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Streetcar Deck

Posted by
Stephen Phillips (San Francisco, United States) on 15 August 2010 in Documentary & Street and Portfolio.

Transbay Transit Terminal - San Francisco

Series from its final hours of operation - V

A white pigeon and this photographer were the only visitors in front of this once busy transportation terminal. This was the morning following the closure. As I stood here - the place was surrounded by trucks and workers removing overhead wires. Wires that fed electricity to the trolley buses which would queue here by the dozens awaiting their next scheduled runs.

As for these tracks - there hadn't been a streetcar here in many years. After the light-rail system became fully operational in 1980 - the surface streetcars ceased to use the Transbay Terminal. San Francisco city buses serviced this facility right to the end.

A final note: Chain-linked fencing had to be bolted to the entrances on both levels facing Mission Street. The terminal had never been closed in all of its years of service - so there was no need for any doors.

© copyright 2018 by Stephen Phillips Photography / Oakland, California /
please respect these rights - do not copy or use these images without permission.

Cosmin from Bucharest, Romania

nice ground view

15 Aug 2010 6:42am

Paco Díaz from Palma de Mallorca, Spain

You make me to empathize with you in this "long goodbye". It's sad to lose urban signs that have been with us for long time.

15 Aug 2010 7:08am

Mirko Herzner from Germany

A fine shot of a place that fulfilled its duty... Was it part of your day-to-day life? Your writing seems to have a sad touch...

15 Aug 2010 8:07am

JPS from Le Havre, France

Missed..for the carrier pigeon !!!

15 Aug 2010 9:16am

hugo poon from hong kong, Hong Kong

Hey Stephen, can't tell you how much I can relate to scenes of the vanishing such as this one! Brilliant use of angle and composition to heighten the mood! Absolutely good work my friend!

15 Aug 2010 12:19pm

Sunder from Chennai, India

Great perspective...
Deserted feel is palpable....

15 Aug 2010 4:00pm

MARIANA from Waterloo, Canada

Super POV and perspective , Great compo, Stephen !

15 Aug 2010 4:11pm

Phil David Alexander Morris from Saskatoon, Canada

Do they not have trolley cars in S.F. anymore?? That was one of the things I found so beautiful
there. I find the terminal there in your photos quite beautiful, especially in this image.

15 Aug 2010 4:24pm

@Phil David Alexander Morris: We can thank Senator Diane Feinstein for our streetcars. They had been removed from service in the late 1970's. Back when she was mayor of San Francisco in the early 1980's - she started this visionary program of bringing streetcars in from all over the world. The Cable Car system was over capacity. The 'F' market Street line which had been replaced with buses was reconfigured and track was laid from Castro Street east to the Ferry Building and then north into the heart of Fisherman's Wharf with a terminal on Jones Street.

The streetcars run frequently and are frequently crowded. A big hit. I can't imagine the city without them.

Take a look at:

Susan from Pompano Beach, by Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States

wonderful perspective.......interesting stuff.......sad......

15 Aug 2010 4:26pm

Curly from South Shields, United Kingdom

Yep, this is the way to photograph rails and road lines, get down on your belly and take it all in!

15 Aug 2010 5:05pm

Marcie from Newton, United States

This is such a great series. Perhaps something you can offer to the city's archives. Excellent!

15 Aug 2010 5:12pm

Calusarus from St Sorlin en Valloire, France

Very nice PoV on these rails

15 Aug 2010 5:36pm

Denny Jump Photo from Easton, PA, United States

I think I remember seeing those back in the late 50's??? Or am I wrong? Better tell Phil David that the trolley cars are still in operation. If they shut those down the tourist trade will drop by 30% at least. That poor pigeon looks lonely. Thank yoi Stephen! Have a great Sunday.

15 Aug 2010 5:59pm

@Denny Jump Photo: Hey, Denny - thanks. I just replied to Phil with the whole skinny on the streetcars - complete with this link:

...and I agree - we gotta keep the tour- ronz happy!

Formerly Known as MontereyJohn from Waterbury, Connecticut, United States

OK, that looks pretty dismal, maybe someone should lay down on the tracks :) Cool shot though, and the perspective is wonderful.

15 Aug 2010 8:34pm

@Formerly Known as MontereyJohn: Thanks, John - This is how I stay so rested and relaxed - lying down on the street with my camera at every chance.

Denny Jump Photo from Easton, PA, United States

Hey a streetcar charter - that would be kinda cool - or maybe not! Regardless thank you very much for the link, tjough Stephen! Really pretty interesting, actually. Thanks man!

16 Aug 2010 12:11am

Becky from los angeles, United States

wonderful series!

16 Aug 2010 1:27am

yz from Budapest, Hungary

cool perspective

16 Aug 2010 8:12pm

Ralph Jones from Detroit, United States

Beautiful point of view and leading lines in this.

16 Aug 2010 9:25pm