As Milan tram no. 1811 passes San Diego streetcar no. 1078 on Market Street. Telstar Logistics photo.
Streetcars aren’t supposed to be on the surface of Market Street anymore. Those grates in the photo provide ventilation to the subway that opened in the 1970s for BART with Muni’s streetcar lines soon following on their own level as they converted from PCC streetcars to larger light-rail vehicles which could be coupled into trains.
Only busses were supposed to continue running on Market, but the tracks were soon put back into use for the Historic Trolley Festival put on as a summertime replacement for the cable cars when the system shut down in 1982 to be rebuilt.
The temporary service proved popular and City leaders soon realized the benefit of continued surface streetcar service. Even after the cable cars re-opened in 1984, the Trolley Festivals continued drawing in riders.
Every year additional streetcars and expanded hours were added until the festivals ended in 1987 to make way for construction of the permanent F-Market line that opened in 1995.
» More streetcar photography from Telstar Logistics (flickr)
» A Brief History of the F-line
Thanks to the Chamber of Commerce and Dianne Feinstein, Mayor in the 1980s, for not totally removing the tracks on Market Street and for starting the Historic Trolley Festivals. If it hadn’t been for them, the F line would not be running right now. That was, in my opinion, the first “great idea.” The second “great idea” was to extend the F line up the Embarcadero to Fishermen’s Wharf. Thanks too, to Rick Laubscher and the members of the Market Street Railway, for all they did, and are doing, to get more cars for the F line, and the E line, in the future. I grew up in the City and love to come back to spend the day riding the MUNI all over the city and seeing the old sights I remember so well.
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