbers are quite thin now (there was originally, I believe, ten of them). A boat car was brought here for the Bicentennial, and operated in Philadelphia before being returned to England. John Woodman of England and me were responsible for and worked on this project. I can well remember the car being offloaded from the ship it traveled on and then trailered down to Philadelphia. Hard to believe its been over 35 years ago! We also worked together on bringing the small Brussels car (now in Arizona, I believe) and the Hamburg car here (the latter was in the Steuben Day Parade in New York City shortly after its arrival in the USA).
Joe, the Philadelphia bicentennial boat tram is the one now with Muni! It was never regauged by Blackpool and we managed to get it donated to San Francisco in 1984. My then-employer, Bechtel, generously donated the shipping, and Muni’s shop crew regauged it back to standard gauge from Pennsylvania Broad Gauge (6 inches wider than standard).
(For those who don’t know, Joe is one of America’s leading experts on PCCs.)
Jose is a credit to the Muni vintage crew. He is personable, and loves to operate the vintage cars.
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