Blackpool Boats making themselves at home in San Francisco

San Francisco is now home to three Blackpool Boat Cars following the completion of the acquisition of 226 which has now been transported ahead of work starting on its restoration to service. 226 joins fellow Boat Cars 228 and 233 in San Francisco – which is now home to the joint most of the class anywhere in the world!

We first reported back in December 2023 that Market Street Railway were fundraising to bring 226 to San Francisco, and now thanks to the Thoresen Foundation they have reached their target which has allowed the tram to be transported.

This isn’t the first time that 226 has been in San Francisco as it had actually been the very first Boat Car to run there for a spell in 1983 – it was on loan from the Western Railway Museum and its success and popularity led Market Street Railway to go out and get their own Boat with 228 their first permanent tram of the class.

With the Western Railway Museum have deemed 226 surplus to their requirements last year, Market Street Railway were quickly on the case to secure it for their heritage operation and have now got a grant which has enabled the tram to arrive at its new permanent home.

Its not going to be a quick entry into service as it will move into the workshops for an extensive restoration and to comply with modern safety requirements with the statement announcing its arrival saying that will take several years to complete.

And what of the other Boat Cars in San Francisco? Well, there’s more good news on that front as 233 (which was purchased in 2013) is nearing a return to service after a major overhaul. It has been testing out on the tracks during May and is set to be used regularly this summer on the “International Waterfront Streetcar Service”.

The “International Waterfront Streetcar Service” will commence on 2nd June and run every Sunday and Monday until 14th October. It is planned that 233 will be available for this service every Sunday (starting from mid-June once its fully commissioned) and when its not available the service will be operated by Melbourne 496 and Milan 1859.

228 is now in the workshop for upgrade works which will allow it to match the work completed on 233. It is the long-term plan that once all three Boats are fully restored it will allow Muni to schedule two regularly in service to meet demand.

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