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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New Cable Car Safety Measures - 11-Aug-2015
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) issued a press release calling for new efforts to keep cable car personnel safe. This year two conductors have been seriously injured by careless drivers who passed their stopped cable cars while they were trying to help passengers get on and off safely.
These measures include increased police enforcement, do not pass signs on Powell Street cable cars, hand-held stop signs for conductors, a public safety campaign and "Developing a cable car collision reduction program to identify ways to reduce collisions involving cable cars."
According to California Vehicle Code Section 21756: "The driver of a vehicle overtaking any interurban electric or streetcar stopped or about to stop for the purpose of receiving or discharging any passenger shall stop the vehicle to the rear of the nearest running board or door of such car and thereupon remain standing until all passengers have boarded the car or upon alighting have reached a place of safety..." Drivers often ignore this rule.
The SFMTA with the support of the Market Street Railway wants to ban private vehicles from Powell Street between Ellis and Geary. Powell between Market and Ellis has been closed to autos since 1973. The two organizations would like to begin and 18-month pilot in November, 2015, but he Union Square Business Improvement District is opposed to the closure and especially does not want it to start in November, right before the holiday shopping season.
California Street Outage - 16-Jul-2015
The California Street line was down on 15 and 16-July-2015 because of mechanical problems.
Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest - 09-Jul-2015
Cable Car Fare Rises - 01-Jul-2015
The single ride fare on cable cars rose from six dollars to seven. I always recommend buying a pass.
Santiago Montoya - 06-April-2015
On 06-April-2015, conductor Santiago Montoya was hit and gravely injured by an SUV on Powell between Washington and Jackson Streets. He is suffering from a broken leg, ruptured internal organs, broken ribs and a punctured lung. He is alive, but in ICU at SF General Hospital.
Transit Workers Union Local 250A has started a Gofundme page for his family:
I made a contribution.
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.
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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-March-2015.
Copyright 1996-2015 by Joe Thompson. All rights reserved.
Last updated 01-October-2015