san francisco cable cars

san francisco cable cars

San Francisco Cable Cars

Market Street Railway We keep San Francisco's Vintage Streetcars on Track Menu Home Streetcars & Cable Cars Museum Store Support Us Trolley Tours Subscribe San Francisco’s World Famous Cable Cars Richard Panse photo. Cable cars were invented by Andrew S. Hallidie, a Scots-born mining engineer. The story goes that he saw horses struggling to pull a railcar filled with passengers up one of San Francisco’s hills and decided to adapt his mining conveyor technology to pull rail cars, by means of an endless loop of cable under the street, between the tracks. He opened the world’s first cable car line, on Clay Street in San Francisco, in August 1873. Cable cars soon dominated San Francisco’s transit scene, with more than a dozen lines, including five on the city’s main street, Market Street. The 1906 Earthquake and Fire ended the cable era on Market Street, but other lines soldiered on through two World Wars as a quaint relic (even then), survived an assassination attempt by misguided (or malicious) politicians in the late 1940s, were wounded in a follow-up assault in the 1950s, and yet survived it all to become a worldwide symbol of San Francisco. In 1964, San Francisco’s cable cars were named the first moving National Historic Landmark. Today, both their continued operation and minimum level of service are locked into San Francisco’s City Charter. Their history is a fascinating amalgam of technology, politics, and passion. Here, we concentrate on the basics of the current system. Two types of cable cars Today, there are two types of cable cars in regular service. Though they differ in appearance, their operation is almost identical (see ‘How they work’ below). The two Powell Street lines (Powell-Hyde & Powell-Mason) use smaller cable cars, operable from only one end. They thus require turntables to reverse direction at the ends of the line. There are 28 Powell cars kept on the roster at any given time. Thanks to a project supported by us, Market Street Railway, nine of the cars in the Powell fleet now sport historic liveries recapturing the way Powell cable cars looked during various periods in the twelve-decade history of the service. The California Street cable car line uses 12 larger, maroon cable cars which have an open seating section at each end and a closed section in the middle. These cars can be operated from either end, and turn around by means of a simple switch at the end of the line. Additionally, there is a cable car from the defunct O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde line (No. 42) that is restored and operates on special occasions, thanks to a joint project of Market Street Railway volunteers and Muni crafts workers. There is also a restored but non-operational cable car from the defunct Sacramento & Clay line in Muni’s cable car fleet. How Cable Cars Work The Cable car fleet 1888-1893 1893-1902 1905-1908 1907-1921 1927-1936 1944-1947 1946-early 1960s 1960s-1982 1984-current 1984-current Full cable car fleet roster Destinations
san francisco cable cars 1

San Francisco Cable Cars

San Francisco’s World Famous Cable Cars Richard Panse photo. Cable cars were invented by Andrew S. Hallidie, a Scots-born mining engineer. The story goes that he saw horses struggling to pull a railcar filled with passengers up one of San Francisco’s hills and decided to adapt his mining conveyor technology to pull rail cars, by means of an endless loop of cable under the street, between the tracks. He opened the world’s first cable car line, on Clay Street in San Francisco, in August 1873. Cable cars soon dominated San Francisco’s transit scene, with more than a dozen lines, including five on the city’s main street, Market Street. The 1906 Earthquake and Fire ended the cable era on Market Street, but other lines soldiered on through two World Wars as a quaint relic (even then), survived an assassination attempt by misguided (or malicious) politicians in the late 1940s, were wounded in a follow-up assault in the 1950s, and yet survived it all to become a worldwide symbol of San Francisco. In 1964, San Francisco’s cable cars were named the first moving National Historic Landmark. Today, both their continued operation and minimum level of service are locked into San Francisco’s City Charter. Their history is a fascinating amalgam of technology, politics, and passion. Here, we concentrate on the basics of the current system. Two types of cable cars Today, there are two types of cable cars in regular service. Though they differ in appearance, their operation is almost identical (see ‘How they work’ below). The two Powell Street lines (Powell-Hyde & Powell-Mason) use smaller cable cars, operable from only one end. They thus require turntables to reverse direction at the ends of the line. There are 28 Powell cars kept on the roster at any given time. Thanks to a project supported by us, Market Street Railway, nine of the cars in the Powell fleet now sport historic liveries recapturing the way Powell cable cars looked during various periods in the twelve-decade history of the service. The California Street cable car line uses 12 larger, maroon cable cars which have an open seating section at each end and a closed section in the middle. These cars can be operated from either end, and turn around by means of a simple switch at the end of the line. Additionally, there is a cable car from the defunct O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde line (No. 42) that is restored and operates on special occasions, thanks to a joint project of Market Street Railway volunteers and Muni crafts workers. There is also a restored but non-operational cable car from the defunct Sacramento & Clay line in Muni’s cable car fleet. How Cable Cars Work The Cable car fleet 1888-1893 1893-1902 1905-1908 1907-1921 1927-1936 1944-1947 1946-early 1960s 1960s-1982 1984-current 1984-current Full cable car fleet roster Destinations
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San Francisco Cable Cars

The San Francisco cable car system is the world’s last manually operated cable car system. An icon of San Francisco, the cable car system forms part of the intermodal urban transport network operated by the San Francisco Municipal Railway. Of the 23 lines established between 1873 and 1890, only three remain (one of which combines parts of two earlier lines): two routes from downtown near Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf, and a third route along California Street. While the cable cars are used to a certain extent by commuters, the vast majority of their 7 million annual passengers are tourists. They are among the most significant tourist attractions in the city, along with Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Fisherman’s Wharf. The cable cars are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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San Francisco Cable Cars

Those objections disappeared after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The quake and resulting fire destroyed the power houses and car barns of both the Cal Cable and the URR’s Powell Street lines, together with the 117 cable cars stored within them. The subsequent race to rebuild the city allowed the URR to replace most of its cable car lines with electric streetcar lines. At the same time the independent Geary Street line was replaced by a municipally owned electric streetcar line, the first line of the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni).
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San Francisco Cable Cars

There are 28 single ended cars in operation on the Powell lines and 12 double ended cars in operation on the California Street line. The cable cars are occasionally replaced with new or restored cars, with the old cars being moved to storage for later restoration. There are 2 cable cars in storage in the cable car museum / power house inside the garage, car numbers 19 and 42 which were used on the Sacramento-Clay and O’Farrell, Jones and Hyde Street lines, respectively.
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San Francisco Cable Cars

The cable cars are pulled by a cable running below the street, held by a grip that extends from the car through a slit in the street surface, between the rails. Each cable is 1.25 inches (3.2 cm) in diameter, running at a constant speed of 9.5 miles per hour (15.3 km/h), and driven by a 510 horsepower (380 kW) electric motor located in the central power house (see below), via a set of self-adjusting sheaves. Each cable has six steel strands, with each strand containing 19 wires, wrapped around a sisal rope core (to allow easier gripping). The cables are coated with a tar-like material which serves as a sacrificial lubricant – much like a pencil eraser erodes away rather than the paper. To start and stop the movement of the car, the gripman (see below) closes and opens the grip around the cable (similar to the clutch of a conventional car). The grip’s jaws exert a pressure of up to 30,000 pounds per square inch (210,000 kPa) on the cable.
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San Francisco Cable Cars

By 1979, the cable car system had become unsafe, and it needed to be closed for seven months for urgently needed repairs. A subsequent engineering evaluation concluded that it needed comprehensive rebuilding at a cost of $60 million. Mayor Dianne Feinstein took charge of the effort, and helped win federal funding for the bulk of the rebuilding job. In 1982 the cable car system was closed again for a complete rebuild. This involved the complete replacement of 69 city blocks’ worth of tracks and cable channels, the complete rebuilding of the car barn and powerhouse within the original outer brick walls, new propulsion equipment, and the repair or rebuild of 37 cable cars. The system reopened on June 21, 1984, in time to benefit from the publicity that accompanied San Francisco’s hosting of that year’s Democratic National Convention.

San Francisco Cable Cars

Published on Mar 21, 2017 | Under Car | By michael ellis
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