San Francisco is one of the few places in the world where you can get the actual experience of riding vintage rail transit in its "natural habitat" by riding on the historic trolleys maintained by the Market Street Railway and operated by the San Francisco Municipal Railway on their F-street line. Muni, as it is affectionately called locally, operates a rotating twenty of the forty plus trolleys in regular service on a dedicated line that runs from Fisherman's Wharf along the waterfront past the famous Ferry Terminal and then along Market Street through the city's Financial District to the end of the line in what is known as the Castro District. Although visually unchanged from their historic appearance all of these "museum in motion" vehicles have been modified internally to be wheel-chair accessible, and many of the stops on the line, including the one at the Museum, have ramps.
The San Francisco Railway Museum, located across the street from the Ferry Building is designed to complement the historic rail vehicles of the F-line and cable car lines by serving as an information and interpretation center for them. The museum features a full-sized exact replica of the motorman's platform of a 1911 San Francisco streetcar, unique historic artifacts, illustrative and informative displays, rarely seen archival photography, and audio-visual exhibits to bring rail transit in the 19th and 20th centuries to life.
We will travel via Amtrak and Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to the San Francisco Railway Museum. The tour fee includes a day pass on Muni, so once our docent led tour of the Museum is over you will be on-your-own for the rest of the day. Ride the trolleys, take pictures as they go by the Museum (all 20 have to pass in each direction in a traffic safe location) dine at either end of the F-street line at Fisherman's Wharf or the less touristy Castro.
As a side trip, catch a Cable Car, the fare is included in the day pass. Go for just the ride or get off at the Cable Car Museum to view their exhibits and the operating wheel that pulls the cable. The Cable Car option is not handicapped accessible, and can involve extensive waits to board at either end of the line. Additionally, re-boarding at the Cable Car Museum can be difficult (they are always full and in the middle of heavy traffic) and you should be prepared to walk down a steep hill to the F-street trolley line.
The last of Amtrak's Capitol Corridor trains from Richmond to Sacramento leaves at 8:30 pm. and you need to catch BART from San Francisco to Richmond at least an hour before that. The convention shuttle running on Thursday will provide transportation from Old Town Sacramento (at the end of the Amtrak station) to the Convention Center until 7:00 pm. See the tour desk prior to departure for more details on pick-up on Tuesday and after 7:00 pm Thursday.
This is a great tour for trolley fans, photography buffs, historians and anybody else just looking for an unconventional day.