Temporary Closure of Waters Around Alcatraz Island
From 7/3 to 9/22 a 500’ marine buffer zone is in effect, closing the perimeter of Alcatraz Island to all private vessels to protect nesting seabirds during America's Cup racing. Tours to Alcatraz continue as usual during the races. More »
Muir Beach (but not nearby Muir Woods) closed July 8-November 2013, but local businesses are open
Though Muir Beach is closed from July 8-November 2013 due to construction, the PELICAN INN IS OPEN. Restrooms and parking are not available at Muir Beach. Pacific Way is closed except to residents. Check back for updates or call (415)561-3054. More »
CAUTION: Post Storm Damage to Coastal Trail
The Presidio Coastal Trail segment just north of the Pacific Overlook and adjacent to Lincoln Blvd remains CLOSED indefinitely. We have posted signage to alert bicyclists and hikers and with information for safe trail alternatives. More »
The State Belt Railroad (1890-1993)
A Railroad to Improve San Francisco's Port
The California Gold Rush of 1849 dramatically transformed San Francisco into a bustling port town, exploding with new people and construction. Due to the lack of any proper city planning, San Francisco's waterfront grew haphazardly into a maze of wharves, piers and warehouses. The state of California established a harbor commission to improve the waterfront's transportation systems. In 1890, the harbor commission built the State Belt Railroad, designed to improve the flow of goods and materials up and down the waterfront by serving the piers and linking them with the outlying commercial warehouses and railroads
The original purpose of the State Belt Railroad was to serve the waterfront's commercial shipping activities but as the city's needs changed, so did the length and scope of the railroad. During World War I, in an effort to support the military's shipping needs, a railroad tunnel was constructed to extend the Belt Railroad out to the Fort Mason army post. By 1917, the state extended the railroad out to the Presidio army base. At the height of the State Belt Railroad, 67 miles of track were in service. Overtime, however, the use of the railroad dwindled as Oakland surpassed San Francisco as the major Bay Area shipping port. In 1969, the railroad was renamed the San Francisco Belt Railroad after the state sold the waterfront property rights to the city. By 1993 the railroad company had gone out of business and the much of the tracks abandoned.
Some frequently asked questions about the State Belt Railroad:
What roles did the Fort Mason-Presidio Belt Line extension play in supporting the war effort during World War I and World War II?
During World Wars I and II, the Fort Mason-Presidio Belt Line extension provided a crucial link between the Presidio and the San Francisco Port of Embarkation at Fort Mason. The army transported troops and supplies from the Presidio along the railroad lines to awaiting transport ships. Army hospital ships, returning from the Pacific with wounded soldiers, also would dock at Fort Mason. Then medics would carefully transport the injured men to army hospital trains that delivered them via the Belt Line to the Presidio's Letterman Army Hospital. After initial treatment at Letterman, many soldiers were then shipped out on hospital trains that carried them to other medical facilities across the country for further treatment.
How was the Belt Line related to the new Letterman General Hospital?
When did the State of California take the State Belt Railroad out of service and why?
Did You Know?
In the spring of 2003, at least one pair of coyotes was seen repeatedly in the Presidio of San Francisco.