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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

From one waterfront tramway to another

A splendid scene complete with PCC in former Birmingham Transit (the US city in Alabama!) fleet colours amid soaring palms on San Francisco Bay waterfront.

No question that San Francisco is home to the world's most colourful heritage tram operation - quite apart from the mix of trolleybuses, modern trams, cable cars and

the emblematic BART regional rail network (Bay Area Rapid Transit in American speak).

Fortunately my wife has two brothers working in the Bay Area and returning this week from an extended stay allowed some 'snaps' of a very different waterfront operation. From PCC cars to heritage trams of diverse cities (including of course Blackpool) and a mini fleet of Milan Peter Witt cars - all in regular scheduled service the city has to be a must visit destination for every self respecting enthusiast. I paid my respects to San Francisco during my time working in the US and captured scenes of extensive construction with the new Market Street subway and final years before the arrival of the then new Boeing Vertol built streetcars. At that time the MUNI streetcar system was sustained by a very mixed bag of ageing PCCs including exiles from Toronto drafted in to keep the services going. This was the mid 1970s. It was then a very different picture from the examples captured by my wife two weeks back. A couple of the former images by way of contrast.

Not sure who is towing or pushing who in the above photo.

Rusting panels portray the decline of once smart new PCC cars by now awaiting their successors - but still providing a sterling service judging by the full load and waiting queues on Market Street. Photos : John Woodman

Below : A somewhat different encounter with now immaculate PCC cars this time on the F Line and bedecked in the fleet colours of US cities which formerly operated these modern trams (for their time) : Cleveland with its strange intricate style more clearly seen from the front but not in this view.

Note the intricate trackwork at this junction and pebbled road surface to discourage pedestrians and cyclists. Above and below.

A glimpse of a Milan car in its later all orange livery of ATM followed by a PCC in the colours of the Minneapolis (Twin Cities) system of yore. Photos : Gail Woodman

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