Dewi's Trains,
Trams & Trolleys

Around America by train:
Palo Alto to San Francisco

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Next morning our friends drove us to the Palo Alto Caltrain station, quite close.

I went to buy Caltrain tickets to San Francisco and was offered senior citizens rate, which I accepted of course. Only $2 per person! incredible. The train we boarded was an express, bypassing many stations. In S.F. we found a new Muni (Municipal Street Railway) line right outside the Caltrain station. After asking at the station I bought one-day passes at $6 each, which may have been a mistake as senior fares are only 35 cents. But convenience outweighs cost, at such times. Off we went on a Muni N-Judah car to Embarcadero station. It's a short walk to the Ferry building, but that's being refurbished. We looked for and found the Amtrak office, behind a smaller building. The ticket clerk sweated blood to get us a ticket on the bus to Emeryville to board the Auburn train. It seems rail passes issued by VIA rather than Amtrak cause problems (especially if you don't know how to do it). We arranged to leave our baggage at the office.

Waited for F-line historic trolley: it turned out to be packed but we boarded nevertheless. Read signs about " pericoloso sporgesi" ("it's dangerous to lean out") and discovered that the car was from the Milan system. Alighted at Pier 39, heard seals so tracked them down by sound, to photograph them. Walked along to the Cannery, which was run down compared to our previous visit (decades ago). Had coffee and shared a muffin. Found the cable-car terminus and turntable, and had to wait quite a while as additional cars ran down, apparently by gravity, and waited in line. Was the cable itself actually running? We boarded a car, which eventually moved off, to Stockton St. and the cable-car museum.

We had a good look at the winding engines for the cables. Then Dewi went down to the basement, to see (through glass) the enormous pulley wheels set at angles which direct the cables in the correct direction into the conduits under the street.

Re-boarded car to Union Square, which was all dug up. Walked to Britex fabric store. Eufron went out of her mind, looking at fabrics. Expensive. Found 3rd floor: remnants but still expensive. With great will-power, Eufron walked away, buying nothing.
Took cable car up to California St., took California St. car down to Market St. Boarded another F-line historic car to Amtrak Ferry Building again, got our suit-cases out of hock. Dewi went to photograph "heritage" streetcars, and discovered that one was a New Orleans streetcar named Desire: the destination indicator still displayed that word. Another was a Melbourne car, parked nearby on Embarcadero. Unfortunately he did not realise until too late that the camera's memory card was full and that the photos did not record!

Click on thumbnail for larger picture.

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Caltrain approaching Palo Alto. The loco is pushing the train.
Photo DSCF1220 on 08/04/2002
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Caltrain departing Palo Alto. The rear lights are on the "front" of the loco.
Photo DSCF1221 on 08/04/2002
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Caltrain (commuter train to San Francisco) at Palo Alto
Photo DSCF1222 on 08/04/2002
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Cable cars at end of line, San Francisco
Photo DSCF1231 on 08/04/2002
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Cable-car on turntable, San Francisco
Photo DSCF1227 on 08/04/2002
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The vault of the cable winding house, San Francisco cable-cars. Cables are fed at the correct angle into the conduits under the streets.
Photo 1066_20 on 27/04/2002
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Cable car winding engines, San Francisco
Photo DSCF1229 on 08/04/2002
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Cable car winding engines, San Francisco
Photo DSCF1228 on 08/04/2002
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Milan streetcar, San Francisco
Photo DSCF1223 on 08/04/2002
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Milan Streetcar, San Francisco
Photo DSCF1224 on 08/04/2002
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Vintage trolley, San Francisco. This is on Market Street: there is another pair of tracks under the street, also part of the Muni (Municipal Railway).
Photo DSCF1232 on 08/04/2002
Seals near Fisherman's Wharf
Photo dscf1224

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This page last updated on 21/04/2006 21:23:33.