In 2013, Market Street Railway brought 1934 Blackpool, England “boat tram” to San Francisco, underwritten by a generous donation from the Thoresen Foundation, with shipping help from FedEx. We did it because the boat tram we brought over for Muni in 1984, thanks to Bechtel, had proven to be the most popular single vintage streetcar in Muni’s fleet.
With only one, though, it was impractical to schedule regular operation of the popular car. And even after the second boat tram (#233) arrived, most folks thought Muni still only had the one (#228). When the time came to do some work on 228, we suggested to Director of Transit Julie Kirschbaum that they do what Blackpool itself had done more than a dozen years before: paint the trim on one boat a bright red, to contrast with the traditional green and make it obvious that there are two of them. She thought it was a great idea.
The Boat Tram’s own Twitter account did the big reveal, a little sooner than planned, catching what we’ll call (for now) Red Boat (we need naming contests for both!) crossing over from Balboa Park Station to Cameron Beach Yard, its home, following its repainting. The tweet provoked some, “wait, WHAT?” replies, expressing surprise that Muni had two boats. Mission accomplished. Dick Lui and his paint shop team nailed the repaint, exactly matching Blackpool’s red (no, it’s not supposed to match Muni buses and LRVs; it still carries its Blackpool Transport logos). The spring bumpers still need to be reinstalled before it could go into service.
Interesting timing, because just two days before, its prototype red and green counterparts in Blackpool paraded on that city’s Irish Sea promenade with other vintage trams to commemorate King Charles’ coronation (including a 1952 model actually called a “Coronation”, in honor of his Mum.
You may or may not see Red Boat on the street this summer. It is due for some major truck work. But Boat 233, newly fitted with rebuilt trucks, should be available. We’ll let you know when we have a schedule. Here’s our fleet write-up for these two trams.
But wait. There’s more. Maybe.