In Pictures: The San Francisco Boats

Of the four Blackpool Boat Cars now residing in the United States of America probably the most high profile pair are those which can be found in San Francisco. Boat Cars 228 and more recent arrival 233 are just two trams of the historic Market Street Railway streetcar fleet which are used to operate services on the F line and have proved to be popular additions to the fleet. Peter Watts was recently in San Francisco and provides us with these photos updating recent news on the two trams a long way from home.

During Peter’s visit both trams were found at the Cameron Beach Yard Depot. 228 is currently operational and has already been used for some private charters already in 2017 and is planned to operate another charter – subject to weather – on 4th June. Any readers of this website who happen to be in San Francisco on this day can book tickets for this charter by visiting for $40, but please note places are strictly limited. 228 is now carrying new replica destination blinds as created by Peter Watts which includes the special destination Nowhere in Particular.

The news on 233 is not so good as this tram is currently out of service awaiting attention to its wheelsets amongst other things. The wheelsets are quite badly worn and will need attention before the former 605 can be used more often in the USA.

Huge thanks to Peter Watts for the information and photos included in this article.

228 sits in the depot at Cameron Beach Yard waiting its next duty.

Also in the Cameron Beach Yard Depot is 233, currently out of service requiring attention to its wheelsets. (Both Photographs by Peter Watts, taken with permission of SFMTA)

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6 Responses to In Pictures: The San Francisco Boats

  1. Keir Duncan says:

    I’m in SF on the 14th and 15th of June. Any chance of boating then?

    • Peter Watts says:

      228 is due out on a charter on the 4th June, and then nothing else currently scheduled for June. It is only used on charters for the moment due to various operational issues. As stated in the article, 233 is currently out of service.

  2. Dave G says:

    I was in SF two weeks last summer and speaking to the guys at the Market street museum and travelling on their tour which was to be their last due to not getting on with Muni the boats very rarely come out. they certainly both stayed in the depot the two weeks we were there but we did get on both during the tour. Neither is fitted with the ticket cancelling equipment/readers and seemed very much ‘out of favour’.

    • Peter Watts says:

      Neither are fitted with ticket equipment as when used on public service, the conductors have hand held units (the same as used on the Cable Cars) to read the smart cards. Rather than being “out of favour”, the biggest problem is that they need a crew of two, and under current regulations the conductor must also be qualified as a driver. With a significant driver shortage at in 2016, obviously the PCCs and Milan cars take preference as they have higher seating capacity and can run with one man operated. In addition, the Boat cars are used normally only between the Wharf and Ferries, the traffic along Market Street needs higher capacity cars (the F line currently handles approximately 20,000 passengers per DAY!)

  3. John says:

    I’m booked on the tour! I shall make sure I send some pics to BTO for you!

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