One of the most unexpected sights on downtown San Diego streets is a beautifully restored, 71-year-old trolley taking riders on a 30-minute loop through the city.
The Metropolitan Transit System‘s six-year-old SDG&E Sliver Line operates on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays using two vintage trolleys built in 1946 and painted in the colors of the old San Diego Electric Railway.
Trips begin appropriately at MTS headquarters — the 12th and Imperial station — but riders can enter or leave at any point on the line. There are six trips on Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting at 9:54 a.m., and seven on Saturdays and Sundays, starting at 10:54 a.m.
The Art Deco-era PCC trolleys, a common sight in many American cities in the post-war years, seem small to modern riders, with only 50 seats compared 60 or more on new MTS trolleys. Cars like this operated in San Diego from 1937 until 1949.
On a recent Sunday trip, the gleaming green and yellow trolley drew stares and waves from tourists in the Gaslamp, with many holding up cellphones to snap a photo.
MTS promotes the line to visitors, primarily in brochures that are distributed at hotels and welcome centers. Nearly 32,000 people rode the vintage trolleys in the last fiscal year.
The ride is only $2.50, and afterward it’s a short walk to the historic Mission Brewery or popular restaurants and bars near Petco Park.
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