Muni has released the schedule for E-line service in conjunction with upcoming America’s Cup series races. Service will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from the Caltrain Depot at Fourth and King Streets to Fisherman’s Wharf. Here are the dates:
Saturday, August 10;
Sat.-Sun., August 17-18;
Sat.-Sun., August 24-25;
Sat.-Sun.., September 7-8;
Sat.-Sun., September 14-15;
Saturday, September 21.
PCC No. 1006 where The Embarcadero becomes King Street, training operators for E-line America’s Cup service.
We are looking for docents to serve at key stops along the E-line, helping racegoers and other riders to use the service most effectively. We’ll train you. If you can volunteer for a four-hour shift on one of these days and would like to help, send an email telling us the dates you’re available, and we’ll send you the information.
One of Market Street Railway’s highest priorities is full-time operation of the E-line. This demonstration service is an important step in that process, so take the opportunity to help us on the operating days above, or bring your friends and family out to enjoy the ride!
The special E-Embarcadero streetcar service was a big hit on July 4. It’s running again on Sunday, July 7, from the Caltrain Depot at Fourth and King Streets to Jones and Jefferson Streets in Fisherman’s Wharf. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The E-line service on July 4 drew big crowds, like this one at the Caltrain Depot. Bruce Agid photo.
Service will be provided by double-end vintage streetcars, led by the restored 1948 PCC cars.
The service is being offered by Muni as part of special service for America’s Cup opening ceremonies. Market Street Railway is providing docents at key stops to help people use the service efficiently. Thanks to Nick Figone, Paul Lucas, and Bruce Agid for their hard work in organizing our volunteer forces to make this a success.
Looks like the E-Embarcadero streetcar line had a real coming out party this past weekend.
The Saturday and Sunday service, tied to the America’s Cup World Series races, got lots of attention from folks up and down the waterfront, who realized what PERMANENT E-line service could do to stimulate economic activity and improve transit for residents and visitors alike.
PCC No. 1010 on the E-Embarcadero line at Pier 28, August 25, 2012. Jeremy Whiteman photo.
Perhaps the best overall summary came from Nellie Tran on livesoma.com, emphasizing the quality of the vintage streetcars and how well they fit into the modern South Beach/Mission Bay environment:
> “As for my own opinion on the E Line- I think it’d be great to have the E Line connecting this part of town to Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, and beyond. With all the new housing coming up in Mission Bay, Caltrain ridership on the rise, the tech boom, the continuing popularity of AT&T Park, and the potential Warriors Arena, I can easily imagine the E Line getting just as many riders boarding at the stops near the Caltrain and ballpark as there had been near the Ferry Building. It would be a great service to have that direct connection to the northern waterfront.”
With two Giants games during the weekend service, the E-line proved its worth in that capacity, carrying lots of happy fans from the northeastern Waterfront area without having to transfer. It’s easy to see a future symbiotic relationship between Wharf attractions and Giants games, with people coming up from the Peninsula on Caltrain or from the East Bay on BART and using the E-line to “make a day of it” by dining at the Wharf and taking in a game. Same would be true should the Warriors arena on Piers 30-32 come to fruition, of course. As every transit professional knows, convenience and attractiveness is the Holy Grail to attract people from their automobiles onto transit, and the Caltrain/BART-E-line connection would certainly provide that.
More importantly from a city perspective, the E-line service was strongly welcomed by the South Beach-Rincon Hill-Mission Bay neighborhoods. We joined with their neighborhood association to turn out some 30 volunteers to provide information to riders at stops and stations along the E-line, and from the feedback they got, it was much appreciated. Want to add a shout out here to Paul Lucas, our ace volunteer who did a ton of work updating our docent handbook and customizing it for the E-line. Thanks, Paul!
We’ve heard from leaders of the Fisherman’s Wharf Association, the Exploratorium (soon to open at Pier 15), the South Beach-Rincon Hill-Mission Bay Neighborhood Association, UCSF, and others, with words of praise for Muni’s E-line trial, and suggestions for making it even better the next time, during Fleet Week, October 4-8.
Of course, few things work perfectly the first time. On Sunday, there were only four E-line streetcars on the line, instead of the scheduled five, because they ended up a crew short with no backup. As a result, some people waited more than 30 minutes for their ride, while looking at signs predicting service “about every 15 minutes.” And none of the three most historic Muni streetcars, Nos. 1, 130, and 162 (also among the largest capacity streetcars in the fleet) made it out over the weekend, even though significant effort had been expended by Muni to get them ready.
On the other hand, 1948 Muni PCC No. 1008 made its debut after a full restoration, to rave reviews. Here’s a video by volunteer Jamie Whitaker of 1008 passing 1928 Melbourne No. 496, looking right at home at Folsom Station.
Finally, we have to mention how much at home the E-line streetcars looked while they were pulling in and out of service at their weekend home, Metro East. They used the T-line tracks on Third Street to do this. We think it’s a demonstration of how much value there would be in extending the E-line to Pier 70 in Dogpatch, as MSR has long advocated. Here’s a great shot of No. 1008 passing an LRV near the UCSF campus, with AT&T Park in the background.
PCC No. 1008 passes an LRV on the T-line on its way into E-line service on Third Street on the UCSF campus, August 16, 2012. Kevin Sheridan photo. Click to enlarge.
Join us — and volunteer — for the next E-line operation October 4-8.
It looks like the first of the four restored double-end PCC streetcars needed to start up E-line service is finally on its way to San Francisco, albeit 16 months later than the restoration contract specified. Sources tell us that PCC 1008, pictured below at the Brookville Equipment facility in Pennsylvania, is due to arrive at Muni on Friday, putting it somewhere along Interstate 80 at the moment.
We’re also told that the second of the four PCCs, No. 1006, painted identically to 1008 in its original 1948 Muni “Wings” livery, could be here in a couple of weeks. Before they could enter service, they need at least 1,000 miles of testing, according to the contract. It is conceivable that this could be accomplished before Muni’s pledged weekend America’s Cup service on the E-line August 25-26, but glitches with most of the single-end streetcars already received from Brookville in this restoration contract aren’t encouraging, especially since double-end streetcars have twice the number of doors (the new door systems installed in this group of cars have been balky) and controls to check.
Since these renovated cars must operate 20 years or more before their next big overhaul, we believe Muni should test them thoroughly before accepting them, and certainly shouldn’t rush the process just for a couple of days of service in August.
Meantime, we’ve gotten a sneak peak at another of the double-end PCCs at Brookville, courtesy of a Pennsylvania TV station that did a report recently on the opening of a new Brookville facility. We’re not able to embed that video here in this post, but if you follow this link and watch the video, you’ll see (just about one minute in) the reporter doing her standup on the steps of PCC No. 1009, resplendent in its tribute livery honoring Dallas Railway & Terminal Company, one of the few operators (other than Muni) to use double-end PCCs. Though the car looks ready to ship in this shot, it’s not clear what the schedule is. In most cases, months of work remain after painting before a streetcar is ready to ship. The fourth double-end PCC in the group, No. 1011, will be the last to return to Muni.
Meanwhile, we’ve learned that more resources have been provided to Muni maintenance to catch up on projects that were stalled for lack of manpower, including the installation of electronic switch controls (called VETAG) on long-sidelined 1914 Muni streetcar No. 130. If completed by late August, as now scheduled, this would in fact give Muni at least one spare double-end streetcar for that two-day America’s Cup service. No. 130 is very tired, both cosmetically and mechanically (hardly surprising for a 98-year old streetcar that has never had a full restoration, which it is slated for in the next few years). But there’s hope that it has enough left to help out on America’s Cup duties in the next 18 months before that restoration.
So, it’s possible Muni may be able to pull together the double-end streetcars they need for the August America’s Cup weekend after all. This requires that the currently operable double end PCCs (Nos. 1007, 1010, and 1015) stay that way; Melbourne No. 496, normally very reliable, doesn’t develop a long-term issue (it has been out recently with a motor problem but is due back in the next few days; 1914-vintage Muni No. 162 remains available, and No. 130 has its switch control installation completed and doesn’t encounter any other problems. If Muni can accomplish that without rushing the newly-returned PCCs into service prematurely, we’ll be the first to cheer.
By the way, we should note that all but one of the 12 single-end PCCs worked on by Brookville under this contract are now back in service, with Nos. 1075 (in Cleveland livery), 1076 (Washington DC), and 1077 (Birmingham) starting to carry passengers in the last month or so. This leaves only No. 1073 (honoring El Paso-Juarez) still being worked on. It ran into some problems during testing, and has fallen to the back of the pack, but work is underway again on it now. You can always find the current status of every streetcar in Muni’s historic fleet here. Oh, and we don’t forget the cable cars either. Since we’re not part of Muni and receive no government money, your support is essential to keeping this information available and allowing us to advocate for the E-line and quality streetcar restorations. Please consider joining us as a member, or donating now. Thanks.
According to an Examiner story, Muni is planning to run extra streetcar service for America’s Cup events scheduled August 26 and 27, and during Fleet Week in October as well. The story says Muni will activate the long planned E-Embarcadero line for special service on those days only. The article focuses on how Muni will find and train the extra operators needed for this service. Under Muni’s labor agreement, operators already in the system qualify for new assignments by seniority,… — Read More