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Trolley Postcards: Ferries and Bridge Connections

The transbay link between the East Bay and San Francisco has been such a focus of the electric railways systems of both—whether the journey is completed by rail via bridge or tunnel, or by a connecting ferry, or bus—as to merit consideration in its own right.

This card shows the Key System's Oakland pier, with an interurban train on its way to a ferry connection.

Here the Souther Pacific's Melrose is steaming towards San Francisco.

This is the view which greeted disembarking passengers during the early years of the 20th century, looking up Market St.


Robert Townley Collection

For decades, the focus of this "intermodal transportation hub" was the Ferry Building, where Market Street car lines looped. The inner loop was for cars of the privately-owned Market Street Railay, the outer one for the S.F. Muni, and the middle track was shared. In the lower right is the stub terminal for the MSRy's Mission St. lines. More easily visible in the close-up,

a small mission-style building between this and Market St. loops contained a control center for the whole operation.

Here are two views of the same scene sometime after the building of the Bay Bridge.

With the bridge's opeining, the Ferry Terminal becaome a much quieter place, and most Market Street car lines were diverted to the new Transbay Terminal.

The car in the lower left is a Muni Type-J single-trucker, better known as "Union Street Dinkies". Generally, postcards images don't enlarge well, but for what it's worth here's a zoomed-in view:

Here's the Transbay terminal. Postcards in this era were basically colorized black-and-white photos, and it seems pretty clear that the artist who colorized this shot was not a native of the City, since red is definitely not the correct livery for these cars.

For more about SF Bay ferries, visit Joe Thompson's page on the subject.

Continue to the rest of San Francisco...

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