Key172_ramp-Beale_r125capSF-bound Key train on the terminal loop.
On a rather perfect day, a photographer captured a San Francisco-bound Key System train approaching the terminal. It was 1957 and the trains would operate until April 1958. Signed as the "A" train, it could have been coming from either the "A" line or the "F" line as the same equipment alternated routes upon departing San Francisco for the East Bay. Third rail (600v) was used across the Bay Bridge and in the City. The overhead wire was strung for the SP (IER) and Sacramento Northern trains, both of which operated transbay service across the bridge briefly between 1939 and 1941.
No wayside signals on this railway, as the trains ran by cab signals between Oakland and San Francisco. While the rest of Key's trackage was rough, this portion (including the bridge and Oakland yard) was first class, built for the January 1939 opening of the Bridge Railway by the state toll bridge authority. When the Bay Bridge opened for rail service the railroad-owned ferryboats were discontinued. However, SP ran ferries connecting with main line trains until 1958.
The Folger's Coffee Company was still roasting beans when the photo was snapped. Hills Brothers and MJB were also in the neighborhood. The folks that began Starbucks were likely not even born yet.
The Embarcadero Freeway was under construction and is visible over The Embarcadero, where it would cast a shadow for over thirty years before being demolished. Main and Beale Street had freeway ramps, visible to the right of the Key System elevated trackway. While the freeway was under construction, a famous "freeway revolt" by the citizens of San Francisco abruptly ended construction along The Embarcadero north of Broadway. Between those freeway ramps, not visible in the photo, was an SP team track that ended at Mission Street.
Identifying landmarks that remain in 2009 are the administration building and Pan Am clipper hanger on Treasure Island, the highway ramp on Yerba Island and the Bay Bridge. Folger's is still there, but the coffee company is long gone along with the rest of industrial "south of Market." The old Transbay Terminal survives as a bus station with a long range plan to build a Caltrain route to the building along with high-speed rail. Even the elevated terminal railway ramps have been torn down, replaced with newer roads for bus access, presumably safer in the next big earthquake.
Key172-Rincon_r125_smNear Rincon Hill in San Francisco, a Key train approaches the Bay Bridge.
Here is a photo that appears to have been shot from the Embarcadero Freeway, still under construction at that time. An eastbound "A" train is rolling toward Rincon Hill in San Francisco. Then it will curve onto the Bay Bridge's lower deck for a run to 12th & Oak Streets in downtown Oakland. The span had two-way automobile traffic on the upper deck in those days; lower deck was for the railroad and three truck-bus lanes. On borrowed time, the Key trains had just over one year left when the picture was taken. San Francisco-bound trains took the two tracks that diverge to the right to make a terminal loop. The City's skyline has changed a lot over the years; skyscrapers were not as tall then.
Inside Key System's Division 1 shop building
Eastward "A" train leaving Oakland Army Base stop
Eastbound stop at Bridge Yard.
Bridge Railway yard under construction
Rincon Hill scene
Ooops in San Francisco
B train leaves SF terminal
Westbound on the Bay Bridge
F train inside SF terminal
Opening daySan Francisco Terminal
Bridge Yard 1937 const
Key System Bridge Yards as seen from Oakland Army Base 3-12-45
bridgeyardBridge Yard near the Key System inspection building
Bridge Yard near the Key System inspection building
westbound D1Westbound in Bridge Yard having just set out unit(s)
Westbound in Bridge Yard having just set out unit(s)
OnBridgeOn the Bay Bridge
On the Bay Bridge
sfobbOn the Bay Bridge
On the Bay Bridge
Key158_yard-nite_capNight time in the yard.
Night time in the yard.