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Visits to San Francisco in 2003 and 2004

by Elizabeth Guenzler

I have only been to San Francisco twice, once in November 2003 and the other time in May 2004. Both were as part of a larger trip but the cable cars and Bay Area Rapid Transit, MUNI and the Market Street Railways were ridden, albeit very small segments of them. This travelogue, therefore, is but a miniscule, although historic, snapshot of my introduction to them.

Market Street Railway

It was founded in 1976 by three transit preservationists to preserve a vintage Municipal Railway trolley bus that was about to be scrapped. Since then, Market Street Railway has grown to have more than 1,000 members from San Francisco, the Bay Area and throughout the world. Our organization's advocacy was key to turning the Trolley Festivals into a full-time historic streetcar line, named the F-Market, in 1995. Continued advocacy led to the F-line being extended along The Embarcadero and its many piers to reach Fisherman's Wharf in March 2000. The line was then appropriately renamed the F-Market & Wharves line.

The efforts of our organization and its members have helped Muni acquire more than 20 historic transit vehicles. Our volunteers have actively helped restore about fifteen vintage vehicles, including streetcars, cable cars, trolley coaches, and motor coaches. While we have essentially completed that mission, our volunteers continue to help keep the streetcars of the F-line sparkling by cleaning them on the line every day. We also document the history of vintage street railway operation in San Francisco through our quarterly newsletter, Inside Track, and through our website and its blog, our social media presence, including two Facebook groups, Twitter and Instagram feeds and a Flickr photography group.

South East Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) PCC car 1059 (nee Philadelphia Transportation Company 2099) in Boston Elevated Railway livery. Built 1948.

South East Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) PCC car 1051 (nee Philadelphia Transporation Company 2123) in San Francisco Municipal Railway (1960) livery. Built 1948.

Night shots of SEPTA PCC car 1051.

South East Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) PCC car 1055 (nee Philadelphia Transporation Company 2122) in the 1955 to 1968 livery. Built 1948.

South East Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) PCC car 1058 (nee Philadelphia Transporation Company 2124) in Chicago Transit Authority's Green Hornet livery. Built 1948.

South East Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) PCC car 1052 (nee Philadelphia Transporation Company 2110) in the Los Angeles Railway livery. Built 1948.

San Francisco Municipal Railway PCC car 1010 in the blue and yellow MUNI livery. Built 1948.

PCC car 1058, 1052 and 1053 together on November 29th, 2003.

SEPTA 1058 on the (then) new F Line Extension.

The remnants of a former San Francisco Belt Railroad arch bridge that was used for loading materials on barge at Fisherman's Wharf after a 1998 fire.

Views of Caltrain's 4th and King station in San Francisco on November 29th, 2003. The following photographs were taken by Bob Alkire on May 31st, 2004 during a Memorial Day weekend trip to San Jose and area.

San Jose's Southern Pacific station which currently servces Amtrak's Capital Corridor, Coast Starlight, Caltrain and ACE commuter trains.

Amtrak California cab car 8308 "Mount San Gorgonio" at San Jose's Diridon Station, named after former Santa Clara County Supervisor Rod Diridon.

Amtrak California coach 8022 "Pitt River" at Diridon Station.

Amtrak Superliner coach 35010, lower-level snack car.

Amtrak California F59PHI 2003.

San Francisco-bound Caltrain train arriving at San Jose.

Caltrain F40 912 "San Bruno".

The Southern Pacific sunset emblem on the bridge over 22nd Street.

This was my introduction to San Francisco and San Jose. I did return to San Jose in 2018 and ride Valley Transit Authority's light rail quite extensively. However, I do want to go back, ride all the rail lines in the Bay Area and visit the San Francisco Railway Museum.