San Francisco Trip
For awhile, I’ve wanted to visit San Francisco because they have an extensive transit system. I also learned for the last few years, Muni of San Francisco has been having a Heritage Weekend where they bring out old streetcars, buses and trolleybuses. I wanted to go in 2016.
I wanted to take Amtrak’s California Zephyr one way, but found out it would cost too much. I came up with an alternative plan which made this trip a reality.
My plan was to take the Maple Leaf to Niagara Falls and have my aunt drive me to Buffalo’s airport where I would fly down to Oakland where I would be staying. I would attend Heritage weekend plus have two more full days in San Francisco. I would have most of one more day then I would take Amtrak’s Coast Starlight to Seattle and overnight there. The next day, I would take Amtrak’s Cascade service to Vancouver and spend one night there. I would fly home the next day.
The trip unfolded as follows:
September 23, 2016:
My mom and I left shortly after 6:30 am. She gave me a ride to Finch. I rode the subway down to Union. Unlike last time, there was no power problem and I got to Union without incident. I was there over an hour before my train was scheduled to depart.
I bought a bottle of Pepsi and eventually joined the queue line for VIA train #97. While waiting, I saw someone who looked kind of like Stuart McClean; host of the CBC Radio show “The Vinyl Cafe”.
Boarding began at 8:01 am. I was seated in Amfleet 1 #82796. I attempted to power up my laptop, but it took five attempts to boot it up! Frustrating, but I eventually got it going. The train departed on time.
Shortly after leaving Toronto, I filmed the equipment that would become today's VIA trains #52 and #62 for Montreal and Ottawa. I also filmed the equipment in VIA's Toronto Maintenance Center as we passed. I went to the cafe car for a snack. We stopped at Oakville a few minutes later. The stop was quick and we were soon underway.
When we passed the Procor plant near the Bronte GO station, I saw a tank car sitting on a flat car but I was unable to photograph it. We stopped at Aldershot a few minutes later. The train passed slowly though Hamilton. I saw someone who didn't look like a railway employee walking next to the tracks. We slowly increased speed.
A CN freight passed. I also saw the CN switcher I photographed last time. I decided to go back to the cafe car. The train passed through Grimsby non stop. We stopped at St. Catherines a little while later. The Cafe closed and would stay closed until the train left Niagara Falls, New York. However, I was getting off in Niagara Falls, Ontario. We soon departed. The bridge over the Welland Canal was down and I saw no ships in the distance.
We were soon approaching Niagara Falls. I readied my stuff in preparation to get off.
Train #97 arrived into Niagara Falls 3 minutes late. I got off and photographed the train and a WEGO bus.
I met up with my aunt and we headed out. I noticed the old Niagara Transit garage had been demolished. Niagara Falls Transit buses were now using the new garage the TTS Christmas Lights charter had a photo stop at in 2014.
My aunt stopped for gas before we headed out. We got stuck behind a highway coach traveling very slowly. We also detoured to get to the highway. We crossed and had to wait in a medium line to get through customs. When we finally got through customs, the agent who interviewed us was okay. We were soon on our way.
We got to the airport three hours before my flight was scheduled to leave. I said goodbye to my aunt and got my suitcase. I went inside and checked in to my flight. I was flying Southwest Airlines to Oakland. I would have to change planes in Phoenix.
I then cleared security. I first went to my gate before heading back to the food court and bought lunch. I worked on this report and went online for 45 minutes.
I eventually went back to my gate and awaited my flight. I photographed a Jetblue plane. At least this time, I wasn't flying out on them!
I photographed my plane when it arrived. I would be flying on a Boeing 737-700.
The flight had started out in Orlando and would be continuing onto Phoenix. It was similar back in 2010 when I flew Southwest Airlines to Buffalo from Baltimore the morning after I arrived into Baltimore on the Cardinal.
Boarding soon began. Like in 2010, Southwest assigned me to a boarding group and not a specific seat assignment. I found a window seat 2/3 down the plane. The plane departed a minute early! As we taxied out to the runway, I photographed some planes.
I filmed the takeoff. The flight was four hours. There was no on board entertainment system. The noise from the engines made it hard to listen to my Ipod.
At one point, the pilot announced we were over Kansas. Eventually, we landed in Phoenix. As we landed, I photographed the yard used by Phoenix's light rail system.
The light rail was only under construction when I visited Phoenix in 2006. The light rail may have been a factor in relocating former Toronto PCC #4607 to the Arizona Railway Museum a few years after my Arizona trip.
As we taxied to our gate, I photographed some planes.
We were just under 20 minutes early. I got off and photographed the plane.
I had about an hour to kill in Phoenix and the gate my connecting flight was not to far and I wouldn't have to go through security again! I was feeling hungry, so I bought dinner inside the terminal. I also attempted to photograph my plane which was another Boeing 737-700.
Boarding soon began. As it turned out, my flight was full and I got a middle seat for the first leg of the flight. My flight soon departed.
My flight to Oakland wasn't direct; it made a stop over in Burbank. When we landed it Burbank, most people got off the plane. I asked the flight attendant if I could switch seats and she said I could. I switched to a window seat in the front of the plane and took some photos.
Passengers soon boarded at Burbank bound for Oakland. We departed on time. I filmed the takeoff roll. The sun went down shortly after takeoff.
The flight to Oakland was short and uneventful. I filmed the landing. We were soon at the gate. We were a few minutes early. I got off and photographed the plane.
I then went to the baggage claim to claim my suitcase. My suitcase soon emerged. I got my suitcase and headed for the BART station. I stopped at a payphone to phone where I was staying. I had booked on airbnb.com and was staying at an apartment in Oakland. After getting directions, I boarded a train. I rode to the Coliseum station. On the way, we went past a 76 gas station that had a 76 ball slightly different from what I filmed in Tucson, Arizona 10 years ago. I was unable to photograph it.
The BART line to the airport is different from the other lines on the BART system in the form it runs on a cable on an elevated guideway. It's a longer version of the Link train at Toronto's Pearson Airport.
I got to Coliseum station. I saw an Amtrak California train pull into a nearby station. I bought a $20 BART pass and boarded a train to head to where I was staying.
I got off and walked to the apartment. I was greeted by my host Steve who said he was a Canadian living abroad and had cousins in Thornhill where I live! I spoke with him for a few minutes and found that he didn't have much food. I was tired so I eventually set the alarm on my phone for 8:00 am and called it a night.
September 24, 2016:
I got up and got dressed. I looked for restaurants in my area and found one within walking distance. I headed out and had breakfast. After breakfast, I ended up catching an AC Transit bus back to the BART station. I saw a train approaching, so I hurried up to the platform and managed to make it.
I rode one stop to Embarcadero and left the station. I photographed some cable cars.
I saw Muni PCC #1053 approaching. I photographed it.
#1053 is a former SEPTA PCC painted in the colours of Brooklyn, New York which ran PCCs until the 50's. San Francisco has PCCs painted in liveries of various cities that ran PCCs just like Kenosha.
I went around a corner and saw the historic buses and photographed Muni Marmon Herrington #776.
I ran into a couple people I had met during the TTS’s PCC charter on Labor Day Sunday! They saw me before I saw them. I then photographed other buses on display.
Meanwhile, PCC #1079 was approaching. #1079 is painted in the livery of Detroit. I personally thought that Detroit had a nice livery on its PCCs. #1079 was purchased from Newark by Muni in 2004. Two original Detroit PCCs survive. I photographed #1079.
A short time later, I photographed Muni PCC #1063 which is painted in Baltimore colours. #1063 was purchased in the early 90s from SEPTA.
I saw Muni historic Flyer E800 #5300 departing. I figured I would ride it later. I then photographed Muni PCC #1050 which is another ex SEPTA PCC and painted in the San Francisco “Wings” livery.
Last year, Kenosha finally painted former Toronto PCC #4617 in the Muni “Wings” livery. Muni actually assisted Kenosha with painting #4617. I've seen pictures of it and it looks quite nice. I'll obviously have to go back to Kenosha some day.
At one point, I bought a Muni weekly pass which allowed for unlimited use on Muni routes and the cable cars. Next, I photographed PCC #1070 which is painted in Newark, New Jersey colours.
#1070 was purchased from Newark in 2004 but it wasn't painted in that livery when they bought it. Instead, it was in the New Jersey Transit livery it was retired in.
#1070 isn't the first PCC assigned to the “F” line to be painted for Newark. Previously, PCC #1060; a former SEPTA PCC wore Newark colours until one of its sister cars; #1054 was rear ended in an accident and subsequently written off. The car painted in Newark colours was painted in the livery of the car that was rear ended.
I saw the first historic streetcar to arrive which is former Blackpool boat train #228 which is similar to #601 at the National Capital Trolley Museum which previously came from Trolleyville.
Next, I photographed Muni #1061 which is painted in the Pacific Electric livery.
#1061 is another former SEPTA PCC and is used quite frequently. The Pacific Electric was an interurban line that served Los Angeles until it was abandoned. They did buy some double ended PCCs which were sold to somewhere in South America after Pacific Electric called it quits.
Next I photographed Muni #1815 which is a former Milan Peter Witt.
Muni purchased a total of 11 Witt cars from Milan and are painted in three different liveries. There are a few Witts left in Milan that run. I had thought about going to Milan last year when I went to Europe but decided against it.
I then photographed Muni White Motor bus #042 and Flyer E800 trolleybus #5300 which were participating in Heritage weekend.
The next streetcar for heritage weekend was Muni #1. I photographed it.
Next came streetcar #578 which was built in 1896!
I then photographed Muni Witt #1807 which is in a different livery from its sister I photographed earlier. #1807 is painted in its original livery.
The next streetcar for the celebration was #496 from Australia. It is similar to “Matilda” owned by the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority in Dallas, Texas. #496 was filling in for an original San Francisco streetcar. I photographed #496.
Meanwhile, #5300 was about to go out for a run. I decided to go for a ride. From the bus, I photographed Muni PCC #1076 which is painted for Washington DC.
#1076 is another ex Newark PCC.
#5300 departed. At one point, we passed PCC #1075 which is painted in Cleveland colours.
The trolleybus ride was pretty long. Twice, we were held up by people protesting ivory sales. We drove past a 76 gas station, but it didn't have a rotating ball.
I was feeling thirsty so at one point, I got off and photographed the bus.
I then filmed #5300 pulling away. I went into the store and bought some Pepsi. I then went to catch a bus back to where the heritage gathering was. I would take the route #14 trolleybus back. The first bus was an express bus which didn't stop at my stop. However, a local route #14 soon came by. It was a New Flyer XT60. I photographed it before I got on.
A few minutes after boarding the bus, I photographed a mural on a building showing a Muni E60 trolleybus. The last E60s were retired last year with the arrival of the XT60s. One E60 is now part of the Muni heritage fleet bus would not be participating in the Heritage weekend.
At one point, I saw we were running beside the F line a block away. I got off and photographed the bus.
I filmed the bus pulling away. I then walked a block to Market Street. I photographed a Golden Gate Transit Orion 5.
I was told that I should ride a Golden Gate Transit Orion 5 across the Golden Gate Bridge. I would do so in the next few days after Heritage Weekend was over.
Soon, Muni PCC #1077 came. PCC #1077 is painted in the livery worn by PCCs in Birmingham Alabama. Birmingham sold their PCCs to Toronto in 1952 and none survive. They were segregated in Birmingham, but the signs saying if seats were for white or coloured people were removed prior to the cars being shipped to Toronto. Needless to say, I photographed #1077.
#1077 is another ex Newark PCC Muni bought in 2004. I found a seat and settled in for the ride back. When I got back, I photographed #1077 and filmed it pulling away.
I missed the next ride on Muni fishbowl #3287. I waited around and photographed various PCCs on the E line and F line.
I then photographed a ship passing under the Bay Bridge.
This is the second Bay Bridge. The last one suffered substantial damage in the 1989 earthquake. Part of the top level of the double deck bridge partially collapsed and the rest of the bridge was barely left standing. The present bridge is more earthquake resistant.
I was getting hungry and I saw a Taco Bell nearby. I decided to ride the F line one stop. The next car to come was #1050. I photographed the car before I got on.
I then got off and photographed the car again before I filmed it pulling away.
I bought lunch and went back to the San Francisco Transit Museum where the Heritage Gathering was. I saw fishbowl #3287 had returned. I photographed it.
#3287 was going out soon. I decided to go for a ride. There were a couple other bus fans on #3287. As #3287 departed, I saw another ex Muni fishbowl! I attempted to photograph it.
The ride on #3287 wasn't as long as the ride on the trolleybus. I was talking with the bus fans and mentioned the TTC's fishbowls which were retired in 2011. I mentioned how two were being kept as historic buses and their attempt to resurrect fishbowl #8058 from the Halton County Radial Railway Museum which wasn't looking so promising.
We eventually got back. I got off and photographed #3287.
This was only the second time since I rode TTC #2290 in Ireland back in 2014 that I had ridden a fishbowl! I then went over to the second fishbowl I saw which is numbered #3182. I photographed it.
I wanted to get some interior shots of #3182, but I was told it was actually a privately owned bus. So I was unable to get some interior shots.
I then headed out and filmed #5300 departing on its next run.
I then decided to ride Muni PCC #1079 out to Fisherman's Wharf. We passed Muni PCC #1058 which is painted in the Chicago Green Hornet livery like former Toronto PCC #4606 in Kenosha. #1058 is a former SEPTA car. I photographed it from #1079.
I got off on the outskirts of Fisherman's Wharf and photographed #1079.
I then photographed a Liberty ship on display, Alcatraz prison, and the famous Golden Gate Bridge.
I saw an area with lots of sea lions. They were barking. I photographed them and filmed them.
I boarded Muni PCC #1010 on the “E” line. #1010 is an original San Francisco double ended PCC that is painted in a livery that a group of streetcars called the “Flying Carpets” wore. I rode the car to the end of the E and F lines and got off and photographed the car.
I then boarded Muni PCC #1011 which is a sister to #1010. #1011 is painted in the livery of the original Market Street line which wanted to buy PCCs, but couldn't afford them. The livery is a “what could have been”.
I got off at the San Francisco Transit Museum and filmed #1011 pulling away after photographing it again.
I also photographed #1010 as it came by.
I photographed E800 #5300 and streetcar #1 again.
I then photographed Muni PCC #1075 which is painted in Cleveland colours.
#1075 is another ex Newark PCC. Cleveland had 75 PCCs including some nearly new cars they had purchased from Louisville, Kentucky. However, they only ran for seven years before Cleveland chose to get rid of streetcars and sold the PCCs to Toronto.
I photographed PCC #1058 (Chicago) again.
I noticed that there were a number of buses running on the “F” line as well. Muni sometimes assigns buses to the “F” line if there’s a lack of streetcars or streetcar operators. There wouldn’t be a day where the “F” line was all streetcars when I was in San Francisco.
Next I photographed Muni PCC #1080 which is painted in the later scheme of the Los Angeles Transit Lines. I believe it's called the “Fruit Salad” scheme. #1080 is an ex Newark PCC.
Next, I photographed boat tram #228.
I was hoping to go for a ride, but the crew said they were going to take a break. I photographed some more PCCs and #228 again.
I also photographed one of the buses running on the “F” line that day.
I decided to go for a ride on coach #776. I photographed it before I got on.
Coach #776 followed the route taken by #5300. I rode for the entire length of the route this time. When we got back, I photographed #776.
I then photographed Muni PCC #1071 which is painted in the Twin Cities livery. #1071 is ex Newark and Newark had bought the car second hand from the Twin Cities! So the car has regained its original livery. However, it wasn't originally numbered 1071 though.
I took a few more photos as the events of the day wound to a close.
I asked how to get to the car house where the F line cars are kept. I was given directions. I soon boarded double ended PCC #1007 on the E line. #1007 is painted in the Red Arrow livery from Philadelphia. I rode to the end of the E line and got off and photographed the car.
However, I wasn't anywhere near the car house. I was near the Caltrain station though. However, to get to the car house, I boarded a Breda LRV on the T line. I rode to 23rd and got off. I walked the rest of the way. I saw Muni PCC #1057 parked outside painted in Cincinnati colours. I photographed the car.
The reason I came to the car house was that I was looking for another PCC that wasn't out; Muni #1074. #1074 is an ex Newark PCC that is painted in TTC colours. While the TTC once had the largest fleet of PCC streetcars in North America, #1074 never ran in Toronto. I called it the 746th PCC in Toronto colours!
I did see the car inside the car house over the maintenance pit. I photographed it.
When Muni first acquired the car and was looking for reference, the Halton County Radial Railway Museum assisted them with painting the car.
I hoped that I would see #1074 between tomorrow and Wednesday. I then walked back to the station and photographed a Breda LRV.
The Bredas are up for replacement in the next few years. I noticed some cars had electronic destination signs while others had mylar signs. Most cars ran with mixtures of both electronic and mylar signs.
On the way back to the station, I filmed Muni PCC #1010 deadheading back to the car house.
I boarded a train and rode back to Embarcadero station. I got off and bought some fruit at a nearby 7-11. I then caught a BART train to West Oakland. I photographed the train when it pulled in.
I got off at West Oakland and got off I didn't go back to the apartment right away. I stopped in a 99 cent store and bought some milk and some cereal for the next few days. I then returned to the apartment.
I went online and learned that at an open house at the TTC's Hillcrest shops that the TTC is going to fix fishbowl #8058 after all! I was ecstatic! I had pretty much given up hope that we'd see #8058 restored, but now it looks like 8058 will be restored to original condition in the near future!
I saw my mom had messaged me on Facebook asking how the first day of Heritage Weekend was. I told her it was okay. I also told my mom to tell my dad that our bet was back on.
After fishbowl #8058 returned to Toronto for a possible restoration, my dad and I had a bet based on the fact that a few years after #8058 went to Halton County, the TTC numbered an Orion 7 as #8058! Obviously the TTC can't have two buses numbered #8058 so one bus would have to be renumbered. My dad and I were betting on which bus would be renumbered; I believed that the Orion 7 would be renumbered. My dad thinks the fishbowl would be the bus to be renumbered.
However, given 8058's condition, people started saying that fishbowl #8058 was too far gone and its interior would be stripped out and put into one of the TTC's other fishbowls. I eventually told my dad the bet was off because it looked like neither 8058 would be renumbered. Now I can say fishbowl #8058 has a fighting chance.
I eventually set the alarm on my phone for 8:30 am and called it a night.
Click for the second day of Heritage weekend: Heritage Weekend continued