F Market & Wharves

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F Market & Wharves
Car 1015 (Illinois Terminal) on Market Street.jpg
Car 1015, one of San Francisco's original double-ended PCC streetcars, on Market Street near the Ferry Building, painted in the colors of the Illinois Terminal Railroad (St. Louis)
Type Heritage streetcar
System San Francisco Municipal Railway
Locale San Francisco, California
Termini Jones and Beach
Fort Mason (planned)
17th Street and Castro
Stations 32
Daily ridership 23,208 (2013)[1]
Opened 1983–1987 (Trolley Festivals)
1995 (revenue service)
Owner San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
Operator(s) San Francisco Municipal Railway
Character At grade, street running
Rolling stock Historic Muni streetcars:
1, 130, 162, 578
PCC streetcars:
Muni, SEPTA, NJ Transit
Other historic streetcars:
New Orleans, Blackpool, Melbourne, Milan, Zurich
Additional unrestored streetcars
Line length 6 mi (10 km)
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
(standard gauge)
Electrification Overhead lines, DC
Route map
Jones and Beach  E 
Jefferson and Taylor
Beach and Mason
Jefferson and Powell Pier 41
Beach and Stockton
Bay Area Rapid Transit
Market San Francisco Ferry Building
N Judah logo.svg T Third Street logo.svg Market Street Subway
Don Chee Way and Steuart BSicon MBAHN.svg
Main and Drumm
Bay Area Rapid Transit
1st and Battery
2nd and Montgomery Bay Area Rapid Transit
3rd and Kearny/Geary
Central Subway 2019
4th and Stockton/Ellis Bay Area Rapid Transit
5th and Powell
Bay Area Rapid Transit
6th and Taylor
7th and Jones Bay Area Rapid Transit
8th and Hyde Bay Area Rapid Transit
9th and Larkin
Bay Area Rapid Transit
11th Street Wye
Van Ness US 101
Haight and Gough
Laguna and Guerrero
Dolores and Duboce
N Judah logo.svg
14th and ChurchJ Church logo.svg
15th and Sanchez
16th and Noe
17th and Castro
Twin Peaks Tunnel
K Ingleside logo.svg L Taraval logo.svg M Ocean View logo.svg T Third Street logo.svg

F Market & Wharves map

The F Market & Wharves line is one of several light rail lines in San Francisco, California. Unlike most other lines in the system, the F line runs as a heritage streetcar service, using exclusively historic equipment both from San Francisco's retired fleet as well as from cities around the world. While the F line is operated by the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni), its operation is supported by Market Street Railway, a nonprofit organization of streetcar enthusiasts which raises funds and helps to restore vintage streetcars.

Despite its heritage status, the F Market & Wharves line is an integral part of Muni's intermodal urban transport network, operating at frequent intervals for 20 hours a day, seven days a week. It carries local commuters and tourists alike, linking residential, business and leisure oriented areas of the city. Unlike the San Francisco cable car system, standard Muni fares (and transfers) are levied.


Previous F-Line[edit]

Main article: F Stockton

In 1915, the San Francisco Municipal Railway started the F-Stockton route, which ran from Laguna (later Scott) and Chestnut Streets in the Marina down Stockton Street to 4th and Market Streets near Union Square, later extended to the Southern Pacific Depot (currently the Caltrain Depot) in 1947. The streetcar line was discontinued in 1951 and was replaced by the 30-Stockton route, which still runs today.

The F-line designation was therefore available for use by the current line, although that service is over a completely different route from the F-line of 1915 to 1951.

Previous lines on Market Street[edit]

Market Street is a major transit artery for the city of San Francisco, and has carried in turn horse-drawn streetcars, cable cars and electric streetcars. In the 1960s construction began on the Market Street Subway, which would carry BART's trains on its lower level. All streetcar lines currently operating in the subway previously ran on the surface of Market Street, and were eventually diverted into the upper level of the tunnel. This diversion, together with the provision of new light rail cars, resulted in today's Muni Metro system.

The diversion of the Market Street streetcar lines into tunnel and the replacement of the existing streetcars with new light rail cars was completed by November 1982. However, the street trackage on Market Street was retained, and many of the old streetcars were still in storage.

Historic Trolley Festivals[edit]

In 1982, San Francisco's cable car lines were shut down for almost two years to allow for a major rebuild. To provide an alternative tourist attraction during this period, the San Francisco Historic Trolley Festivals began in 1983.[2] These summertime operations of vintage streetcars on Market Street were a joint project of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and Muni.[2]

The trolley festival route went from the Transbay Terminal at First and Mission Streets to Market, then up the retained Market Street tracks to Duboce Avenue. From there, it followed a 'temporary' streetcar detour built in the 1970s to bypass subway construction under Market: Duboce, Church Street, and 17th Street to Castro.

F-Market Line[edit]

Ex-Milan streetcar on the F Line
F Market PCC 1053 (Painted in tribute to Brooklyn & Queens Transit Corporation) boards at Castro and Market Streets, preparing to depart for Fisherman's Wharf.

The Trolley Festival proved so successful it was repeated every year until 1987. In that year, preparation began for the introduction of a permanent F line. After that year’s festival finished, Muni replaced the old Market Street tracks with new ones, restoring tracks to upper Market Street and recreating a line to Castro. Different types of vintage streetcars were evaluated to provide the backbone of the F-line fleet, resulting in the decision to use the PCC car, with its San Francisco transit heritage. Fourteen such cars were acquired second-hand from Philadelphia, to add to three of Muni’s own retired double-ended PCCs.

On September 1, 1995, the F line opened[3][4] replacing the faster number 8 bus with a parade of PCC cars, painted to represent some of the two dozen North American cities that this type of streetcar once served. This was a rare instance in which a streetcar replaced a bus line in operation, rather than the other way around. Ridership exceeded expectation, and the need for extra cars resulted in the acquisition of ten Peter Witt style cars just being retired in the city of Milan, Italy. These cars were built in the 1920s to a design once common in North American cities, and their sister cars are still widely used on the Milan tramway network.

Extension on the Embarcadero[edit]

F Line PCC streetcar at Pier 39

The Embarcadero is the eastern waterfront roadway of San Francisco, along San Francisco Bay. At one time busy with port and ferry related traffic, it fell into decline as freight transferred to the container terminals of Oakland and the Bay Bridge replaced the ferries. In the 1960s the elevated Embarcadero Freeway was built above, dividing the city from the bay, but was condemned and demolished after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Proposals for streetcar service along The Embarcadero were put forward as early as 1974,[5] and historic streetcar service along The Embarcadero was first provided during the 1987 Trolley Festival, using existing Belt Railroad tracks on The Embarcadero and towed diesel generators to provide power.

With increasing development of the waterfront for leisure and tourist activities, and the existence of Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 at its northern end, it was decided to rebuild the Embarcadero as a tree-lined boulevard complete with a streetcar reservation. The section north of Market Street was to be served by an extension of the F line. Tracks were extended on the northern end of Market to connect with the Embarcadero tracks. In March 2000, service on the F line began along the new extension to Fisherman's Wharf.[6]

A month later, Muni dedicated a car to Herb Caen, the noted columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle perhaps most famous for coining the phrase Baghdad by the Bay to describe The City. The car contains wood paneling and is decorated with many quotes from Caen.


The trolleys operate continuously, reversing direction via loops at the ends of the line. Although the cars are able to utilize the tunnels, the F-line operates on the street level. Along Market Street, trolleys stop at street level above nearby BART and Muni Metro stations located below street level. The stations and stops are as follows (connections to other routes are noted):

Except for the height of certain platforms (mostly on the T Third Street line), F Market & Wharves line cars are fully compatible with the rest of the Muni Metro system. Indeed, the cars can be privately chartered and are operated all over the system.

Car fleet[edit]

Muni owns a large selection of equipment for use on the F line, although not all of them are in service at the same time. The car fleet includes four sub-fleets of PCC streetcars. These are Peter Witt streetcars, pre-PCC veteran streetcars from San Francisco, and a diverse collection of 10 streetcars and trams from various overseas operators.[7]

The line is principally operated by a mixture of the PCC and Peter Witt cars, although other more unusual or historic cars are often in service (including the 913 and 952, iconic streetcars named Desire). Although the modern Muni LRVs are not compatible with F-line service, Boeing LRVs have operated down parts of Market Street one or more times.[8]

PCC car 1063 turning into the foot of Market Street. Built in 1948 for service in Philadelphia, it was acquired by Muni in 1995 and is painted in a livery once carried by Baltimore's PCC cars.
Two PCC cars at the Jones and Beach terminus. The car in the foreground is one of San Francisco's original double-ended cars.

PCC fleet[edit]

A fleet of PCC streetcars from San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Newark, built between 1946 and 1948, operate on the line. As of August 2007, MUNI was operating 27 of these cars, restored to various states of service. Among the restored cars in service, three are original San Francisco double-ended PCC cars. Another 16 cars are single-ended cars acquired from SEPTA in Philadelphia in 1992 (which continues to operate another 18 cars today, retrofitted for ADA compliance), while the remaining 11 cars are single-ended cars acquired from New Jersey Transit in Newark in 2002.[9]

MUNI has another 30 unrestored PCC cars in long-term storage.[9] The unrestored cars include five additional San Francisco double-ended cars, 10 San Francisco single-ended cars, 12 single-ended cars acquired from St. Louis in 1957, two single-ended cars from Philadelphia, and two single-ended cars from Pittsburgh. A further previously restored car from Philadelphia was written off after a traffic accident in 2003.[10]

Many of the restored cars are painted in the color schemes of prominent past and present PCC streetcar operators, including Muni itself and other transit systems.[9]

Former Milan Peter Witt car carrying the two-tone green color scheme used by Milan in the 1930s.

Peter Witt fleet[edit]

Muni operates a fleet of Peter Witt streetcars on the line, acquired from Milan, Italy. There are 11 of these cars, all built in 1928 to an Italian derivative of a common streetcar design that operated in many US cities, although never previously in San Francisco.[11]

Most of San Francisco's Peter Witt cars are currently painted in the overall orange color scheme that they carried in Milan, although one has been repainted into its original livery of yellow and white with black trim, while another is in the two-tone green livery that the cars carried from the 1930s to the 1970s.[11]

Veteran San Francisco streetcar 130 was built for Muni in 1914, and operates in the livery it carried in 1939.

San Francisco vintage fleet[edit]

The F-Line fleet also includes a fleet of pre-PCC vintage cars built between 1895 and 1924 for use in San Francisco. Three passenger cars were built for Muni itself, and a further two for the independent Market Street Railway Company that ran competing streetcar services in San Francisco until acquired by Muni in 1944. The final car is a works flat car, built for Muni in 1916 and used for hauling rails, ties, and other materials needed to maintain a streetcar system.[12]

The cars carry a variety of former San Francisco streetcar color schemes.[12]

Worldwide fleet[edit]

The Muni's international fleet on the F-Line includes a diverse collection of 10 cars from various operators worldwide:[12]

All the cars carry the color schemes of their original operators, except for the Brussels car, which currently carries a color scheme paying tribute to San Francisco's twin city of Zürich in Switzerland. The Moscow trams had to be equipped with 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) trucks.[citation needed]

Fort Mason[edit]

The abandoned railway tunnel under Fort Mason will be part of a future extension.

Muni completed a technical feasibility study to extend the F-Line from the vicinity of the existing Jones Street terminal with the assistance of the National Park Service in December 2004. The extended line would extend westward alongside the San Francisco Maritime Museum and Aquatic Park and then through the historic (1914) but disused single-track Fort Mason Tunnel, formerly owned by the State Belt Railroad.

An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the extension, again led by the National Park Service, commenced in May 2006, a draft EIS was issued in March 2011,[13] and the Final EIR was issued in February 2012. The final document classified areas west of the Fort Mason Tunnel as having "inadequate regional transit access...limited transportation options for transit-dependent residents...[and] infrastructure constraints impacting effectiveness and operations of Fort Mason Center;" the FEIR named double-tracked extension along Beach Street, a jog north to Aquatic Park, then across Van Ness Avenue to single-tracked service through a retrofitted Fort Mason Tunnel to a terminus on Marina Boulevard the "preferred alternative".[14]

Fort Mason extension stations[edit]

Stop Outbound
(to Castro District)
(to Fort Mason)
Handicapped/disabled access Connections Notes
Fort Mason
Inbound terminus
Handicapped/disabled access
Van Ness
Handicapped/disabled access
Hyde & Beach
Handicapped/disabled access
Jones and Beach
Existing inbound terminus
Handicapped/disabled access

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "TEP Route Data & Proposed Changes". San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). 2013. Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  2. ^ a b Perles, Anthony (1984). "Chapter 9: The Trolley Festival". Tours of Discovery: A San Francisco Muni Album. Interurban Press. pp. 136–142. ISBN 0-916374-60-2. 
  3. ^ Sebree, Mac. "Kodachrome PCCs Roll Down Market Street". Pacific RailNews, November 1995 issue. Pentrex.
  4. ^ Ehrlich, Peter. "PCCs by the Bay". Passenger Train Journal, June 1996 issue, pp. 24-31. Pentrex.
  5. ^ "Historic Streetcars". San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  6. ^ "A brief history of the F-line". Market Street Railway. Retrieved March 20, 2006. 
  7. ^ "The historic streetcars of the F-line fleet". Market Street Railway. 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-14. 
  8. ^ MUNI LRVs--1258 @ Market/Duboce
  9. ^ a b c "The PCC: A streetcar named success". Market Street Railway. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  10. ^ "F-line fleet operational status". Market Street Railway. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  11. ^ a b "The Milan 'Peter Witt' trams". Market Street Railway. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  12. ^ a b c "Muni's incomparable antique streetcars". Market Street Railway. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  13. ^ http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectId=15547
  14. ^ "Final Environmental Impact Statement for Extension of F-Line Streetcar Service to Fort Mason Center". Golden Gate National Recreation Area San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Retrieved 2012-08-11. 

External links[edit]