Silver Line trolley returns to San Diego!

The nostalgic Silver Line trolley has returned to San Diego!

I saw historic, restored PCC streetcar 529 pulling into America Plaza this morning, and I had to jump aboard. The old trolley cars that run in the downtown Silver Line loop are definitely a very cool San Diego sight!

The Silver Line resumed service today after not running for most of the COVID-19 pandemic. I learned the line will be operating on weekends from this point forward.

I want to give a special shout out to the driver and another MTS employee on the streetcar during my ride. A distressed passenger at one station informed the driver she’d been accidentally separated from some of her belongings. As I looked on from a seat in back, the attentive, friendly MTS guys immediately got on the phone and quickly resolved the situation! The belongings had been found and awaited the passenger at the next station, under guard of an MTS Ambassador! I don’t know the name of the trolley driver, but he and his buddy are totally awesome!

If you like historic old streetcars, watch for the distinctive Silver Line cars running in a loop downtown and jump aboard!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

An amazing San Diego museum few know about!

One of San Diego’s most amazing museums is little known to the public. But if you are interested in our city’s history, it’s a place you absolutely must visit!

The San Diego Electric Railway Association’s historic National City Depot museum is positively jam packed with fascinating exhibits. I last visited the old train depot six years ago, and I posted this blog with lots of photos and interesting information. On a whim I swung by the museum yesterday–and was wowed once again!

Display cases are filled with artifacts and ephemera from a century ago when a growing San Diego was crisscrossed with streetcars. And, of course, there are the many outdoor exhibits, including old trolleys, streetcars and railway equipment.

As I entered the depot, my eyes immediately fixed upon something astonishing. A sign described how three of San Diego’s original streetcars were added to the museum last year! I’ll be blogging about that shortly!

If you have kids and need something to do on a weekend, they’ll love the museum. I bet you will, too! And it’s free!

Take a look at just a tiny bit of the San Diego history you’ll see…

There are important out of print reference books available at the museum, too, including one titled Rails of the Silver Gate that I purchased. Published in 1960, it provides a complete detailed history of entrepreneur John D. Spreckels and his creation of the San Diego Electric Railway. The incredible book includes many photos, plus descriptions of every car that ever operated, and route maps that became increasingly extensive over the years!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Sunrise over San Diego’s trolley and rail yard.

I was walking around the San Diego Convention Center this morning, looking for cool stuff popping up for this weekend’s Comic-Con Special Edition, when I had to pause on the Harbor Drive pedestrian bridge and marvel at the brilliant sunrise.

I took these two photos of sunrise above downtown’s trolley and rail yard.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

San Diego’s Mid-Coast Trolley extension debuts!

Today was the big day! San Diego’s new Mid-Coast Trolley extension opened for regular service! And there were free rides and a big public celebration at the main UCSD campus station!

The greatly lengthened Blue Line now serves nine brand new trolley stations between Old Town and the UTC shopping mall. Much of the new line runs along Interstate 5 and is elevated. So imagine the great views!

I had to take photos, of course! And check out each new station!

A huge crowd turned out, and in some of the cars passengers were packed like sardines. But everyone was having a fun, memorable experience. Families with kids were everywhere, and the kids were especially excited!

I took loads of photos–so many, in fact, that I’ve left them somewhat unedited. But they provide a sense of what the day was about.

Here we go! Starting at the Old Town Transit Center, heading north…

Another trolley heads north from Old Town. Beyond that distant Interstate 8 overpass, the Mid-Coast Trolley extension passes over the San Diego River and Friars Road, then heads along Morena Boulevard into Bay Park.
Peering through the driver’s compartment. What lies ahead?
Passing over the San Diego River. Those other trolley tracks veer eastward into Mission Valley–the Green Line which I often take to work.
Passing over Friars Road. Some environmental work still underway, left over from creating new railway bridges.
I step off at the Tecolote Road station and take a photo of the trolley continuing on north. While I waited for the next trolley, I asked MTS ambassador Pat about possible new public art along the Mid-Coast Trolley extension, and she thought it would be cool to have owl art at this station. Tecolote is Spanish for owl!
I got on the next UC San Diego Blue Line train and have already arrived at the Clairemont Drive station.
There it goes!
Here comes the next trolley!
Heading north past Mission Bay we could see water and palm trees in the distance.
It’s getting noticeably busier at the Balboa Avenue station! A sizeable parking lot here was used by many passengers on this free ride day.
The trolley continues north toward Rose Canyon. You can see Mount Soledad in the distance on the left.
A path for pedestrians and bicyclists heads toward Balboa Avenue.
Bicyclists descend to Balboa Avenue.
Lots of passengers on this special day!
Heading north past industrial buildings by Rose Creek. Climb those hills to the east and you’d find yourself in Clairemont.
Autumn scenery is a bit blurred as we move rapidly along.
The Amtrak and Coaster train tracks, which we’ve been traveling beside, now veer northeast toward Miramar. We soon veer a bit west to pass over Interstate 5 and commence an elevated journey beside the freeway.
Our first glimpse of Golden Triangle office high-rises and the exotic temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Pulling into the Nobel Drive station, which is across the freeway from the distinctive Mormon temple.
Folks walk along the station platform.
Looking back south. Some construction is still going on.
Look both ways!
Looking north. You can see the big VA Medical Center building in the distance, to left of center.
Continuing on the trolley north.
Approaching the VA Medical Center station. The best photo I managed to get at this moment. (The trolley car was jam-packed!)
We’ve arrived!
Flags and plaques honor the five branches of the Armed Services at the VA Medical Center station. I’ll be posting more photos that I took here shortly.
One last look down at the freeway before we curve our way into the large campus of UC San Diego. I took photos of Mid-Coast Trolley extension construction some time ago from this same bridge.
There’s a good deal of construction activity around the new UC San Diego Central Campus trolley station.
Here we are!
The trolley cars emptied here as people flooded down toward a big Mid-Coast Trolley extension opening day celebration and festival!
Somebody already got a cool new shirt!
Down some stairs we go.
Lots of stuff going on beneath the elevated station!
A sign indicates the Grand Opening Celebration event is this way!
That’s the big celebration in the distance. Meanwhile I spotted these dancers.
It’s the San Diego Dance Theater! They perform the annual Trolley Dances! You’ve seen them many times before on Cool San Diego Sights!
Oh, man! Look at that line! I’m afraid I didn’t have the patience to wait. More places to go today…
I did take a photo from outside the big Grand Opening Celebration event. They had a huge stage for speeches and entertainment. And kettle corn, of course!
Heading back under the UC San Diego Central Campus trolley station I noticed this cool public art. Words and phrases fill the plaza! I’ll blog more about this later.
Heading up stairs on the station’s other side.
A view of UCSD campus construction near the new trolley station. UC San Diego has been expanding like crazy the past few years.
More construction photographed from the same stairs.
The top of the elevators to the station platform.
Well, here we are a short time later at the UC San Diego Health La Jolla station. That’s quite a mouthful!
The longest station name ever.
Not much action at this station. A MTS worker is keeping things clean.
Looking around.
We’re now on our way to the Executive Drive station.
I’ve arrived at the Executive Drive trolley station near the heart of University City. Gleaming office buildings are all around. That pedestrian bridge provides easy passage to one nearby building.
From here the Blue Line heads south above Genesee Avenue for a short distance.
I see the UTC shopping mall a short distance to the south.
I watch a trolley head toward its final destination–the UTC Transit Center.
I’m riding there now!
Look at all the passengers disembarking!
At the UTC Transit Center trolley platform, on the west side.
Stairs head down to a nearby parking lot.
MTS buses at the UTC Transit Center below, on the east side of the trolley platform.
People head into the popular UTC shopping mall.
One last look north up Genesee Avenue.

That is a little of what many experienced on this day, November 21, 2021.

History was made in San Diego!

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The downtown Silver Line resumes service!

The San Diego Trolley’s Silver Line recently returned to service. After a long period of inactivity during the COVID-19 pandemic, the historic cars that operate on the downtown loop route can now be seen on weekends!

Late this morning I enjoyed the Lemon Festival in Chula Vista. (I’ll blog about that event shortly!) I then returned downtown, hopped onto beautiful vintage PCC streetcar 530 and rode much of the Silver Line loop.

As we headed down the track, curious people on sidewalks watched us and listened to the car ding-dinging with astonished eyes.

Learn more about the Silver Line and its restored trolley cars here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Celebrating the trolley’s 40th Anniversary!

Thank you all for transporting me around the city, and for your friendly waves! I’ve loved trains since I was a kid!

A special public event was held today at the E Street trolley station in Chula Vista. The 40th Anniversary of the San Diego Trolley was celebrated!

A big crowd turned out to enjoy free entertainment, food and drink, and booths with transit information. As one might expect, there were also short speeches by city dignitaries, including representatives of the Metropolitan Transit System.

San Diego’s “first” 1981 trolley car–Number 1001–was parked on one of the station’s tracks, right next to several more recent, advanced trolley cars. Good old “1001” is now one of the cars that loop through downtown as part of the Silver Line. (I was told today the Silver Line will be resuming operation next week!)

Back in the 80’s, the first trolleys ran from downtown San Diego to the San Ysidro border crossing. Today, three major lines cover much of the city, and the Blue Line’s Mid-Coast Extension to Mission Bay and La Jolla is scheduled to open in just a few months!

It was interesting to hear in one speech how the trolley might one day be wireless, or even autonomous. Technology is rapidly advancing. It will be fascinating to see what the future brings!

As a very frequent rider of public transit, thank you MTS! If anyone reading my blog wonders how I spy interesting new things, it’s often by looking out a trolley or bus window!

MTS CEO Sharon Cooney addresses the crowd during the 40th Anniversary of the San Diego Trolley. The audience was very enthusiastic!
After the speeches, there was exciting breakdancing!
If one waited in line for a short while, there were oodles of free treats!
The two most recent models of trolley cars at the E Street Station. The 4000’s and 5000’s look pretty similar.
A car from 1981. This particular car, looking very shiny, now transports people around downtown on the Silver Line, along with a couple of older vintage PCC streetcars.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Six years of colorful Comic-Con trolleys!

It’s mid-June. If this were an ordinary year, brand new trolley wraps would be rolling out right now for San Diego Comic-Con. But, alas, like most events, Comic-Con has been cancelled in 2020 due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

I’ve photographed just about every Comic-Con trolley wrap that has appeared in the past six years. As mobile billboards, they’re used to promote popular entertainment–primarily new or ongoing television series. They’re designed to catch the attention of Comic-Con fans and create a sense of anticipation and excitement.

This year I’ll miss watching the weeks of preparations that lead up to the world’s greatest pop culture convention. Seeing streets, buildings and trolleys massively transformed for the epic event is one more thing that makes living in downtown San Diego so much fun!

If you, like me, are saddened by the cancellation of Comic-Con in 2020, I figured we could revisit these very colorful trolley wraps from the past six years. How many do you remember or recognize?

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

A belated thank you to MTS transit drivers!

I didn’t realize until now that yesterday was Transit Driver Appreciation Day!

I’ve ridden the San Diego Trolley and MTS buses for many years–going to and from work, and around the city on weekend adventures. I like to travel this way because I can gaze out the windows at my city and search for cool new sights.

So I would like to express my appreciation to all those who drive for MTS in San Diego. Many of the bus and trolley drivers are super nice and deserve all the kudos they can get. They often smile or offer a wave or kind greeting as they do a job that at times is quite stressful.

From a downtown resident who appreciates all that you do, every single day: Thank You!

Working on the trolley tracks along C Street.

Forgive me for posting the following photos. I have a boyish love for trains.

This morning and afternoon I walked along C Street to and from the City College trolley station. I simply had to pause to watch as workers tore up a section of old asphalt and rails running down the center of the street, then later as the workers carefully dumped and leveled new track ballast. I asked one friendly guy who seemed to be supervising if the rails were old and he replied that was the case!

According to some signs, work on this section of trolley tracks will be completed this weekend.

As you can see in the final photo, I wasn’t the only one intrigued by all the activity!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Here come the 2019 Comic-Con trolleys!

Look what I spotted early this morning at the MTS trolley yard! It’s the first 2019 San Diego Comic-Con trolley that I’ve seen so far! I recognize characters from Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants!

Right about now a whole bunch of cool Comic-Con designs should start appearing as wraps are applied to trolley cars. I learned from one trolley driver that teams of six people apply each wrap, three per side. Every car takes about a day or so.

I’ll keep my eyes wide open in the days ahead and will post more Comic-Con wraps as I see them. Stay tuned!

UPDATE!

I spotted a SpongeBob SquarePants trolley after work and got some good photos of both sides!

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UPDATE!

I got pics of a completely different SpongeBob SquarePants design on a second trolley car! Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time and was only able to get one side…

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UPDATE!

I got the other side of the second trolley!

(I also believe a third SpongeBob design was being applied to one of the older trolleys this morning. I’ll watch for it!)

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ANOTHER UPDATE!

I took pics of a third new SpongeBob design! This wrap was applied to an older-style trolley car!

What other fun Comic-Con wraps will appear in the days ahead?

Stay tuned!

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I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!