Northwestern Pacific Railroad Network

Dedicated to Sharing the Heritage of Redwood Empire Railroading

NWP Ferryboat "Eureka" at Hyde Street Pier,San Francisco

Most of you probably know about the Ferryboat "Eureka" on display in San Francisco.  I used to like to go over there and take the engine room tour.  They start the tour at the engineer's control station and show you how the walking beam engine is "barred over" by the operator to get the boat underway.  Then the tour goes down below into the boiler room to see the condenser and the bank of fire tube boilers.  They explain their operation and once the tour guide pointed out how the main shaft, on each side, is sitting on railroad box car springs for suspension

Anyway, I came across a website with ferryboat information that is interesting.  The link is  Also follow the links at to find the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park where the Eureka is berthed.  The engine room tours are mostly on weekends. To check for the times of the tour before you go call 1-415-447-5000.  You will have to climb down a ladder into the boiler room on this tour,so unfortunately, it is not for persons with mobility impairment issues.

Pilot house chatter you might hear while getting underway:

"Standby all hands,make all preparations getting underway. Single up all lines, engine room on standby.  Let go the spring lines.  Cast off fore and aft.  Engine room back one third." " Answers back one third, Sir!" " Very well, Wheel hard to port!" "Hard to port,Sir" "Engine room all ahead full, rudder amidship!" "Answers ahead full, rudder amidship, Sir."

"Very well then, chart a course for Saucelito!"

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Comment by Bob Burns on August 5, 2011 at 7:58pm
My dad rode that ferry back in the 1930s and "unfortunately" I'm old enough to remember seeing it once traveling north from San Francisco. The hearald - logo of the NWP is one of the best I've ever seen, I picked up a cap at the Santa Rosa Depot a couple years ago, the last they had at the time. Thanks for the headsup on the below decks tour as this is the first I've heard of them. Third Sunday of the month they fire the boiler on the SS Jeremiah O'Brien and run the engine. Go on a cool day as it's toasty down where the black gang worked. My grandfather worked on the old coastal lumber schooners as well as deep water steamers as an engineer  and sailing ships as an Donkeyman and AB. BB 

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