What’s your favorite F-Market streetcar?

F Market
Photo by Thomas Hawk

I don’t know about you, but when I have to take an F-Market, I do my best to relish the experience. That, despite sometimes excruciating wait times, burgeoning wait lines, absurd amounts of tourists …

One of my favorite things is the diversity of the fleet. Also, did you know there’s a non-profit organization devoted to preserving historic streetcars of San Francisco? It’s called Market Street Railway. And yes, they have a great website/blog. Check it out.

You probably already have some descriptors for the different types of streetcars out there. But take a look at MSR’s list of all the cars in the fleet, and let us know what your favorite is. There’s: the antique streetcars; the so-called Wheels of the World cars, and the various PCC streetcars. Each has its own unique charm and amenities. The mint green San Diego reminds me of cruising along a beach in an El Camino on a hot sunny day. Or is that just me?

25 comments

  • I love the Washington, D.C. car. Those bright blues with just a little bit of orange get me every time. And it’s my favorite to photograph. Everytime I see one go by I wish I had a camera on me!

  • Thanks for the link, what a fascinating read! My favorites are the Boston car (my hometown, what can I say?) and the New Orleans car, because sometimes it lists the destination as Desire, and I want to swoon.

  • Jennifer

    Right now, I would say, any orange car is my favorite, in support of our SF Giants. (Italian and Boston Elevated)

    Of course, I love the Blackpool England streetcar. It doesn’t run regularly so if you see it, jump on and enjoy! The other would be the Philadelphia car as they were know as the “creme cheese” car.

    • Actually, the boat tram does run in regular service (weather permitting) it’s just that it’s normal run had been the shuttle run between the Ferry Building and the wharves.

      With the September service increases those shuttles were extended to full F-line runs and you’ll now find the boat, New Orleans Desire car and the other one-of-a-kind trolleys making their way to the Castro.

  • Ryan

    My favorite is the Philadelphia car (1007), because I just love the maroon and cream paint job.

  • I refer to any and all rounded ones with a silver top as the “baked potato” streetcars, and that whole genre might be my favorite. They’re the most roomy and comfortable, IMHO, yet still stylin’.

    Though I do love that maroon Philly car.

  • Brandon

    Any of the PCC cars. Breda could learn a thing or two from them.

  • Daffyd

    It would be nice if they actually did one up like the Toronto Transit Commission, considering that’s where they bought a whole bunch of the cars from.

    • We have! No. 1074. It’s getting renovated now and will be on the street next year, in perfect “Red Rocket” livery.

      One correction, though: none of Muni’s PCCs came from Toronto. Cars No. 1050-1063 were purchased in the early 1990s from Philadelphia; cars No. 1070-1080 were bought from Newark in 2002. (The double-end PCC streetcars are original to Muni, built in 1948.

      • A tourist

        No the TTC PCC is not perfect. On both sides of the rear dorrs, the should be a sign that reads
        EXIT ONLY
        UNLAWFUL
        TO ENTER BY
        THIS DOOR

        If you have that, it is a true replica.

  • AlexJB

    The boat’s awesome! My girlfriend rode it for the first time two weeks ago, and she had never seen it before. Such a rare combo required to make that one work, though…

    I probably shouldn’t say this, but we ride the F from Castro downtown in the AM cause it’s WAY more comfy than the underground at the magic 8am hour.

    The Italians are the ones I like the least – they’re so damned noisy! Is that a comment on culture? 😉

    • Sean C.

      Re: The Milan, Italy ones – I recall reading when they premiered that SF Muni could not match SF’s existing track with the wheel gauge dimensions for Milan’s. And that they had to rework the wheels for these. Thus the bumpy ride. In Milan, I take it it’s far less rattly.

  • I’ve been trying to catch the Blackpool “boat” car for ages. But it rarely comes down Market St, and it’s rarely warm enough, and I rarely go to Pier 39.

  • Dennis

    I enjoy riding the double ended “Torpedoe” cars, 1007, 1010 and 1015. These cars are original to SF. I rode them in 1960-62 going to City College. Four others are currently being re-built and I’ll enjoy riding them, when they return.

  • Sean C.

    Overall, have always loved the Milan ones for their uniquely ‘euro’ flare.

    Runners Up:
    Boston: Instant warm fuzzies everytime. Since my mom actually road these to school back in the day. [instant hometown nostalgia for me as well. I recall my last ride on these before they finally ripped the L in Boston down.)

    Cleveland: I’m just a sucker for that color combo/palette.

  • A tourist

    My favourite is the peter witts because of the view from the back.

    • A tourist

      I wish that MUNI would aquire some Toronto Peter Witts. If you want to see a picture of one, go to the halton county radial railway’s website. I heard that they used to have a coal furnace across from the back door! These cars won’t rattle as much and in order to open the back door, you just have to stand on tge stairs, which you can actually feel move down (it scared me the first time I was on one). Finally, these witts are the true “red rockets”.

  • Dennis

    Some of my favorite paint jobs are: For the PCCs, I’d have to say Birminghan, #1077 is my favorite by far. But, the two Los Angeles cars, #1052 and #1080 (not in service) are a close second. #1070, Newark Public Service, the “Ruby Slippers” car, with it’s red wheels, will be a great addition when it come in service. For the Milam Trams: #1818 and #1888 in there two tone green are my favorites. To see photos of all these cars, log onto the Market Street Railway website, http://www.streetcar.org and click on “Streetcars and Cable Cars. Enjoy!!

  • Jon

    Gotta go with Birmingham, if only for the bittersweet reminder that my ancestral home once had the second-largest streetcar system in America…morons…

  • Trolleypup

    Well, as much as I like Car 1 (currently away for rebuilding), I have to say that the car I most miss operating now that I’m supervising is the Boat. It is a bit tricky to operate…kills your back after a couple days in a row, but Dayum! what a crowd-pleaser. What else does Muni have that can put a smile on everybody’s face?

    Heh! I’ll always remember that trip back to the garage with a group of young women partying hard enough that we had a police escort to the carbarn!

  • John

    i love the topless one that only comes out on really nice days

  • The Boat without a doubt…but i also like the two SF vintage streetcars…The Iron Monster (162) and 130…I hope we can see 130 back on the road soon!

  • Christopher

    While I love riding all of the F Trains when I don’t have anywhere to be fast, the absolutely love the livery of the San Diego No. 1078. It’s so classy and looks great rolling down the streets.

    But there is always something about the Milan cars that riding them and hearing nearly every tourist on them speaking a language other than English that makes me feel worldly at home all of a sudden.

    (I can’t wait to finally ride No. 1 when it’s ready though!)

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