Private Cruise on the Boat Tram, Just for You, June 4

UPDATE: This event is SOLD OUT. If you’d like to be the first to know when our next trolley tour will happen, ask to be added to our excursion notification list by emailing us at [email protected].

Sunday, June 4, one of the famous 1934 Blackpool “boat trams” will cruise again on the tracks of the F-line, with a guided tour of everything historic along the route from our friends at City Guides and our own Paul Lucas. It’s a private charter, and seats are limited.

Here’s the link with all the information. You don’t want to miss this!

No Comments on Private Cruise on the Boat Tram, Just for You, June 4
Share

“R” You Ready? Muni’s First Trolley Bus Line Runs Again Sept. 24-25

IMG_4064

 

Seventy-five years ago this month, Muni opened its very first trolley bus line. The “R-Howard” ran from Beale and Howard Streets out Howard and South Van Ness to Army Street (now Cesar Chavez). This Muni Heritage Weekend, September 24-25, you’ll be able to ride the R-line one more time, to celebrate its 75th anniversary.

The action starts at our San Francisco Railway Museum, 77 Steuart Street between Market and Mission (across from the Ferry Building). There at the curb you’ll see the last surviving trolley bus that originally ran the R-line, a 1941 model that Market Street Railway acquired some years ago and cosmetically restored. It doesn’t operate — getting it back into running shape is a priority of ours, and we’re working with some good folks at Muni to see what can be done — but it will be on display carrying a timeline of Muni’s trolley bus history inside.

Once you’ve inspected the original R-Howard bus, you can board one of its two descendants — a 1950 Marmon-Herrington or 1975 Flyer — for an actual ride that gets pretty close to the R-line original. (The R-line became part of the 41-Union-Howard in the late 1940s, a route No. 776 used to run.) There hasn’t been passenger trolley bus service on Howard for a long time, but the wires were left up to give Mission Street buses a detour when needed, and to make a faster trip to and from the bus barn.

The buses will leave the museum every 45 minutes starting at 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Given that Howard is now one-way downtown, they’ll follow this route with no stops: Steuart, Market, Fourth, Howard, South Van Ness, and 26th Street to Mission. At the corner of 26th and Mission, they’ll make a brief stop to let riders from the Mission and Bernal Heights climb on, then head back downtown, again express, via Mission, 25th, South Van Ness, 11th Street, Market, Spear, Mission, and Steuart.

14225616_10153969741723691_4452784592297089077_n

The 776 was out today giving operators some refresher training. Here it is at Mission & 16th Streets, as captured by our friend Adolfo Echeverry.

Though the R-line was Muni’s first trolley coach line, it was San Francisco’s second. Its private competitor Market Street Railway Company (namesake of our non-profit) converted its 33-line streetcar through SOMA, the Mission,and over Twin Peaks, to trolley coaches in 1935. The R-line came about after the franchise the city had given Market Street Railway for the 35-line streetcar expired at the end of the 1930s. Single operator buses were cheaper to run than two-operator streetcars, and the 35-line didn’t have many riders, so Muni decided to try the newer trolley bus technology and maybe steal some passengers from their competitor’s lines on Mission, such as the 14.

The revival of the R-line is just one aspect of Muni Heritage Weekend, which includes rarely seen vintage streetcars and buses carrying the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, September 24-25. This is your chance to ride one of the popular boat trams from Blackpool, England or San Francisco’s oldest streetcar, the 1896 “dinky” at no charge from our museum to Pier 39. There’ll be a big sidewalk sale of streetcar memorabilia, and lots of other things going on as well. Keep an eye on this space to learn more!

 

No Comments on “R” You Ready? Muni’s First Trolley Bus Line Runs Again Sept. 24-25
Share

New Boat at E-line Ceremony July 31

DSC_9146

Muni’s new “boat tram,” Blackpool, England open-top Car No. 233, will officially debut on July 31 at the opening press event for the new E-Embarcadero line. The new boat tram, Muni’s second example of this popular 1934 design, was acquired for Muni by Market Street Railway in 2013, thanks to a very generous donation by the Thoresen Foundation, and ocean shipping subsidized by FedEx Trade Networks.  The boat, pictured above when on display during 2013’s Muni Heritage Weekend, has been out and about testing and training operators this week.

Photo seekers should be able to get excellent shots from the new Brannan Street Wharf on the Bay across from the Brannan Street Muni Metro Station.  The new boat, and PCC No. 1006 will pass by on E-line track about 10:30 a.m.  The two streetcars will proceed along the E-line right-of-way on The Embarcadero, branching off where the N- and T-line lines go into the subway at Folsom, and continuing north to Mission, where the press event will take place. We’ll be looking for one of these images for our 2017 Market Street Railway calendar, so please submit them to our Flickr group, tagged 2017msrcalendar.

You can also view the E-line press event at Mission and The Embarcadero, starting at 10:45 a.m. If you come, stop by our museum at the Steuart Street F-line stop, and be one of the first to pick up our new 2016 calendar, just delivered to us.

Remember, weekend E-line service starts this Saturday, August 1, from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. between the Caltrain station at Fourth and King, and Fisherman’s Wharf. Streetcars will operate every 15 minutes.

IMPORTANT: Though boat tram No. 233 will be “christened” on July 31 as part of the E-line celebration, it will not actually operate on the E-line, nor will its twin, No. 228, because the E-line requires double-end streetcars. While the boats operated as double-enders in Blackpool, Muni needed to create a wheelchair space on board to conform to the Americans With Disabilities Act. This required the doors on one side to be blocked. So No. 223 is not expected to carry regular passengers on Friday. Market Street Railway is working with SFMTA to try to get both boats into regular service for a number of days on the F-line later this year, and we expect both to operate for Muni Heritage Weekend, September 26-27.

1 Comment on New Boat at E-line Ceremony July 31
Share

Toot Toot!

IMG_20131031_144927_511.jpg

Muni’s “newest” streetcar, 1934 Blackpool boat tram No. 233, ran under its own power today at Cameron Beach Yard, less than a week after it arrived in San Francisco from England. Enormous credit goes to Muni’s vintage streetcar shop crew, who swarmed the boat upon arrival. They repaired bumper and panel damage incurred at the museum that had custody of it (that’s the repaired end in the photo), painted all the seats, cut down the tower atop the center cab (which came disassembled anyway), so that the car would work under our lower wire, painted and installed the new tower, trolley base and trolley pole, and reconnected the power.
Whew.
And it worked.
The plan calls for testing Friday, followed by a trip to our San Francisco Railway Museum, where the car will be on display Saturday and Sunday. No public rides yet, but just looking at it will make most people smile.
Congratulations to the Muni maintenance team for a fantastic effort!

No Comments on Toot Toot!
Share

New Boat Could Be on Display This Weekend

Muni’s Otto Granados working on the body of Blackpool boat tram No. 233, October 29, 2013. George Bernal photo from our Facebook group. The second Blackpool Boat Tram that Market Street Railway just acquired for Muni may be ready to show off as part of Muni Heritage Weekend this Saturday and Sunday. The Muni shops have already shortened the trolley pole tower that sits above the tram’s center cab (used in Blackpool because their double-deckers require higher trolley wire, but… — Read More

No Comments on New Boat Could Be on Display This Weekend
Share

New Arrival

Blackpool, England "boat tram" No. 233 arriving at Cameron Beach Yard October 25, 2013, following its trip from England. It becomes Muni’s second boat tram. As our members learned first in their exclusive newsletter, Inside Track, Market Street Railway has acquired for Muni a second boat tram. We’ll have much more to say about this here in a few days, but for now, we just want to thank Michael Thoresen, the most generous donor who made the acquisition possible through… — Read More

No Comments on New Arrival
Share

Mid-Market Comeback

PCC No. 1060 enlivens the scene at Seventh and Market Streets. (c) Melissa Wuschnig. In his Chronicle column today, former Mayor Willie Brown said of the mid-Market area, “After decades of nothing but talk, that area is really taking off.” Decades is right. I grew up on Market Street. My family had delicatessens between Fifth and Sixth and between Fourth and Third in the 1950s (and one at Fifth and Jessie as well). As a kid, I watched the stretch… — Read More

No Comments on Mid-Market Comeback
Share

Call Me Ishmael

Actually, Pequod is more appropriate, because we’re talking about the ship, rather than the crew here. It’s the wildly popular Blackpool boat tram, that 1934 Deco delight, posing at the Pier 39 turnback track in front of a breaching whale off to starboard. No, it wasn’t white nor named Moby. Actually, we’d never endanger our 44 guests, out for a cruise this last Sunday on one of our Market Street Railway-City Guides tours. We especially wanted a smooth ride for… — Read More

2 Comments on Call Me Ishmael
Share

Ahoy! Sail the F-line in Style on October 23

UPDATE: WE’RE SOLD OUT FOR THE TOUR! THANKS. Our trolley tour is back on track, with a nautical theme this time! Market Street Railway and San Francisco City Guides are again collaborating on a memorable vintage streetcar ride along Muni’s historic F-line on Sunday, October 23 from 1-3pm. This extra special history tour in the fabulous open-top “Boat Tram*” (Blackpool, England, Car No. 228) offers a fresh-air view of the sights and sounds along the F-line on Market Street and… — Read More

No Comments on Ahoy! Sail the F-line in Style on October 23
Share