Melbourne tram No. 916 on San Francisco’s Market Street. Jamison Wieser photo.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom was on hand this morning to personally accept the gift of a tram (as streetcars are known to most of the world) built in 1946 for Melbourne, Australian by John Brumby, MP, State Premier of Victoria.
The new addition will join a patchwork fleet of historic streetcars, trolleys and trams which San Francisco has been collecting from around the world. The fleet already includes an earlier Melbourne tram, no. 496, built in 1928.
It will still be several months before the newest edition, no. 916, ready for service because of modifications which are required so it can enter service.
On any given day about 20 different streetcars will be in service on the F-Market & Wharves route, and it’s a cliche, but with nearly every one of the streetcars carrying a different paint scheme you really never know what you’ll see driving up and down Market Street.
“I am delighted that this tram has found a new and very welcome home here and will be used for F-line services. It is with great pleasure that the Victorian community can once again donate one of our iconic W-class trams to the people of San Francisco,” said Brumby speaking at a ceremony held by the Ferry Building.
“We are grateful to the people of Melbourne for this generous gift. Both of our cities understand the importance of preserving our history and using that preservation to promote environmentally-sustainable transportation. I am certain that our shared values will keep Melbourne and San Francisco beautiful and livable for generations to come,” said Newsom. The Mayor also gave thanks to Market Street Railway volunteers who made the F-line possible in the first place. With our assistance Muni has been able to restore, acquire, restore and maintain historic streetcar service in San Francisco.