Take the “A” Train……………#10 (the 50’s)

Retired Bay Bridge “A” Train

His Mother saw to it that he would safely board the train on East 14th St.  It wasn’t a steam or diesel locomotive train,  it was a Oakland Transportation Key Systems electric train that transported passengers from Oakland to San Francisco via the Bay Bridge.  The boy having been aboard the train before,  always referring to this four car conveyance as the  ‘A’   train because of the  large letter  ‘A’   displayed on the front of the first car.  The beginning of another journey to visit Aunt Alice in San Francisco,  but this trip was to be different from the others, his Aunt would not be waiting for him at the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco  when he disembarked  from the train.  This would be the first time young Mike would venture through the Twin Peaks Tunnel across the expanse of San Francisco alone  to visit his Aunt. There was a slight aura of ambiguity as he boarded the front car of the ‘A’ train, but immediately giving way to a wave of euphoria.    He couldn’t believe his eyes, an answer to prayers,  a dream come true,   a miracle,  the unbelievable having happened,  the very front seat of the train,  the one on the left side across from the driver was empty and he would be able to gaze at an unobstructed drivers view of the tracks.    Hallelujah!    Mike had been hoping for this to happen since his first trip on the train, hurrying to the seat,  setting down,  gazing at the remarkable view in front of him.

The beginnig of a journey to San Francisco

The start of a journey to San Francisco

A Drivers view from the front seat

San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal

The journey beginning,  the train smoothly moving forward, he was in the driver’s seat, keeping notice of the traffic signals and watchful eye on the traffic negotiating around him as he mentally navigated his transport down the tracks.   Approaching a loading area,  stopping so the waiting passengers could board, then continuing  on.  As he journeyed thru Oakland  towards the bay,  a recognizable structure appeared,  raising up as a testament to an engineering marvel,  the Oakland, San Francisco Bay Bridge,  the train gliding onto left side of the lower deck.  The boy was  hoping  for an encounter,  to  pass an oncoming train would be impressive, but to no avail.  The next stop would be TI,   Treasure Island Naval Station, the train coming to a halt at the lighted station tunneled beneath Yerba Buena Island.  The excursion vehicle motionless  waiting for the Navy  personnel to disembark or board, its mission fulfilled,  the train pushed onward leaving the station to emerge  from the tunnel into the daylight on the San Francisco side of the Island.   Continuing  towards the city,  listening to the clicky-click sound of the wheels on the tracks,  the breath-taking unobstructed driver’s view  was an experience that Mike would never forget.  The “A” train began crossing the Embarcadero on the elevated tracks heading southwest, soon making a sweeping  “S”  turn between Folsom and Mission Streets,  arriving  at  the upper level of the Transbay Terminal.   Mike looked over to his right at the uniformed man sitting at the levers in the driver’s compartment,  the operator turned looking at him smiling,  extending a thumbs up.

Street view of the Transbay Terminal

The Terminal a haven for pigeons.

The only way to travel - san Francisco Muni Streetcar

The only way to travel – San Francisco Muni Streetcar

Mike knew his way,  he had traversed this many times with his Aunt.  He descended from the upper level and continued his way down to the outside turnaround.  It was here where the Muni electric street cars from various divergence would renew their destination and once  again  set out on their route to deliver their occupants.   The most impressionable attribute besides stepping   into the cool San Francisco air was the congregation of  well fed pigeons assembled.  They fluttered among the steady stream of electric street cars  and passengers coming and going.  The young traveler waited for the   “K”   car which would send him on his way to his destination.    Boarding and leaving the terminal area ,  the street car crossed Mission St. and turned with the tracks going up Market Street  towards the Twins Peaks Tunnel.   Crossing Castro St the   “K”   car entering the tunnel,   the  2 1/4 mile trip thru the tunnel having two station stops,   Eureka and  Forest Hill.    Mike enjoyed traveling into the unknown,  and as a young lad on a street car entering a darken tunnel,  there was always a possibility that something exciting would happen, but as usual  it didn’t.

The El Rey Theatre on Ocean Ave.

The trip was over at the El Rey movie theater on Ocean Ave, getting off, walking  four blocks up Victoria Ave.  then to a house at 538 Garfield St.,  a smiling Aunt Alice greeting him, asking how his trip was?   The ten-year old  replying  “Fun”


4 Responses to “Take the “A” Train……………#10 (the 50’s)”

  1. Gene Wohlfahrt Says:

    I’m impressed! After reading your post I can tell you are well-informed about your writing. If only I had your writing ability. I look forward to more updates and will be returning.Cheers!

    • gwillson7 Says:

      Thank you for your comment. It’s fun reliving and writing about these past events in my life. I hope to share many more.

      Take care………………Gary

  2. blow by blow michael webbs Says:

    Thanks, Take the “A” Train…………….#10 (the 50′s) Inquisitive Quest is a very lovely blog. I really like your blog theme actually, I frequently come back here and I don’t know why. I guess I just seriously like your website lol…

    • gwillson7 Says:

      Thank you for your comment….Take the “A” train was a memory that I will always remember….I do welcome you to share my lifes experiences. Hope you continue to read inquisitive quest.

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