Streetcars: 31 Balboa Line


31 Balboa Streetcar Line

opening of 31-Balboa, Pacific Gun Sight Co. - (Emiliano Echeverria/Randolph Brandt Collection)

Service Begun: May 15, 1932 (as the last new streetcar line built in San Francisco until 1995).

Route: From Ferries to 30th Avenue and Balboa via Market, Eddy, Divisadero, Turk and Balboa Streets. Returning via Turk Street to Mason to Eddy. East of Divisadero the 31-line replaced the 4-Turk & Eddy streetcar.

Rail service end: July 2, 1949 (replaced by motor coach and later by trolley coach and was extended first to 33rd Avenue and later to the Beach. Trolley coach service is supplemented by two rush hour Express Bus services, 31AX and 31BX.)

31 line Balboa streetcar #981 westbound on "Balboa Dip" View east - Photographer Unknown (Courtesy of a Private Collectior)

Built by the Market Street Railway, the 31 Balboa line suceeded in diminishing the ridership of the rival Municipal Railway line, the A Geary-Park. MUNI won the war, however, taking over ownership of the 31 line on September 29, 1944.

From Walter Rice: "Until a new streetcar line in Boston opened in 1960s, the 31-line was not only the last new streetcar line in San Francisco, but the United States. Muni's opening in 1995 of the F-Market streetcar combined with major extensions of J-Church, M-Ocean View and N-Judah lines has again placed San Francisco as a city who recognizes the importance of the streetcar."

Read Jack Tillmany's memory (and see photos) of the day in 1947 when a 31 crashed into a 21 Hayes!

Markest Street Railway 31 Balboa streetcar 979 at the northeast corner of 30th Avenue, early 1940s. - Courtesy of Jack Tillmany.

Sources: Walter Rice; Jack Tillmany; John Coll; The White Front Cars of San Francisco, Charles A. Smallwood, Interurbans Press, 1971.


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Page updated 6 August 2012.