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A "Historic" July - E Line & Cable Car

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Monday, August 3, 2015

This past July turned out to be a newsworthy month for Muni’s fan favorite vintage lines. A bell ringing contest for the ages rang through Union Square, a new open-aired vehicle joined the fleet, and a new revenue line went into service. If you missed any of it, we're here to get you caught up.

The Bell Ringing Contest

The 52nd edition of the Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest was one of high drama and excitement. This year the level of competition was so high that for the first time ever the championship was decided by a thirty second “ring off.” After tying for first place, defending champion Trini Whittaker and former five-time champion Byron Cobb squared off in an epic showdown of skill and artistry to determine who would walk away with bragging rights. After a final salvo of rhythmic dinging, Cobb was able to secure his sixth championship victory. Valiant in defeat, Whittaker took second place, while Leonard Oates finished in third.

The Bell Ringing Contest also includes a charity component. For this local media personalities take to the stage and gamely take on the challenge of making music on a single-note instrument, the cable car bell. We had four great performances this year, and Scotty Bastable of CBS worked hard to take home the honor of first place. 

Honorable mention: Former three-time Cable Car Bell Ringing champ Ken Lundardi, who is retiring after 35 years of Muni Service, made his final bell ringing contest appearance this year. We wish him all the best and thank him for the great bell ringing performances! 

Byron Cobb and Trini Whittaker greet each other in front of the cable car in Union Square for the "ring-off."

Byron Cobb and Trini Whittaker greet each other as the prepare for the epic Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest "ring off."

Seeing Double

If you have ever walked along Market Street or The Embarcadero on a warm and sunny afternoon you may have seen the famous green and cream colored boat tram, often referred to as the “boat car,” operating along the F Market Line. Since 1984 vehicle 228 had been the only boat tram in Muni’s fleet of historic vehicles. But not anymore! In 2013, with the assistance of the Market Street Railway, a second boat tram was added to the fleet.

Since its arrival, vehicle 233 has undergone repairs to make it service ready. Like its twin, 233 was built in Blackpool, England in 1933 and shares the same color scheme. Last month the new boat tram hit the street for service training in preparation of its integration into revenue service. If you have not ridden a boat tram before or want to catch another ride, now you’ll have double the chances.

Two cream and green open-top historic boat tram street cars sit on The Embarcadero.

The twin "boat cars" of the F Market & Wharves Line.

A New Route…with a View

The month of July ended with the inauguration of a new historic streetcar line. Mayor Ed Lee joined with other dignitaries, members of the Market Street Railway and SFMTA staff for the official ribbon cutting and launch ceremony of the E Embarcadero Line, which will operate on weekends only. The E Line officially rolled into service this past Saturday and Sunday. Operating along the waterfront between the Caltrain Station at Fourth and King streets and Fisherman’s Wharf from the hours of 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., the new line will provide passengers with one of the most scenic and visually stunning vistas in the entire city.

Mayor Lee speaks form the lecturn with dignitaries standing behind him and the boat car and a gree PCC are in the background on The Embarcadero

Mayor Lee and other city leaders celebrate and launch the new E Embarcadero historic streetcar line, which now joins the F Line and will serve The Embarcadero on weekends.