I want to use this site to share my knowledge about and interest in cable cars (also known as cable tramways). I want to keep it simple. I welcome input from any source, especially about cable cars in cities other than San Francisco. I hope to build this page up gradually as time permits. I welcome information, photographs, and suggestions.
Table of Contents
BART to OAK Preview/Opening - 21-November-2014
BART to OAK, the 3.2 mile automated people mover (APM) which shuttles passengers from the Coliseum/Oakland Airport BART Station to the Oakland Airport had a public preview on 21-November-2014 and opened for service the next day. The APM uses Doppelmayr's CABLE Liner Shuttle system. The CABLE Liner Shuttle uses an endless cable and an automatic grip in each car which allows the cars to stop and start at the stations. The Doolittle Maintenance Facility by the edge of the airport houses the powerhouse, which drives one cable to the Coliseum BART station and one to the airport station. The $6 one-way fare, coincidentally the same fare paid on San Francisco cable cars, is controversial.
Cal Cable Shutdown - 21-November-2014
California Street cable cars were shut down because a window washer fell 11 stories from the Kohl Building and landed on the roof of a moving automobile at California and Montgomery. The auto broke his fall, and the window washer survived. The driver was not hurt. The cable cars were blocked for a while by emergency vehicles.
The Return of Powell Street Car One - 16-November-2014
San Francisco Municipal Railway Powell Street cable car Number One returned to service in November. It had been built new, except for the roof, to commemorate the centennial of the cable car in 1973. Its buiilders tried to reproduce the earliest appearance of the Powell Street cars. Many of the features had been lost over the last 40 years. Now they have been restored. I have heard that it runs noisily, which is common until wooden trams loosen up in service, and that the distinctive signs on the front dash are locked, so the shop crew has to change them if the car is assigned to a different line.
Hyde Street Shutdown - 30-September-2014
The Powell-Hyde line was shut down "until further notice" because of issues with the cable.
Cal Cable Shutdown - 26-September-2014
California Street cable cars were shut down because of a fatal shootout at the corner of California and Battery. A high speed chase from Richmond via the San Rafael and Golden Gate bridges ended at that intersection when the suspect's car overturned. He began shooting at people and the police eventually shot him.
George Hilton, RIP - 04-August-2014
George W Hilton, economist and tranist historian, who wrote the most important book on the subject of cable cars, The Cable Car in America, has passed away.
Muni Sickout - 02-June-2014
Transit workers unhappy with a net pay cut offerred by management had a sickout on June 2 through 4. The cable cars were shut down Monday through Wednesday.
Wells Fargo Museum is Open - 16-May-2014
The Wells Fargo History Museum in San Francisco closed last August for renovation. It reopened on 28-March-2014. I was able to visit in May and enjoyed it immensely. The beautiful Abbott Downing stagecoach still sits in the front window, but much has changed. The skeleton stagecoach that people can sit in has moved downstairs. There are more interactive exhibits. I liked the telegraph key connected to a key in the Portland, Oregon museum. Nobody responded when I tried it.
Cable Car at Auction - 08-April-2014
I recently received an email from Eric Minoff of Bonhams, the auction house. He was researching an item from The Auction of the Estate of Dr Ralph W.E. Cox Jr, which will be held on 10-May-2014. Among the Ford Models AC, S and T Torpedo, the Silsby Steam Pumper, the Fifth Avenue Coach Company 1925 Yellow Coach Open-Top Double-Decker Bus, the 1925 American La France City Service Ladder Fire Truck and an "1890 Brill Street Car" was former California Street Cable Railroad car 11.
My wife says I don't have any place to put it, so I can't bid on it.
Updated - 31-May-2014
The car sold for $87,500. I hope it has found a good home.
Joe's Cable Car Last Day - 16-March-2014
Joe's Cable Car closed after 49 years of serving excellent hamburgers.
San Francisco History Expo #4 - 01-March-2014
We attended the fourth annual San Francisco History Expo at the Old Mint. There was a good crowd. There were some new exhibitors this year, including the Odd Fellows.
The Friends of the Cable Car Museum were kind enough to share some of their space with the group restoring Ocean Shore Railroad car 1409.
The Friends of the Cable Car Museum were in a new position, as were many other groups. I had a nice chat with Mike Phipps and Dom Holmgren, who spoke on Sunday about the Ocean Shore Railroad. The Friends' web site had been down for over a week, but it has since been fixed.
The Market Street Railway/San Francisco Railway Museum had a nice table. I had a good chat with young volunteers Dominic and Julian.
The following week, the Chronicle carried a story saying that the city was unhappy with the progress made by the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society in renovating and retrofitting the Mint and may turn it over to the California Historical Society.
Fare Gouging Proposal - 17-February-2014
Cable car riders are forced to pay six dollars, three times the regular Muni fare. Now the Municipal Transportation Agency has proposed raising the fare on Muni's historic electric streetcar line, the F-Market & Wharves, to three dollars or six dollars. This is a bad idea. Regular San Francisco people depend on the F line and they do not all have monthly passes.
2014 Chinese New Year Parade - 15-February-2014
Trini Whittaker, 2013 Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest champion, marched with other Muni operators in the Chinese New Year Parade. He rang a bell as he marched.
Joe's Cable Car to Close - 29-January-2014
A report on KPIX Channel 5 said that Joe Obegi is going to close Joe's Cable Car in March and retire. Coming after the closing of Caesar's Italian Restaurant and Westlake Joes, this was a shock.
Cable Cars Pulled Because of NFC Championship Game - 19-January-2014
Muni announced on 17-January-2014 that the cable cars and the F-line electric streetcars would be pulled off the streets at Noon on Sunday, 19-February-2014 because of the National Footbal Conference championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks, in Seattle. Worried that people celebrating a victory might damage the cars, Muni took the precaution of pulling them in and de-energizing the electric overhead on Market Street. The 49ers lost the game 23-17. I don't watch football much, but that was an exciting game.
President Barack Obama Visits - 25-November-2013
President Barack Obama visited the Chinatown Recreation Center across the street from the Cable Car Barn at Washington and Mason to give a speech on immigration reform. All three cable car lines were covered by buses until about 1:30pm. I was walking to lunch and noticed a bus laying over at California and Drumm.
Come Hear the San Francisco Cable Car Chorus - 03-November-2013
Sunday November 3: Come hear the barbershop harmonies of the SF Cable Car Chorus performing a whole bunch of old songs you know, and all of the verses you don't! Details at www.sfcablecarchorus.org.
Powell Street Cable Cars Shut Down - 17-October-2013
The discovery of a mysterious package in Union Square caused the Powell Street cable cars to stop running. Police told all businesses lining the square to use their back doors. The package proved to be harmless.
Angels Flight Derailment - 05-September-2013
One of the cars on Angels Flight derailed. No one was injured. The operator of Angels Flight blamed the derailment on an electrical interruption that caused the emergency brake to engage. Apparently the brake lifted the car off the rails.
Cal Cable Discovery - 08-August-2013
Crews digging up the street on California near Scott discovered a stretch of Cal Cable tracks and conduit.
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225 years ago - 1789
150 years ago - 1864
125 years ago - 1889
New York Giants record: 83-43, 1st place. Manager: James Mutrie. The Giants defeated the American Association champion Brooklyn team in the post season Temple Cup series.
100 years ago - 1914
New York Giants record: 84-70, 2nd place. Manager: John McGraw.
75 years ago - 1939
50 years ago - 1964
San Francisco Giants record: 90-72, 4th place. Manager: Alvin Dark.
25 years ago - 1989
San Francisco Giants record: 92-70, 1st place. Manager: Roger Craig. Beat the Cubs in an exciting playoff, but lost the earthquake-interrupted World Series to the Oakland Athletics.
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Last updated 01-December-2014