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SAN FRANCISCO STREETCARS

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Travel in style on San Francisco's vintage international trams
Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA, USA

No self-respecting visitor to San Francisco would miss a trip on the famous cable cars, but for some reason, the city's assortment of wonderful electric streetcars gets short shrift. Unbeknownst to many people, we San Franciscans are living in the midst of what amounts to an open-air, living museum of vintage streetcars, still run as a proper form of public transportation by MUNI.

Reading a description of the fleet is truly amazing. You might find yourself on the No. 496, an unusually smooth-running tram that dates from Melbourne, Australia, in 1928. I'm partial to No. 1818, a funky wooden tram from 1930s Milan - originally designed by the industrious Peter Witt in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1915! There are also trams from Japan, Switzerland, and England (including one in the shape of a boat that has actually sailed across the Atlantic).

And yes, theatre fans, we do have "A Streetcar Named Desire." (And people don't know about this?!) MUNI currently runs one of these streetcars in the form of No. 952, which dates back to New Orleans in 1923, and which ran on the original "Desire" line. I have yet to catch that one, but if I ever do, I am fairly certain I am going to faint. Perhaps Stanley will catch me!

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