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.
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San Francisco History Expo #5 - 01-March-2015
We attended the fifth annual San Francisco History Expo at the Old Mint. There was a good crowd. I didn't see the Wells Fargo exhibit.
The Market Street Railway had a nice exhibit with lots of transit tokens.
The Friends of the Cable Car Museum had an extensive exhibit. I had a nice chat with Mike Phipps, who was going to speak about the Fillmore Hill Counterbalance. Jose Godoy gave us his custom-made buttons.
Many of the exhibits had an emphasis on the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition.
I'm grateful to my wife for coming along and patiently putting up with my hobbies.
President Obama Visits San Francisco - 13-February-2015
President Barack Obama visited San Francisco on Febraury 12 and 13. He stayed at the Fairmont Hotel, a traditional spot for Democratic Presidents, so the California Street cable car line was shut down. The replacement buses and the 1 California were rerouted on Sutter Street. I saw him fly by Friday morning on his way to deliver an address on cyber security at Stanford. In the afternoon, he attended a fund raiser on Russian Hill, which shut down the Hyde Street cable car.
Big Rainstorm - 11-December-2014
The heaviest rainstorm in many years hit the Bay Area on the night of December 10 and all day on the 11th. Most schools in the Bay Area were closed on Thursday. The authorities encouraged people to work from home if they could. The San Francisco MTA decided that the cable cars should stay in the barn. BART's new cable-driven automated people mover, BART to OAK, was down for most of the day because of floating junk on the tracks.
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.
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225 years ago - 1790
150 years ago - 1865
125 years ago - 1890
New York Giants record: 63-68, 6th place. Manager: James Mutrie.
100 years ago - 1915
New York Giants record: 69-83, 8th place. Manager: John McGraw.
75 years ago - 1940
New York Giants record: 72-80, 6th place. Manager: Bill Terry.
50 years ago - 1965
San Francisco Giants record: 95-67, 2nd place. Manager: Herman Franks. The Giants began a string of five straight second place finishes. They had the best record in baseball over that period, but never won a pennant.
25 years ago - 1990
San Francisco Giants record: 85-77, 3rd place. Manager: Roger Craig.
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If you have comments, suggestions, or kvetches email me at email@example.com
This page has been referenced times since 01-April-1998.
Copyright 1996-2015 by Joe Thompson. All rights reserved.
Last updated 01-April-2015