San Francisco - Oakland Terminal Railways

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The Bay areaís Key System was a consolidation of several smaller streetcar lines assembled in the late 1890ís and early 1900ís by Francis Marion "Borax" Smith, an entrepreneur who made a fortune in his namesake mineral, and then turned to real estate and electric traction. The Key System began as the San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose Railway (SFOSJR), which was incorporated in 1902. Service began on October 26, 1903 with a 4-car train carrying 250 passengers, departing downtown Berkeley for the ferry pier. Before the end of 1903, the general manager of the SFOSJR devised the idea of using a stylized map on which the system's routes resembled an old-fashioned key, with three "handle loops" that covered the cities of Berkeley, Piedmont (initially, "Claremont" shared the Piedmont loop) and Oakland, and a "shaft" in the form of the Key pier, the "teeth" representing the ferry berths at the end of the pier. The company touted its 'key route', which led to the adoption of the name "Key System".

In 1908, the SFOSJR changed its name to the San Francisco, Oakland & San Jose Consolidated Railway. This was again changed to the San Francisco-Oakland Terminal Railways in 1912. This incarnation of the Key system went bankrupt in December 1923, and was re-organized as the Key System Transit Company, transforming a marketing buzzword into the name of the company.

Following the Great Crash of 1929, the name was changed yet again as part of another reorganization. A holding company called the Railway Equipment & Realty Company was created, with the subsidiary Key System Ltd. running the commuter trains. In 1938, the name became the Key System.

During World War II, the Key System built and operated the Shipyard Railway, a special line running between a transfer station in Emeryville and the Kaiser Shipyards in Richmond.

We are currently offering the following pieces from the San Francisco - Oakland Terminal Railways:


All certificates are sold only as collectible pieces, as they are either canceled or obsolete. Certificates carry no value on any of today's financial indexes and no transfer of ownership is implied.

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