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F Market

     F Market & Wharves
Car 1015, one of San Francisco's original double-ended PCC Streetcars, on Market Street near the Ferry Building painted in the colors of Illinois Terminal (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
Opening 1983–1987 (Trolley Festivals)
1995 (revenue service)
Owner San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
Operator(s) San Francisco Municipal Railway
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
(standard gauge)
Electrification Overhead lines, DC
Highest elevation at grade
Route map

The F Market & Wharves line is one of several light rail lines in San Francisco, California. Unlike the other lines, the F line is operated 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 are levied.


Previous F-Line

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

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. The streetcar lines that previously ran on the surface of Market Street were diverted into the upper level of this 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

In 1982, San Francisco's cable car lines had to be 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.[1] These summertime operations of vintage streetcars on Market Street were a joint project of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and Muni.[1]

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

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[2][3] 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

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 this was condemned and demolished after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Proposals for streetcar service along The Embarcadero were put forward as early as 1974,[4] 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 the 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 of this 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.[5]

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):

Stop Outbound
(to Castro District)
(to Fisherman's Wharf)
Connections Notes
Jones and Beach
Inbound terminus
  • Powell-Hyde cable car (waterfront terminal)
  • Muni local route 47
Jefferson and Taylor
Jefferson and Powell
Jefferson and The Embarcadero
  • Muni local route 39
  • Muni express routes 8X, 8BX
  • Main stop for Pier 39 and Coit Tower (via Muni Route 39)
  • A direct loop connection, from Jefferson & the Embarcadero to Beach & Stockton, allows cars to be turned short of the Jones and Beach terminal
Beach and Mason
  • Powell-Mason cable car (waterfront terminal)
  • Muni local route 47
Beach and Stockton
Inbound splits from Embarcadero towards Jefferson Street; outbound joins Embarcadero from Beach Street
Bay and The Embarcadero
  • Golden Gate Transit commute routes to Marin and Sonoma Counties
Chestnut and The Embarcadero
Greenwich and The Embarcadero
  • Muni express route 82X
Green and The Embarcadero
Broadway and the Embarcadero
Washington and the Embarcadero
Ferry Terminal/Market and the Embarcadero
  • Main stop for the Ferry Building, Justin Herman Plaza, and the foot of Market Street
  • For areas along the Embarcadero southeast (logical east) of the Ferry Building, it is possible to walk three blocks east to the Folsom Street station where Muni Metro Routes N (weekdays only) and T stop.
  • A turning loop capable of turning cars coming off either the Embarcadero or Market Street exists east of this station, and a non-revenue connection to the Muni Metro line further east along the Embarcadero
Outbound trains leave the Embarcadero, passing by briefly through a private right-of-way that has been designated as Don Chee Way and Steuart Street, before joining Market Street
Don Chee Way and Steuart
  • Muni local routes 2, 6, 14, 21, 31
  • Muni express route 14X
  • Muni owl routes L, N
Inbound trains leave Market Street, passing by briefly through Steuart Street and Don Chee Way, before joining the Embarcadero
Main and Drumm

Inbound only
  • Embarcadero Station (BART and Muni Metro)
  • California Street cable car line
  • Muni local routes 1, 2, 6, 9, 21, 31, 41
  • Muni limited-stop route 9L
  • Muni express routes 1AX, 1BX, 30X, 31AX, 31BX, 38AX, 38BX, 80X, 82X
  • Muni owl routes L, N
1st and Battery

Inbound only
  • Golden Gate Transit commuter routes to/from Marin and Sonoma Counties
  • Muni local routes 2, 5, 6, 9, 21, 31, 38, 71, 76
  • Muni limited-stop routes 9L, 38L, 71L
  • Muni express route 81X
  • Muni owl routes L, N
  • One of three main stops for the Financial District, the other two being Main & Drumm, and 2nd & Montgomery
2nd and Montgomery

Outbound only
  • Montgomery Street Station (BART and Muni Metro)
  • Muni local routes 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 21, 31, 38, 71, 76
  • Muni limited-stop routes 9L, 38L, 71L
  • Muni owl routes L, N
  • One of three main stops for the Financial District, the other two being Main & Drumm, and 1st & Battery
3rd and Kearny/Geary
  • AC Transit owl route 800
  • Muni local routes 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 21, 30, 31, 38, 45, 71, 76
  • Muni limited-stop routes 9L, 38L, 71L
  • Muni express routes 8X, 8AX, 8BX
  • Muni owl routes L, N, 91
  • Main stop for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and South of Market museums
  • Inbound Muni local routes 30 and 45 (connections from Caltrain); express routes 8X, 8AX, and 8BX; and owl route 91 stop at Third Street near Market and Kearny & Geary; outbound trips, use Fourth and Stockton stop
4th and Stockton/Ellis
  • Powell Street Station (BART and Muni Metro)
  • Muni local routes 5, 6, 9, 21, 30, 31, 45, 71
  • Muni limited-stop routes 9L, 71L
  • Muni express routes 8X, 8AX, 8BX, 16X
  • Muni owl routes L, N, 91
  • Main stop for Union Square (via Stockton Street), Moscone Center, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
  • Inbound Muni express route 16X ends at Fourth Street near Market Street
  • Outbound Muni local routes 30 and 45 (connections to Caltrain); express routes 8X, 8AX, and 8BX; and owl route 91 stop at Fourth Street near Market; inbound trips, use Third and Kearny/Geary stop
5th and Powell
  • Powell Street Station (BART and Muni Metro)
  • AC Transit owl route 800
  • Amtrak Thruway bus to/from Emeryville
  • Muni local routes 5, 6, 9, 21, 27, 31, 71
  • Muni limited-stop routes 9L, 71L
  • Muni express route 16X
  • Muni owl routes L, N
  • Powell-Hyde and Powell-Mason cable car lines (Market Street terminal)
  • Main stop for Hallidie Plaza, Union Square (via Powell Street), and Westfield San Francisco Centre
  • Muni local route 27 operates along Fifth Street and stops close to Market Street
  • Outbound Muni express route 16X starts from Fifth & Cyril Magnin Streets before heading to Market and Turk Streets
6th and Taylor

Inbound only
  • Muni local routes 5, 6, 9, 21, 71
  • Muni limited-stop routes 9L, 71L
  • Muni owl routes L, N
7th and Jones

Inbound only
  • Civic Center Station (BART and Muni Metro)
  • AC Transit owl route 800
  • Golden Gate Transit outbound routes 10, 70, 80, 92, 93, 101, 101X
  • Muni local routes 5, 6, 9, 19, 21, 71
  • Muni limited-stop routes 9L, 71L
  • Muni owl routes L, N
  • Main stop for United Nations Plaza and Civic Center area (via McAllister Street)
  • Inbound Muni local route 5 stops across from the inbound stop; outbound buses board from McAllister & Jones
  • Inbound Muni local route 19 stops on the center island of Seventh Street nearside Market; outbound trips, use the Eighth and Hyde stop
8th and Hyde

Outbound only
  • Civic Center Station (BART and Muni Metro)
  • Golden Gate Transit inbound routes 10, 70, 80, 92, 93, 101, 101X
  • Muni local routes 6, 9, 19, 21, 71
  • Muni limited-stop routes 9L, 71L
  • Muni owl routes L, N
  • Main stop for Civic Center area (via Hyde Street), including the San Francisco Public Library, Orpheum Theater, and the Asian Art Museum
  • Outbound Muni local route 19 stops on Hyde Street between Fulton & Grove Streets and on Eighth & Market Streets; inbound trips stop on Market nearside Hyde Street
9th and Larkin
  • Muni local routes 6, 9, 21, 71
  • Munl limited-stop routes 9L, 71L
  • Muni owl routes L, N
  • Main stop for the Civic Auditorium and alternate stop for the Civic Center
  • Inbound Muni local route 21 stops on the center island along with the F train stop; outbound buses stop on Hyde and Larkin Streets
Van Ness Avenue
  • Van Ness Station (Muni Metro)
  • AC Transit owl route 800 (terminal)
  • Muni local routes 6, 9, 47, 49, 71
  • Muni limited-stop route 9L, 71L
  • Muni owl routes L, N, 90
  • SamTrans owl route 397
  • Main stop for Civic Center area (via Van Ness Avenue), including San Francisco City Hall, Conservatory of Music, and War Memorial Opera House
  • Stop for San Francisco Muni headquarters and customer service
  • Muni local routes 47 and 49, and owl route 90 operate along Van Ness Avenue, with inbound stop located on Van Ness close to the outbound stop; outbound buses board from Van Ness Avenue & Oak Street
Haight and Gough
  • Muni local routes 6, 71
  • Muni limited-stop route 71L
  • Muni owl routes L, N
  • Inbound Muni local routes 6 and 71 board from Page Street before Market Street; outbound buses board from Haight & Market Streets
  • Inbound Muni limited-stop route 71L board from Haight & Laguna Streets; outbound buses board from Haight & Market Streets
Laguna and Guerrero
  • Muni owl routes L, N
Dolores and Duboce
  • Muni owl routes L, N
  • One of two main stops for Duboce Triangle (for the U.S. Mint), the other being 14th & Church
14th and Church
  • Church Station (Muni Metro)
  • Muni local routes 22, 37
  • Muni Metro routes J, N
  • Muni owl routes 22, L, N
  • One of two main stops for Duboce Triangle, the other being Dolores & Duboce
  • Stop for Mission Dolores on Dolores & 16th Streets, accessible via Muni local route 22
15th and Sanchez
  • Muni local route 37
  • Muni owl route L
16th and Noe
  • Muni local route 37
  • Muni owl route L
Outbound trains turn left to Noe Street, then right on 17th Street into terminal; inbound trains head northeast (logical east) along Market Street after leaving outbound terminal
17th and Castro
Outbound terminus
  • Castro Station (Muni Metro)
  • Muni local routes 24, 33, 35, 37
  • Muni owl routes 24, L

Except for the height of certain platforms, 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

Muni owns a large selection of equipment for use on the F line, although not all of it will be in service at any given time. The car fleet can be broken down into four distinct sub-fleets consisting of PCC streetcars, Peter Witt streetcars, pre-PCC veteran streetcars from San Francisco, and a diverse collection of 10 streetcars and trams from various overseas operators.[6]

The line is principally operated by a mixture of the PCC and Peter Witt cars, although other more unusual or historic cars can often be seen in service (such as the 913 and 952, two of the iconic Streetcars Named Desire). Although Muni LRVs are not compatible with F-line service, Boeing LRVs have operated down parts of Market Street one or more times.[7]

PCC fleet

A fleet of PCC streetcars from San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Newark, built between 1946 and 1948. As of August 2007, there are 27 of these cars restored to various states of readiness for service, together with another 30 unrestored cars in long term storage.[8]

Of the restored cars, three are original San Francisco double-ended PCC cars. A further 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.[8]

Many of the restored cars are painted in the color schemes of prominent past and present PCC streetcar operators, including Muni itself and:[8]

The unrestored PCC cars include five more 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.[9]

Peter Witt fleet

A fleet of Peter Witt streetcars 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.[10]

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, whilst another is in the two-tone green livery that the cars carried from the 1930s to the 1970s.[10]

San Francisco vintage fleet

A fleet of pre-PCC vintage cars built between 1895 and 1924 for operation 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.[11]

The cars carry a variety of former San Francisco streetcar color schemes.[11]

Worldwide fleet

A diverse collection of 10 cars from various operators worldwide:[11]

All the cars carry the color schemes of their original operators, except for the Brussels car, which currently carries a color scheme commemorating San Francisco's twin city of Zürich in Switzerland. The Moscow trams had to be equipped with trucks.

Future extensions

There are plans to further extend heritage streetcar operation in San Francisco:

Fort Mason

  • From the vicinity of the existing Jones Street terminal, westward alongside the San Francisco Maritime Museum and Aquatic Park, and then running through an historic (1914) but disused single-track railroad tunnel to Fort Mason, formerly owned by the State Belt Railroad. A technical feasibility study, under the aegis of the National Park Service and Muni, was completed in December 2004. 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,[12] 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 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".[13]

E or F-line to Fort Mason

Prior to March 2013, no decision had been made as to whether the Fort Mason area would be served by an extension of the current F-line, or by a new E-line service.

A March 2013 Record of Decision notes that this extension will be operated as a part of the F-line, and that the North Loop option (with a single platform in the "already developed" Fort Mason parking area north of the westerly tunnel portal), rather than a South Loop option (with a platform in the green south of the portal), will be constructed.[14]

Fort Mason extension stations

Stop Outbound
(to Castro District)
(to Fisherman's ort Mason)
Connections Notes
Fort Mason
Inbound terminus
Van Ness
Hyde & Beach
Jones and Beach
Existing inbound terminus

E Embarcadero

Planning for a new E Embarcadero heritage streetcar line is underway. The line is set to opertate from the foot of Market Street to the Caltrain depot at Fourth and King Streets, using the existing non-revenue connection with existing Muni Metro tracks on the Embarcadero at Folsom Street three blocks south of Market, then sharing tracks with T Third line. Low-level platforms with wheelchair ramps have been installed on the jointly-used track with the light rail line south of Folsom Street. This extension is currently operable with double-end vintage equipment; installation of a turning loop at the south end of the line would allow all vintage equipment to be used. This would be a separate line designated "E Embarcadero" and would extend north along the F-line tracks on The Embarcadero to share its Fisherman's Wharf terminal.

See also

San Francisco Bay Area portal


External links

  • Market Street Railway website
  • F Market Route Map with live updates on streetcar locations
  • Market Street Railway blog
  • A Tramride in San Francisco(English/German)
  • Maps and news about the extension to Fort Mason
  • Official Route Map in PDF
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