Giddy riders. Laughing kids. Happy crew members. Public transit that takes people where they want to go with flair and fun. THIS is why Market Street Railway worked hard to bring two Blackpool, England open-top “Boat Trams” to San Francisco and gift them to the City’s transit agency, Muni, 30 years apart.
But no need to talk about it when you can see rider satisfaction in action, on Sunday, October 10, 2021 during the City’s annual Fleet Week celebration, featuring Navy ships and the famous Blue Angels aerobatic team. Sit back and enjoy the ride, with motorman Mike Delia and conductor Damon Williams. Just click on the video below.
Thanks so much to SFMTA’s Jeff Tumlin and Julie Kirschbaum for bringing out the Boat (and 1928 Melbourne Tram 496 too) for Fleet Week. Thanks to the operators and maintainers who made it such a smooth, fun ride on both vintage trams.
The Blackpool Boat Tram and the Melbourne tram both cruised The Embarcadero to the delight of riders and onlookers on their initial day of Fleet Week service, Thursday, October 8. They’ll be out every day through Monday, October 11, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. between our San Francisco Railway Museum (across from the Ferry Building) and Pier 39.
Our museum will be open Friday, Saturday, and (just added) Sunday from 11-5.
Need additional incentive to come down? The boat and Melbourne rides are FREE!
The weekend of Fleet Week (that’s Saturday-Sunday, October 8-9 this year) is one of the most crowded weekends along The Embarcadero with pedestrians, motorists, and transit riders all jamming in along the waterfront to see the Navy ships, the Blue Angels air show and more. This year, the Italian Heritage Parade takes place Sunday on top of it all, closing Jefferson Street (and the F-line route) through Fisherman’s Wharf for a time.
Muni has just announced some service adjustments for the weekend on the E- and F-lines. Here they are:
F-Market-Wharves: streetcars will run regular service, except that if pedestrians spill over onto the trackway in the Wharf areas (which has happened before), F-line cars would be switched back at Pier 39. There will be supplemental bus service as well on the F.
E-Embarcadero: streetcars will turn back at Pier 39 to lessen congestion on Jefferson; however, if the F-line is cut back to Pier 39, E-line cars would then be cut back to the Bay Street crossover, two blocks farther south.
F-Market-Wharves: streetcars will switch back at Pier 39 for the Italian Heritage Parade from 8 a.m. until the end of the parade.
E-Embarcadero: streetcars will switch back at Bay Street for the Italian Heritage Parade from 8 a.m. until the end of the parade.
Here’s a tip for people driving into the city for the events: park in Mission Bay where there are several lots and either take the T-line on Third Street and transfer to the E-line at 2nd and King (AT&T Park) or walk to the Caltrain depot and take the E from there. E cars will have space in that direction.
The other day, we talked about helpful Muni operators on the Boat Tram. Here’s a different angle on that, literally. The cruise ship Crystal Symphony called at Pier 35 yesterday, with relatives on board. A tour gave us the chance to snap a few shots from a vantage point San Franciscans rarely experience. That includes sweeping views of the Wharf area with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, and, in this case, two F-line streetcars, No. 1053 (Brooklyn) approaching Pier 39 and No. 1015 (Illinois Terminal) turning from Beach onto The Embarcadero. The World War II merchant ship S.S. Jeremiah O’Brien and submarine U.S.S. Pampanito are visible just beyond Pier 39; the Piers of Fort Mason, proposed terminal of the historic streetcar extension, can be seen just below the Golden Gate Bridge archway over the Civil War-era Fort Point.
Click photos to enlarge
In my San Francisco lifetime, I’d never had this exact vantage point (unless you count an occasional trip in a news helicopter back in my reporter days). Off the bow, above, a head-on shot of Coit Tower almost at eye level, with a foreground of the eclectic mix of sheds behind the historic facade of Pier 35. From the ship’s port side, below, spectacular views over the finger piers of downtown and the Bay Bridge. Certainly a different perspective.
Now to finally get a cruise ship terminal worthy of our city…