Cable Car Miscellany

by Joe Thompson

Where Should I Go from Here? Visit the Map

Horse Car
Horse Car - 175 Years

26-November-2007 marks the 175th birthday of the Horse Car. Read a new article on its history and an 11-March-1906 newspaper article about Michael Houlihan, who drove the URR's franchise-protecting horse car line on California Street
Horse Car



The Cable Railway Trust

American business in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries was characterized by attempts to control entire industries by forming patent trusts.

The Automotive Industry

In the automotive industry, which rose up as the cable railway industry was dying, the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers (ALAM) used a patent filed by George B Selden to try to control and profit from the growing auto industry. Selden, a lawyer, applied for a patent for a road vehicle propelled by a two-cycle gasoline engine in 1879. He repeatedly revised his application so it would remain pending until 1895, when other people were ready to begin building automobiles and Selden was ready to reap where he had not sown.

At first, no manufacturers would pay attention to Selden, so he assigned his patent to the Electric Vehicle Company, which joined with Oldsmobile and Packard to form the ALAM. These companies did not form the ALAM because they believed that the Selden Patent was valid, but because they saw it as a useful tool to create a monopolistic trust that would allow them to keep the market to themselves. The ALAM only granted licenses to conservative companies that stayed on the good side of its members. Several manufacturers who could not get licenses went out of business.

The ALAM refused to grant the Ford Motor Company, which had been founded in 1903, a license. Henry Ford continued to build cars and the ALAM sued for patent infringement. The case went on for years. In 1911, the United States Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the patent was valid, but that it only covered vehicles with two-cycle engines. Ford and all the other American manufacturers built cars with four-cycle engines, so the ALAM had very little left to enforce, and the American automobile industry moved ahead to become the largest in the world.

The Motion Picture Industry

The Edison (Film) Manufacturing Company controlled most of the American patents necessary for producing motion pictures. In 1907, a federal judge decided that one producer, the Selig Company, had used cameras that infringed on Edison's patents. Several producers who would have been affected by the ruling settled with Edison and formed the Motion Picture Patents Company (MPPC), generally referred to as "the Trust". The Trust was intended to pool their patents and control the production, distribution, and exhibition of movies. The Trust had a strangling influence on the development of the art of the motion picture, especially opposing the move from short films to more expensive features. By 1909, members of the Trust included Edison, Biograph, Essanay, Kalem, George Kleine, Lubin, Pathé Frères, Selig Polyscope, Vitagraph, Méliès Star, and Gaumont.

Some producers refused to go along with the trust, particularly William Fox of Fox Films, now 20th Century Fox, and Carl Laemmle, who formed the Independent Motion Picture Company (IMP). IMP was the earliest ancestor of Universal Films. IMP began producing films in Florida and Cuba to get away from Trust spies. One reason the industry settled in Hollywood was because it was as far away from the Trust's New York offices as one could get and still be in America. Fox and Laemelle fought in the courts and eventually the Trust attracted the attention of the federal government and its Sherman Anti-Trust Act. The Trust was seriously injured by the competition of independent studios and was finished off by an adverse court decision in 1917.

The Cable Railway Industry
Trust The Cable Railway Company published "Cable Railway Company's System of Traction Rail Ways for Cities and Towns" in 1881 to promote its wares.

"The ill-success of the undertaking (the Philadelphia Traction Company's cable installation) was not attributable to the system, but the result of little experience and indifferent engineering, combined with the "Patent Plague," which at this time continually diverted people from lines of approved practice to vague and untested modifications." -- J Bucknall Smith, A Treatise Upon Cable or Rope Traction. page 87.

The cable railway industry was damaged in many ways by a patent trust that went under several names.

Andrew S Hallidie and associates formed the Traction Railway Company in 1875. When Henry Casebolt and Asa Hovey built the Sutter Street Railway in 1877, they strove for novelty in the grip and powerhouse, but the Traction Railway Company sued them for infringing on Hallidie's patent for a dummy car with a grip extending into an underground conduit. The judged ruled that Hallidie's use up to that point had been an experiment, and that devices could not be patented until they were perfected. The Sutter Street company had to pay $1.00 damages.

When Leland Stanford and associates promoted the California Street Cable Railroad in 1878, the Traction Railway Company demanded $40,000.00 for a license. Stanford told his engineer, Henry Root, to go ahead and build without a license. The trust sued and Stanford was eventually forced to pay $30,000.00. Many of Root's innovations, especially a reinforced concrete conduit, were the basis of important patents.

Charles B Holmes of Chicago urged the San Francisco pioneers to make peace with each other and war on everyone else. On 14-Apr-1881, Hallidie's associates and the Sutter Street interests formed the Cable Railway Company, a patent trust which eventually grew to include the patents of almost all of the San Francisco pioneers, including Root's California Street and Market Street innovations. The Cable Railway Company established the Patent Cable Tramway Company in London, to control its patents in the United Kingdom and the British Empire.

"Originally in America, as in this country (Great Britain), the cable system was handicapped with exorbitant charges and claims for alleged patent rights, and which unquestionably largely contributed to the apparently high cost of construction." -- J Bucknall Smith, A Treatise Upon Cable or Rope Traction.

Cable Railway Company stock A Cable Railway Company stock certificate, issued on 03-August-1881 to Maurice Schmitt. His brother Joseph L Schmitt is listed as one of the directors of the company in the "Cable Railway Company's System of Traction Rail Ways for Cities and Towns" Thank you to Carl P Schmitt for sharing this certificate, which has been in his family since they purchased the stock. It is signed by Secretary CP Campbell and Vice President Robert F Morrow. Schmitt Family Collection. All Rights Reserved. (Very large image, but worth it ;0))

The Cable Railway Company did a poor job of enforcing the patents it controlled. Many systems were built without paying royalties to the trust, including the Philadelphia Traction Company and the New York and Brooklyn Bridge Railway.

"...it should be observed that numerous alleged improvements have from time to time been brought out, the bulk of which, however, appear so trivial, impractical, or old, that many are rather to be carefully avoided than observed." -- J Bucknall Smith, A Treatise Upon Cable or Rope Traction.

Many people made attempts to establish novelty and get around the Trust's patents. Most of these centered on minor modifications to grips and building inadequately reinforced conduits. The Philadelphia Traction Company did both, using the Low and Grim (really) top grip, which caused many operational problems, and a weak conduit, which squeezed shut when the ground froze.

In an effort to put teeth in the trust, Hallidie and others formed two companies, the National Cable Railway Company of New York and the Pacific Cable Railway of San Francisco. On 21-Oct-1885, the two companies created a joint agreement to pool patents and split the country in two. This would not be legal today. Pacific Cable controlled most of the country west of the Rockies, except for a few previous licenses already issued in cities like Chicago.

Many companies continued to build cable railways without using or paying for Trust-controlled patents. The Trust was hit by a severe legal setback in 1889, when a court ruled that Root's basic patent for the conduit was void because he had used it for two years before applying for a patent.

"Such practices can scarcely improve the system in question, nor enhance its popularity." -- J Bucknall Smith, A Treatise Upon Cable or Rope Traction. page 137.

Within a few years, the whole issue was moot because of the rise of the Sprague electric streetcar.

Go to top of page.


Non-Grip and Shallow Conduit Systems

Efforts to avoid patent royalties and to save money resulted in the building of a number of what I call non-grip and shallow conduit systems.

Non-Grip Sytems

Rasmussen conduit An example of a shallow Rasmussen conduit with a cable-carrying truck (Source: The Heckert System of Cable Railroads" From Manufacturer and Builder / Volume 20, Issue 12, December 1888).

Gripping and ungripping a cable causes it to stretch and to eventually become too thin to use and more prone to stranding and breakage. Because cables cost a great deal of money, a grip which did not grip was seen as being a good thing.

Before Andrew S Hallidie's successful implementation of a cable railway on the Clay Street Hill Railroad, Hallidie and others, including Henry Casebolt and Asa Hovey of the Sutter Street Railway, experimented with roller grips. A roller grip, as the name implies, allows the cable to run through the "grip" on rollers. Rather than having jaws close upon the cable, a roller grip uses brakes to stop the rollers; this action then imparts the motion of the cable to the car. Hallidie and the Sutter Street experimenters found that roller grips squeezed the cable harder than regular grips. In a short time, the cable was too thin to hold. Similar problems occurred on the New York and Brooklyn Bridge Railway, which put a roller grip designed by Colonel William H Paine into service and found that it did not grip the cable well enough to move trains from a standing start. Paine was forced to add gripping jaws, which led to a patent infringement suit from the Cable Railway Trust.

Some of the non-grip systems, like roller grips, used principles that sounded as if they should work, but didn't; others didn't even sound as if they should work. There were four major non-grip systems developed and tried during the cable railway era: the Johnson, Fairchild, Rasmussen, and Terry systems.

Wheaton patent/griper Milton Wheaton's patent 192314. The "griper." May, 2012 Picture of the Month.

Johnson patent/cog wheel Tom L Johson's patent 317,139 proposed replacing the "griper" with a cog wheel.

The Johnson Ladder Cable system was developed by Milton Wheaton, but was promoted by Cleveland politician and traction magnate Tom L Johnson. It used not one but two thin cables, running in parallel and connected by metal "rungs" every 6 inches. The conduit was only six inches deep.

Tom L Johnson Tom L Johnson, Mayor of Cleveland and traction magnate.

I have trouble picturing how the ladder cable could have gone around a curve. In the original proposal, the transit car's "grip" would be a prong which would reach down and grab a rung of the ladder. As implemented in Brooklyn, a cog wheel passed through the slot and its teeth engaged the rungs. Stopping the wheel caused the car to move. Unequal stretching of the two cables must have caused problems. After testing in Cleveland, the system was installed on Park Avenue in Brooklyn, NY in 1887. It did not work very well and the line reverted to horse traction.

Wheaton patent/ladder cable Wheaton's patent 192314. The ladder cable. No thumbnail.

Johnson patent/ladder cable/1 Tom L Johson's patent 317,139 used a different method to form the ladder. Johnson patent/ladder cable/2

Tom L Johnson held many transit-related patents, especially for fareboxes. He founded the Johnson Farebox Company, which produced the famous Type D. When Johnson was mayor of Cleveland, his city clerk was Peter Witt.

Recent Patents.

From The Street Railway Journal, July, 1885. Volume I, Number 9.

317,139. -- Cable railway mechanism -- T. L. Johnson, Cleveland, O.
317,140. -- Cable railway system -- T. L. Johnson, Cleveland, O.

The Fairchild Dual Cable system also used two cables, but in a more complicated way than the Johnson Ladder Cable. CB Fairchild, later publisher of the Street Railway Journal, developed a system in which heavy endless cable, much like a normal street railway cable, ran along the line on sheaves, and was driven by a stationary engine in a powerhouse. The sheaves turned by the heavy cable shared axles with sheaves which drove a lighter cable. The lighter cable passed over pulleys up into a car and turned a drum. Through a clutch, the drum turned driving gears which could move the car forward at the speed of the cable, forward at twice the speed of the cable, or backwards at half the speed of the cable. The ability to control speeds was an innovation. A major benefit of the system was the lack of wear on the heavier, more expensive cable.

I can see several potential problems. I'm not sure how well the heavier cable could have driven the lighter one. The test installation, on the grounds of an lunatic asylum (!) in Binghamton, NY apparently ran with a conduit for part of its length, but I don't see how the lighter cable could have risen out of the slot of a conduit and back down smoothly. Two lines could not have crossed each other. The line had to end in loops. It would be impossible, I think, to have a switch, and it would be very difficult to take a car out of service.

The test worked, but not well enough to lead to any other installations. It may have been replaced by a funicular.

Fairchild patent Fairchild's patent 300236. April, 2012 Picture of the Month.

Ivan Furlanis reports that the Sassi-Superga line, near Turin, Italy, was built as a cable-driven cog railway which used a system somewhat resembling Fairchild's. A cable ran along the side of the track and passed around two huge pulleys on the side of the "grip" cars. Through a gear train, the pulleys drove the four cog wheels that propelled the train. There was also a reverse gear. Trains of one to three cars were hauled on the electric interurban line from Turin to Sassi. They were then coupled ahead of the "grip" car and pushed up the hill to Superga. The grip car did not carry passengers. The Sassi-Superga line opened on 27-Apr-1884. On 24-Oct-1934 it was closed and replaced by an electrically driven rack tramway, which still runs today. It was considerably more successful than the Fairchild system. Thanks to Ivan for the details.

Rasmussen driving drum A Rasmussen driving drum with slots for the trucks. It was intended to be expandable to deal with stretching of the cable (Source: The Heckert System of Cable Railroads" From Manufacturer and Builder / Volume 20, Issue 12, December 1888). March, 2002 Picture of the Month.

The Rasmussen system received the most extensive tests of any non-grip system; it still didn't work. Charles W Rasmussen's (sometimes spelled Rasmusen) system used small two or four-wheeled trucks which were attached to the cable at about 6 foot intervals. The trucks ran on rails formed into the sides of the small conduit, at both the top and the bottom. The driving drum in the powerhouse had slots at suitable intervals for the trucks; this was simpler than the drivers and idlers with multiple wraps needed for regular cable traction. Curves were also simpler. The tracks in the conduit banked around the curves, allowing the trucks to ride around. The rolled iron conduit required an excavation only 8 inches deep. The company claimed it could be laid between the rails of a horse car line.

from Railroads.

From The Engineering News-Record, December 30, 1882.

The United States Cable Railway company of Chicago has been incorporated; capital, $1,000,000.

The Rasmussen Cable System.

From The American Railroad Journal, February, 1884. Volume LVII, Number 11.

The patents of this system are owned by the United States Cable Railway Company, Chicago, to whom letters of inquiry should be addressed. Charles W. Rasmussen is the patentee.

Space admits of scarcely more than the mere mention of the advantages claimed for it; advantages, by the way, which an examination of the model makes plain.

The Rasmussen cable system has no grip connecting the cars with the moving cable. It dispenses with the costly iron and concrete tunnel employed in other systems, having in place of this costly excavation, a small slotted iron tube measuring six by eight inches, more or less. This can be built directly to the cross ties of the track, and be flush with the surface of the road-bed. The use of such a tube is made possible by the fact that no fixed pulleys are required to support the cable, nor is there any grip to travel in the tube, but the cable is sustained by a series of two-wheeled trucks traveling upon rollers formed integral with the tube; and the attachment of the car to the constantly moving trucks is effected by means of moving arms projecting from the car through the slot of the tube, and readily controllable by the operator from his position on the front platform of the ordinary passenger car, so that the car can be stopped and started at pleasure. These arrangements make it obvious why a tunnel is dispensed with in the new system. The small tube described as taking its place can be laid directly upon the cross ties of ordinary horse-car tracks without interfering with the road-bed further than the removal of the central paving blocks. Friction on the traction cable is nil, because the arms of the car are caught by the cable-supporting trucks and not by the cable itself, so that whether the car moves at a lower rate of speed than the cable, or be at a standstill, still the cable can travel without friction. This obviously could not be the case were it passing through the jaws of a grip. Moreover, there are no stationary pulleys in the tube to constantly wear the cable. The cars can be gradually or instantly moved or started as desired, because the same movement by the operator which releases the cable also applies the brakes to the running wheels; and any speed is practicable. In case of there being an obstruction on the track, the car can be lifted therefrom, as the arms by which the car is connected with the moving cable are removable from the slot of the tube at any point in the roadway. As there are no fixed pulleys within the cable tube, it can be kept constantly clean by means of brushes or scrapers attached to the traveling cable. We are advised that the cost of introducing the Rasmussen is about one-fifth of the money expended on those systems already in operation. Two of the chief reasons of this economy are the saving, due to the absence of tunneling, and that the cars now in use as horse-cars are perfectly available, with inexpensive additions, to be run by the Rasmussen cable system.

All the apparatus on the car consists of two drums, one at each end, over which passes the flat endless chain, on wrhich are the three arms passing to the slot of the tube, as above described. The endless chain is regulated by a friction band passing over one side of each drum. Brakes are double acting, one movement braking the wheels of the car and controlling the friction band on the drum.

The Rasmussen Cable System.

From The American Railroad Journal, April, 1884. Volume LVIII, Number 1.

The Rasmussen Western Cable Railway Co., has been incorporated. The incorporators are W. C. Wachsmuth, M. A. Farr, E. L. Brewster. The capital stock is $1,000,000.

In the first experimental installation on the Chicago West Division Railway in 1886, the non-grip mechanism was a large cog wheel attached under the floor of a horse car. The cog wheel passed through the slot of the conduit and the teeth of the wheel engaged buttons attached to the trucks. A goose neck on the car's platform controlled a brake on the cog wheel. Loosening the brake would allow the wheel to rotate and the car to stop. Tightening the brake would stop the wheel and impart motion to the car. Hobart W McNeil made many changes in an effort to get the system to work.

Rasmussen endless belt on car A Rasmussen-equipped car with the endless belt or "chain pump" (Source: "New System of Cable Propulsion for Street Railways" From The American Engineer / Volume 7, Number 4, January 25, 1884). March, 2012 Picture of the Month.

Rasmussen patent Rasmusen's patent, Patent re10,602 was issued in 1883 and re-issued in 1885.

The cog wheel had not worked well in Chicago, so the second installation on two horse car lines in Newark, NJ in 1888-1889 tried an arm with four claw-like prongs which were to grab the trucks directly. The Newark installation was not a success. According to one account, the claws could grip the trucks, but had trouble letting go. Crews had to jump off the cars, find a telephone, call the powerhouse, and ask them to stop the cable.

Other problems included the fact that normal stretching of the cable made the distance between the trucks vary so that the slots on the driving wheel had trouble engaging the trucks and the buttons, even with a built-in adjusting mechanism. The cast iron trucks were brittle and frequently broke when grabbed by the claw. Sometimes the trucks would get off the tracks in the conduit and get jammed.

The installation was eventually taken over by William Heckert, who replaced the claw with a link belt under the car. It didn't work any better.

The Heckert System of Cable Railroads" describes the system after it was adopted by William Heckert.

J Bucknall Smith disparaged the Rasmussen system in his book A Treatise Upon Cable or Rope Traction:
"...it has been proposed to dispense with fixed cable supporting pulleys and mount the rope upon small trucks or trollies arranged to travel on rails provided within the slotted street tube. This device emanated from the desire to avoid inspection manholes in the streets, but the solution appears impracticable (because of the speed the truck wheels would have to rotate, wear & tear, and noise. Also, larger tubes would not be as strong.)."

from Notes and Items.

From The Street Railway Journal, March, 1887. Volume III, Number 5.

The Sioux City Cable Railway chose not to use the Rasmussen system.

Mr. H. W. McNeil, manager of
THE RASMUSSEN CABLE,
has succeeded in convincing the experts that he has got a good system, and as soon as the weather permits he will commence building a road 2 1/2 miles long in Sioux City, Iowa.

from General News.

From Electricity: a Popular Electrical Journal, April, 1884. Volume LVIII, Number 1.

Milwaukee, Wis. -- The Milwaukee Electric Street Railway line has been sold to the Milwaukee Street Railway Company (Villard syndicate) and the transfer completed. The line was projected in 1886 as a cable line, but owing to the failure of the Rasmussen system was made an electric. From the prominent part taken by John A. Hinsey in securing the franchise for the road it came to be known as the Hinsey line.

MODIFIED CABLE SYSTEMS.

From Street Railways: Their Construction, Operation and Maintenance, by CB Fairchild, 1892.

So far we have confined our description to the standard cable systems which use a vise or roller grip for transmitting power to the car. Other systems, however, have been devised and deserve a brief description. One of these, known as the "Ladder Cable System," was operated for some time in the city of Brooklyn, N. Y., but afterwards abandoned. The distinctive feature of this system was in the construction of the cable and in the car connection. The hauling cable was made of two wire ropes, each about three-fourths of an inch in diameter, and composed of six large wires one-fourth of an inch in diameter without a hemp core. These ropes were placed side by side, about an inch apart, and connected together every six or eight inches by steel or bronze clips, forming a ladder. This cable was mounted to run on split pulleys in a shallow conduit directly under the slot.

Underneath the car a sprocket wheel was hung, having suitable teeth, which, when lowered through the slot, engaged with the clips of the cable, and caused the wheel to revolve. To start the car a band brake was applied to the sprocket wheel, which checked its motion and caused the car to move with the cable. At the terminals and cable crossings the sprocket wheel could be readily lifted from the slot. The cable was driven in the ordinary manner, by solid drums having grooves or channels wide enough to receive the flat side of the cable.

Another system, known as the "Chain Pump Cable" was constructed on an extensive scale in the city of Newark, N. J., but was never put into service. This system employed a wire rope of ordinary size, having a wire core. Attached to this rope, every six or eight inches were metal collars or buttons, about three inches in diameter, securely held in place by being pressed on in halves and the parts riveted together and babbited. This rope thus equipped was mounted in a shallow conduit close to the slot, and was carried upon small two wheel trucks, about ten feet apart, to the axle of which it was securely attached, so that the trucks travelled with the cable, small tracks for the wheels being provided in the bottom of the conduit. The truck wheels were about six inches in diameter, mounted loose on six inch axles. The rope was made to travel slightly to one side of the slot, bringing the side of the button directly under the opening. Power was transmitted to the car by means of a sprocket wheel hung under the car, the arms of which engaged with the buttons through the slot. The car was started by means of a band brake, in about the same manner as described for the ladder cable system. In place of the sprocket wheel a revolving metal belt was afterward substituted. This belt was provided with arms which were designed to engage with the axles of the travelling trucks, the object being to dispense with the buttons and depend only upon the trucks to impart motion to the car. In this system the cable was driven by means of a single horizontal pulley, having chambers or pockets in the face of the rim of sufficient depth to receive the buttons and trucks. Around this driving pulley the cable made but one wrap, being driven by the contact of the buttons against the shoulder of the chamber. The proper tension was maintained by means of a tension carriage placed in a vault at the end of the line, the pulley of which was provided with chambers the same as the driving sheave, and was also mounted upon its car in a horizontal position. The curve pulleys were also provided with pockets. An attempt was also made during this experiment to avoid the use of curve pulleys, by placing the tracks in the conduit in a perpendicular position on the side of the conduit, with spiral approaches, so that the trucks would lead the rope around the curve.

The third modification, known as the "Twin Cable System," was tried on a short experimental line in the city of Binghamton, N. Y., and was operated successfully for about two years, the grades on the line being over twelve per cent. By this method two cables are operated side by side, one being a rope of ordinary size, and the other a small rope only one-half inch or less in diameter. The large rope was driven in the ordinary manner, and the small or secondary rope received its motion and power by means of its frictional contact with the same curve and carrying pulleys upon which the main cable travelled. The terminals of the line were necessarily constructed with a loop. Power was transmitted to the car by means of the small rope which was led up through the slot over a loose pulley mounted under the car. Two thin guide pulleys were provided which revolved with one edge through the slot and so protected the cable from chafing against the side of the slot, and also conducted it back to its place in the conduit. The car was started and stopped by means of a band brake on the middle pulley, thus avoiding the wear due to the grip in the ordinary systems. Only a shallow conduit was required.

This system has been further improved by introducing a train of differential gear with friction clutches between the cable pulley and the car axles, by means of which the car can be run twice as fast as the cable, or be run at half speed in the opposite direction. In practice the car is designed to have varying speeds in both directions. It is run at cable speed or double speed, and half speed backwards, at the will of the driver.

from MODIFIED CABLE SYSTEMS.

From Street Railways: Their Construction, Operation and Maintenance, by CB Fairchild, 1892.

So far we have confined our description to the standard cable systems which use a vise or roller grip for transmitting power to the car. Other systems, however, have been devised and deserve a brief description. One of these, known as the "Ladder Cable System," was operated for some time in the city of Brooklyn, N. Y., but afterwards abandoned. The distinctive feature of this system was in the construction of the cable and in the car connection. The hauling cable was made of two wire ropes, each about three-fourths of an inch in diameter, and composed of six large wires one-fourth of an inch in diameter without a hemp core. These ropes were placed side by side, about an inch apart, and connected together every six or eight inches by steel or bronze clips, forming a ladder. This cable was mounted to run on split pulleys in a shallow conduit directly under the slot.

Underneath the car a sprocket wheel was hung, having suitable teeth, which, when lowered through the slot, engaged with the clips of the cable, and caused the wheel to revolve. To start the car a band brake was applied to the sprocket wheel, which checked its motion and caused the car to move with the cable. At the terminals and cable crossings the sprocket wheel could be readily lifted from the slot. The cable was driven in the ordinary manner, by solid drums having grooves or channels wide enough to receive the flat side of the cable.

Another system, known as the "Chain Pump Cable" was constructed on an extensive scale in the city of Newark, N. J., but was never put into service. This system employed a wire rope of ordinary size, having a wire core. Attached to this rope, every six or eight inches were metal collars or buttons, about three inches in diameter, securely held in place by being pressed on in halves and the parts riveted together and babbited. This rope thus equipped was mounted in a shallow conduit close to the slot, and was carried upon small two wheel trucks, about ten feet apart, to the axle of which it was securely attached, so that the trucks travelled with the cable, small tracks for the wheels being provided in the bottom of the conduit. The truck wheels were about six inches in diameter, mounted loose on six inch axles. The rope was made to travel slightly to one side of the slot, bringing the side of the button directly under the opening. Power was transmitted to the car by means of a sprocket wheel hung under the car, the arms of which engaged with the buttons through the slot. The car was started by means of a band brake, in about the same manner as described for the ladder cable system. In place of the sprocket wheel a revolving metal belt was afterward substituted. This belt was provided with arms which were designed to engage with the axles of the travelling trucks, the object being to dispense with the buttons and depend only upon the trucks to impart motion to the car. In this system the cable was driven by means of a single horizontal pulley, having chambers or pockets in the face of the rim of sufficient depth to receive the buttons and trucks. Around this driving pulley the cable made but one wrap, being driven by the contact of the buttons against the shoulder of the chamber. The proper tension was maintained by means of a tension carriage placed in a vault at the end of the line, the pulley of which was provided with chambers the same as the driving sheave, and was also mounted upon its car in a horizontal position. The curve pulleys were also provided with pockets. An attempt was also made during this experiment to avoid the use of curve pulleys, by placing the tracks in the conduit in a perpendicular position on the side of the conduit, with spiral approaches, so that the trucks would lead the rope around the curve.

The third modification, known as the "Twin Cable System," was tried on a short experimental line in the city of Binghamton, N. Y., and was operated successfully for about two years, the grades on the line being over twelve per cent. By this method two cables are operated side by side, one being a rope of ordinary size, and the other a small rope only one-half inch or less in diameter. The large rope was driven in the ordinary manner, and the small or secondary rope received its motion and power by means of its frictional contact with the same curve and carrying pulleys upon which the main cable travelled. The terminals of the line were necessarily constructed with a loop. Power was transmitted to the car by means of the small rope which was led up through the slot over a loose pulley mounted under the car. Two thin guide pulleys were provided which revolved with one edge through the slot and so protected the cable from chafing against the side of the slot, and also conducted it back to its place in the conduit. The car was started and stopped by means of a band brake on the middle pulley, thus avoiding the wear due to the grip in the ordinary systems. Only a shallow conduit was required.

This system has been further improved by introducing a train of differential gear with friction clutches between the cable pulley and the car axles, by means of which the car can be run twice as fast as the cable, or be run at half speed in the opposite direction. In practice the car is designed to have varying speeds in both directions. It is run at cable speed or double speed, and half speed backwards, at the will of the driver.

Unlike the other non-grip systems, the system created by Samuel H Terry of Guthrie, Missouri used a plain cable. The Terry system resembled a roller grip in that the operator tightened rollers to make the car move. The Terry system differed from a roller grip in that a torpedo-shaped casing surrounded the cable. Inside the casing were a set of rollers; the cable ran freely through the rollers when the car was stopped. When the operator turned a wheel to stop the rollers, they were pulled by the cable into the narrow front end of the torpedo-shaped casing. This caused the cable to pull the car along. I wonder if they had trouble releasing the cable so the car could stop. The only implementation, on the Union Cable Railway in Kansas City, MO ran for one day in 1889.

A common feature of many of the non-grips and some conventional grips was that they were meant to be easily attached to existing horse cars, and that their conduits could be quickly installed with existing tracks.

Rasmussen conduit An overhead view of Rasmussen conduit installed between existing horse car tracks (Source: The Heckert System of Cable Railroads" From Manufacturer and Builder / Volume 20, Issue 12, December 1888).

Shallow Conduit Systems

A system that could use a shallower conduit than a standard cable railway could not help but save money in construction costs.

The California Street Cable Railway used a conduit that was an average of 22 inches deep on its original main line. Because the line was 8,800 feet long and the conduit was an average of 20 inches wide (my estimate), 1,290,667 cubic yards of earth had to be excavated. If the conduit had been only 18 inches deep, only 1,056,000 cubic yards of earth would have had to have been excavated, a savings of over 230,000 cubic yards. When the line had to be dug with pick and shovel, that was an important consideration.

The most successful shallow conduit grip was the Vogel and Whelan bottom grip, designed by Charles Vogel and Frank Whelan.

The Vogel and Whelan grip was installed on the Butte City Street Railroad in Butte, Montana in 1889 and on two lines of the West Chicago Street Railroad. The most distinctive feature of the Vogel and Whelan was the way it went into full release at each stop (ie: The grip dropped the cable rather than letting it run freely through the grip). When the gripman wanted to start the car again, he would push a foot pedal which would lower the grip to the level of the cable, and then pull the lever back to tighten the jaws. Springs would then raise the grip to the proper level for running. The ability to pick up the rope at any point was an important safety feature.

The Vogel and Whelan grip was intended to work in a bolted iron conduit only 10 inches deep.

The grip worked well in both Butte and Chicago, but probably came to the industry too late to be widely used.

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Excerpt from Part 1, Chapter 8 of Nostromo by Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad's novel Nostromo, A Tale of the Seaboard is an adventure story which takes place in Sulaco, a city in Costaguana, a fictitious South American republic.


Those of us whom business or curiosity took to Sulaco in these years before the first advent of the railway can remember the steadying effect of the San Tome mine upon the life of that remote province. The outward appearances had not changed then as they have changed since, as I am told, with cable cars running along the streets of the Constitution, and carriage roads far into the country, to Rincon and other villages, where the foreign merchants and the ricos generally have their modern villas, and a vast railway goods-yard by the harbour, which has a quayside, a long range of warehouses, and quite serious, organized labour troubles of its own.


Joseph Conrad's Nostromo was published in 1904. The full text is available at Bibliomania.

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Excerpts from Poor's Directory of Railway Officials, 1887

P. 231

Broadway and Piedmont R.R. Co. -- Walter Blair, Pres., Samuel Howe, Sec., Montgomery Howe, Supt. -- GENERAL OFFICE, Oakland, Cal.

P. 231

California Street (Cable) Railway Co. operates 2.25 miles of road, owns 25 cars and 25 dummies. Directors, Chas. Mayne, Robert Watt, A. Borel, C. W. Randall, Jerome Lincoln, San Francisco, Cal -- C. Mayne, Pres., Robert Watt, Vice-Pres., T. W. Hinchman, Sec., A. Borel & Co., Treas., James Harris, Supt., etc. -- GENERAL OFFICE, California and Larkin Sts., San Francisco, Cal.

P. 231

Central R.R. Co. operates 6 miles of road, owns 292 horses, 55 cars, and 6 other vehicles. Directors, W. A. Aldrich, S. C. Bigelow, A. J. Gunnison, T. R. Hayes, Chas. Main, W. R. Morton, G. W. Prescott, Jos. Rosenberg, E. E. Kentfiled -- Chas. Main, Pres., S. C. Bigelow, Vice-Pres., C. P. Le Breton, Sec., A. J. Gunnison, Treas., J. F. Clark, Gen. Supt.& P. A., A. A. Reilly, Mast Tr. Rep., C. Gustafson, Mast. Car Rep. -- GENERAL OFFICE, 32 Turk St., San Francisco, Cal.

P. 233

City R.R. Co., San Francisco, Cal., operates 5.5 miles of road, owns 290 horses, 72 cars, and 6 other vehicles. Directors, Robert B. Woodward, Geo. E. Raum, Jas. H. Goodman, F. H. Woods, D. Melone, E. F. Hutchinson, Drury Melone, C. P. Tinkham, San Francisco, Cal, R. B. Woodward, Pres., Geo. E. Raum, Vice-Pres., M. E. Wills, Sec., J. H. Goodman, Treas., F. O. Landgrave, Mast. Car Rep., Wm. Woodward, Supt., & Pur. Agt. & Mast. Tr. Rep., -- GENERAL OFFICE, 1804 Mission St., San Francisco, Cal.

P. 233

Clay Street Hill (Cable) R.R. Co. operates 1 mile (double track) of road, and owns 11 cars. Directors, Joseph Britton, Henry L. Davis, James Moffit, Charles Mayne, Henry Steinneyger, J. J. Rey, C. P. Campbell, San Francisco, Cal -- Joseph Britton, Pres. & Supt., Charles Mayne, Vice-Pres., Chas. P. Campbell, Sec., Henry L. Davis, Treas., C. P. Campbell, Pur. Agt., -- GENERAL OFFICE, Clay & Leavenworth Sts., San Francisco, Cal.

P. 378 Revised statement

Clay Street Hill (Cable) R.R. Co. The director's name Henry Steinneyger should be Henry Steinnegger

P. 233

Geary Street, Park and Ocean (Cable) R.R. Co. operates 5 miles of road, and owns 15 cars. Daniel Meyer, Pres., R. F. Morrow, Vice-Pres., John M. Syne, Sec., S. C. Bigelow, Treas., H. D. Morton, Supt., -- GENERAL OFFICE, San Francisco, Cal.

P. 233

Market Street (Cable) Railway Co. operates 18.5 miles of double track road, owns 86 horses, 2 dummy engines, 182 cars and 12 other vehicles. Directors, Leland Stanford, Chas. F. Crocker, Timothy Hopkins, N. T. Smith, J. L. Willcut, San Francisco, Cal -- Leland Stanford, Pres., Chas. F. Crocker, Vice-Pres., J. L. Willcut, Sec., N. T. Smith, Treas., H. D. Morton, Supt.& Pur. Agt.. -- GENERAL OFFICE, Fourth & Townsend Sts., San Francisco, Cal.

P. 233

North Beach and Mission R.R. Co. operates 8.5 miles of road, owns 850 horses and 74 cars. Directors, J. R. Spring, J. T. Boyd, Jerome Lincoln, Wm. Alvord, H. D. Coggswell, J. C. Wilmerding, Albert Meyer, F. H. Woods, San Francisco, Cal. -- Albert Meyer, Pres., J. T. Boyd, Vice-Pres., H. W. Hawthorne, Sec., Wm. Alvord, Treas., M. Skelly, Supt., & Pur. Agt. -- GENERAL OFFICE, Fourth & Louisiana Sts., San Francisco, Cal.

P. 378 Revised statement

North Beach and Mission R.R. Co. operates 8.5 miles of road, owns 850 horses and 74 cars. Directors, J. R. Spring, J. T. Boyd, Jerome Lincoln, Wm. Alvord, H. D. Coggswell, J. C. Wilmerding, Albert Meyer, F. H. Woods, San Francisco, Cal. -- Albert Meyer, Pres., J. T. Boyd, Vice-Pres., H. W. Hawthorne, Sec., Wm. Alvord, Treas., M. Skelly, Supt., & Pur. Agt. -- GENERAL OFFICE, Fourth & Louisa Sts., San Francisco, Cal.

P. 233

Oakland R.R. Co. owns 100 horses, 2 dummies and 25 cars. -- J. S. Emery, Pres., A. Doble, Vice-Pres. & Pur. Agt., H. H. Towns, Sec., First National Bank, Treas. Gy. Loring, Supt. -- GENERAL OFFICE, 921 Broadway, Oakland, Cal.

P. 233

Ocean Beach Ry. operates 2 miles of road. Directors, Leland Stanford, Chas. F. Crocker, Timothy Hopkins, N. T. Smith, J. L. Willcut, San Francisco, Cal -- Leland Stanford, Pres., Chas. F. Crocker, Vice-Pres., J. L. Willcut, Sec., N. T. Smith, Treas., H. D. Morton, Supt.. -- PRINCIPAL OFFICE, 4th & Townsend Sts., San Francisco, Cal.

P. 233

Omnibus R.R. and Cable Co. operates 8.5 miles of road, and owns 395 horses and 57 cars. Directors, Daniel Stein, Gustav Sutro, C. D. O'Sullivan, Eugene Le Roy, E. Hull, San Francisco, Cal -- Gustav Sutro, Pres., Daniel Stein, Vice-Pres., G. Ruegg, Sec., M. M. Martin, Supt.& P. A., Wm. Barry, Mast Tr. Rep., M. M. Martin, Mast. Car Rep. -- PRINCIPAL OFFICE, 727 Howard St., San Francisco, Cal.

P. 233

Park and Ocean R.R.. owns 4.62 miles of road. Directors, Chas. F. Crocker, Ariel Lathrop, Timothy Hopkins, N. T. Smith, J. L. Willcut, San Francisco, Cal -- Chas. F. Crocker, Pres., Timothy Hopkins, Vice-Pres., J. L. Willcut, Sec., N. T. Smith, Treas., H. D. Morton, Supt.. -- PRINCIPAL OFFICE, 4th & Townsend Sts., San Francisco, Cal.

P. 233

Portreo and Bay View R.R. Co. operates 3.22 miles of road, owns 45 horses, 10 cars and 3 other vehicles. Directors, Leland Stanford, Chas. F. Crocker, W. V. Huntington, N. T. Smith, J. L. Willcut, San Francisco, Cal -- Leland Stanford, Pres., Chas. F. Crocker, Vice-Pres., J. L. Willcut, Sec., N. T. Smith, Treas., H. O. Rogers, Supt. & Pur. Agt.. -- GENERAL OFFICE, 4th & Townsend Sts., San Francisco, Cal.

P. 233

Sutter Street R.R. Co. operates 5.5 miles of road, owns 135 horses, 50 horse-cars and 20 cable-cars. Directors, R. F. Morrow, J. L. Schmitt, J. Naphthaly, F. J. Low, R. G. Byxbee, San Francisco, Cal -- R. F. Morrow, Pres., J. L. Schmitt, Vice-Pres., A. K. Stevens, Sec., M. Schmitt, Treas., Jas. McCord, Supt., R. Price, Mast. Tr. Rep., H. Willy, Mast. Car Rep.. -- GENERAL OFFICE, Fourth & Townsend Sts., San Francisco, Cal.

P. 378 Revised statement

Sutter Street R.R. Co. operates 5.5 miles of road, owns 185 horses, 50 horse-cars and 20 cable-cars. Directors, R. F. Morrow, J. L. Schmitt, J. Naphthaly, F. J. Low, R. G. Byxbee, San Francisco, Cal -- R. F. Morrow, Pres., J. L. Schmitt, Vice-Pres., A. K. Stevens, Sec., M. Schmitt, Treas., John McCord, Supt., R. Price, Mast. Tr. Rep., H. Willy, Mast. Car Rep.. -- GENERAL OFFICE, Polk & Sutter Sts., San Francisco, Cal.

P. 233

Telegraph Hill Street (Cable) R.R. Co. operates 0.59 miles of road and owns 2 cars. Gustave Sutro, Pres. & Treas., Charles D. Werner, Sec., Supt. & P.A. -- GENERAL OFFICE, Greenwich & Kearney Sts., San Francisco, Cal.

P. 233

Second Street Cable R.R. Co. operates 1.6 miles of road, owns 6 dummies and 6 cars. Directors, W. S. Newhall, San Francisco, Cal; Jas. McLaughlin, Jesse Yarnell, H. C. Witmer, Edward A. Hall, Los Angeles, Cal. -- Edward A. Hall, Pres., Jas. McLaughlin, Vice-Pres., H. C. Witmer, Sec., Jesse Yarnell, Treas., Edward A. Hall, Supt., F. F. Field, Pur. Agt.. -- GENERAL OFFICE, 33 South Spring St., Los Angeles, Cal.

P. 378 Revised statement

Second Street Cable R.R. Co. operates 1.6 miles of road, owns 6 dummies and 6 cars. Directors, Jas. McLaughlin, A. I. Hall, D. W. Field, Chas. McLaughlin, Los Angeles, Cal. -- Jas. McLaughlin, Pres., H. W. Davis, Sec., Treas., & Supt., E. H. Hutchinson, Asst. Supt. -- GENERAL OFFICE, Second and Figueroa Sts., Los Angeles, Cal.

P. 234

Temple Street Cable Ry. (in progress.) Length of road, 3 miles, owns 6 dummy engines and 6 cars. Directors, Walter S. Maxwell, Victory Beaudry, Prudent Beaudry, Julius Lyons, Thomas Stovell, Ralph Rogers, E. A. Hall, Octavius Morgan, John Milner. -- Walter S. Maxwell, Pres., P. Beaudry, Vice-Pres., Octavius Morgan, Sec., John Milner, Treas., O. Morgan, Supt., Pur. Agt, etc., Los Angeles, Cal. -- PRINCIPAL OFFICE, Los Angeles, Cal.

P. 378 Revised statement

Temple Street Cable Ry. operates 1.75 miles of road, owns 6 dummy engines and 6 cars. Directors, W. S. Maxwell, Victory Beaudry, Prudent Beaudry, Julius Lyons, Thomas Stovell, Ralph Rogers, E. A. Hall, Octavius Morgan, John Milner. -- P. Beaudry, Pres., O. Morgan, Vice-Pres., F. W. Wood, Sec. & Man., John Millner, Treas., Los Angeles, Cal. -- PRINCIPAL OFFICE, Los Angeles, Cal.

P. 151 (This section describes the steam railroad portion of the company - JT)

677 St. Louis Cable and Western Railway Co. (Steam road). -- St. Louis to Florisant, 16 miles. Cable Division -- In St. Louis, 3 miles -- total, 19 miles.

1 E. F. ClaypoolPresidentIndianapolis, Ind.
2 F. M. ColburnVice-PresidentSt. Louis, Mo.
3 M. A. DowlingSecretaryIndianapolis, Ind.
4 J. A. HansenTreasurerIndianapolis, Ind.
5 S. H. CobbAuditorIndianapolis, Ind.

General office, St. Louis, Mo. Branch office, Indianapolis, Ind.

P. 237 (Hallidie-type cable cars never operated in Peoria - JT)

Central Horse and Cable Ry. Co. operates 4 miles of road, owns 19 horses and 9 cars -- H. R. Woodward, Pres., E. Callender, Sec. & Treas., John Strong, Supt. & Pur. A., A. J. Cleveland, Cashier.. -- GENERAL OFFICE, Peoria, Ill.

P. 237

Chicago City (Cable) Ry. Co. operates 104.35 miles of road, owns 1,659 horses, 729 cars, 3 dummies, 22 snow-ploughs and 5 sweepers. DirectorsS. B. Cobb, D. E. Pearsons, S. W. Allerton, C. L. Hutchinson, E. M. Phelps, D. G. Hamilton, C. B. Holmes, Chicago, Ill. -- C. B. Holmes, Pres., Supt. & P. A., S. B. Cobb, Vice-Pres., John Strong, Supt. & Pur. A., H. H. Windsor, Sec., T. C. Pennington, Treas., C. J. Luce, Mast Tr Rep., J. B. Wright, Mast Car Rep.. -- GENERAL OFFICE, 2010 State St., Chicago, Ill.

P. 237

Chicago West Division R.R. Co. operates 46.5 miles (all double track), owns 3,977 horses and 750 cars. DirectorsB. H. Campbell, Wm. H. Bradley, S. B. Cobb, Jerome Beecher, Henry Field, Wm. H. Ryder, J. R. Jones, Chicago, Ill. -- J. R. Jones, Pres., B. H. Campbell, Vice-Pres., Geo. L. Webb, Sec. & Treas., De Witt C. Cregler, Supt., E. A. Blodgett, Pur. Agt., Martin Connell, Mast. Tr. Rep., B. McDevitt, Mast. Car Rep.. -- GENERAL OFFICE, 59 State St., Chicago, Ill.

P. 237

Chicago Horse and Dummy R.R. Austin Doyle, Supt.. -- Borden Block, Chicago, Ill. (Isn't that a great name? - JT)

P. 237

North Chicago City Railway Co. operates 37 miles (reduced to single track) of road, owns 1,790 horses and 316 cars. DirectorsV. C. Turner, Jacob Rehm, Hiram Crawford, W. C. Gandy, Geo. L. Dunlap, Chicago, Ill. -- V. C. Turner, Pres. & Supt., Jacob Rehm, Vice-Pres., Hiram Crawford, Sec. & Treas., Aug. W. Wright, Supt., Tr. & Const., F. L. Threedy, Asst. Supt., John M. Roach, Pur. Agt., J. M. Miller, Mast Car Rep.. -- GENERAL OFFICE, 441 N. Clark St., Chicago, Ill.

P. 247

*Citizens' Ry. Co. operates 21 miles of road, owns 225 horses, 200 mules, and 68 cars. -- J. S. Walsh, Pres., Geo. Kahnfold, Sec. & Treas., Thomas Gartland, Supt., J. Vock, Mast. Car Rep.. -- GENERAL OFFICE, 3,820 Cass Ave., St. Louis, Mo.

P. 247

Grand Avenue Ry. Co. operates 6.75 miles of road, owns 75 horses, 26 cars and 4 other vehicles. Directors C. F. Morse, J. S. Ford, Walton H. Holmes, C. F. Holmes, Jas. T. Thornton, J. L. Loose, Daniel B. Holmes, Victor B. Buck O. P. Dickinson, Kansas City, Mo.; C. E. Cotting, Boston, Mass.; P. A. Chase, Linn (sic -- JT), Mass. -- W. H. Holmes, Pres., B. V. Buck, Vice-Pres., D. B. Holmes, Sec. & Atty., O. P. Dickinson, Treas., C. F. Holmes, Supt., Knight & Bontecon, Engs., Thos. J. Fry, Aud., Thos. Barrett, Mast. Car Rep.. -- GENERAL OFFICE, Kansas City, Mo.

P. 248

Kansas City Cable Ry. Co. operates 3 miles of double-track road and owns 20 cars. Directors Wm. J. Smith, N. J. Hall, W. H. Lucas, J. I. Thornton, Robert Gillham, Kansas City, Mo.; P. A. Chase, Lynn, Mass. -- Wm. J. Smith, Pres. & Treas., P. A. Chase, Vice-Pres., W. H. Lucas,Treas., Edw. J. Lawless, Supt., etc. -- GENERAL OFFICE, Ninth and Washington Sts., Kansas City, Mo.

P. 248

Metropolitan Street Ry. Co. (formerly the Corrigan Consolidated Ry. Co.) operates 11.714 miles of road, double-track, owns 500 horses, 94 cars and 12 other vehicles. -- C. F. Morse, Pres., R. J. McCarty, Sec., Armours Bank, Treas., E. J. Lawless, Supt.. -- GENERAL OFFICE, Security Building, Kansas City, Mo.

P. 247

*Missouri RR. Co. operates 1.5 miles of road, owns 400 mules, and 70 cars. -- P. C. Maffet, Pres., W. D. Henry, Sec., C. M. Allen, Supt.. -- GENERAL OFFICE, 1,827 Market St., St. Louis, Mo.

P. 247

*People's City RR. Co. operates 8 miles of road, owns 280 horses, and 58 cars. -- Chas. Green, Pres., John Mahoney, Sec. & Treas., P. Shea, Supt.. -- GENERAL OFFICE, 1,810 Park Ave., St. Louis, Mo.

P. 249

Essex Pass. Ry. operates 31 miles of road, owns 702 horses and 128 cars. -- S. S. Battin, Pres., F. T. Kirk, Sec. & Treas., H. F. Totten, Supt.. -- GENERAL OFFICE, 786 Broad St., Newark, N. J.

P. 249

Newark and Irvington RR. Co. operates 3.5 miles of road, owns 132 horses and 20 cars. -- S. S. Battin, Pres., W. L. Mulford, Sec., H. F. Totten, Supt.. -- GENERAL OFFICE, 786 Broad St., Newark, N. J.

P. 249

North Hudson County Ry. Co. operates 12.75 miles of horse and 1 1/4 miles of elevated road, double-track, owns 620 horses and 116 cars and also 10 cable-cars. -- John H. Bonn, Pres., F. J. Mallory, Sec., F. Michel, Treas., Nicholas Goelz, Supt.. -- GENERAL OFFICE, Hoboken, N. J.

P. 249 (This section describes the cable railroad portion of the company - JT)

677 St. Louis Cable and Western Ry. Co. operates 16 miles of road, owns 49 cable-cars, 200 horsepower, limit power of engines, 600 horses. -- C. Peper, Pres., R. B. Jennings, Sec. & Treas.. -- General office, St. Louis, Mo.

P. 378 Revised statement

St. Louis Cable and Western Ry. Co. operates 19.2 miles of road, owns 72 cable-cars, 200 horsepower, limit power of engines, 600 horses. -- Dwight Tredway, Pres., A de Figueirdo, Gen. Man. & Sec.. Manning Tredway, Treas.. -- General office, N. E. cor. Franklin and Channing Aves., St. Louis, Mo.

P. 249

Atlantic Avenue R.R. Co. operates 7 miles of road, having an aggregate mileage of 33.08 miles, the main line of which is on Atlantic Avenue. Of the mileage owned, 9.75 miles, from Flatbush Avenue, Brookly, to Jamaica, L. I., is leased to the Long Island R.R. Co. I also owns 938 horses, 251 cars and 39 other vehicles. Directors, William Richardson, Frederick A. Schroeder, Newberry H. Frost, Wm. A. Read, James S. Suydam, Benjamin F. Tracy, Samuel W. Bowne, James H. Kirby, Henry Meyer, William F. Redmond, Augustus Storrs, John Q. Jenkins, W. J. Richardson, Brooklyn, N. Y. -- Wm. Richardson, Pres., Wm. J. Richardson, Sec., N. H. Frost, Treas. -- GENERAL OFFICE, Atlantic and Third Aves., Brooklyn, N. Y.

P. 250

Broadway and Seventh Avenue R.R. owns 8.32 miles and leases the Broadway Surface R.R., 2.51 miles -- total miles operated, 10.83; owns 2,242 horses and 227 cars. Directors, John H. Murphy, John J. Bradley, Chas. Banks, Wm. B. Dinsmore, Bernard M. Ewing, Chas. F. Frothingham, Sol. Mehrback, Thos. J. O'Donohue, W. H. Rockwell, Thos. F. Ryan, Henry Thompson, New York, , N. Y. Wm. L. Elkins, Peter A. B. Widener, Philadelphia, Pa. -- Henry Thompson, Pres., Thos. F. Ryan, Sec. & Treas., Henry A. Newell, Supt. -- GENERAL OFFICE, 761 Seventh Ave. New York, N. Y.

P. 254

Third Avenue R.R. operates 14 miles of road, owns 2,190 horses and 360 cars. Directors, Wm. Remsen, Henry Hart, Lewis Lyon, Robert G. Remsen, John E. Parsons, M. G. Lane, Edward Lauternach, Wm. M Prichard, Samuel Hall, Sylvanus S. Riker, Robert W. Tailor, Sol. Mehrback, New York, N. Y. -- Lewis Lyon, Pres., Henry Hart, Vice Pres., Alfred Lazarus, Sec., John Beaver, Treas., John H. Robertson, Supt. -- GENERAL OFFICE, 1,119 Third Ave., New York, N. Y.

P. 254

Washington Street and State Asylum R.R. Co. operates 3.5 miles of road, 23 horses and 12 cars. Leased to George W. Stow, and operated by him in connection with the Park Avenue R.R., which he also leases. Directors, George Whitney, R. H. Meagley, F. W. Whitney, Geo. F. Lyon, Warren N. Bennett, Ira J. Meagley, Edward K. Clark, R. Hooper, Isaiah S. Mathews, Allen Perkins, William R. Osborn, Erastus Ross, Frederick E. Ross, Binghamton, N. Y. -- Robert H. Meagley, Pres., Geo. Whitney, Vice Pres., Frederick E. Ross, Treas., I. J. Meagley, Sec., Henry C. Merrick, Eng., Wm. Whitney, Supt. -- GENERAL OFFICE, 216 Front St., Binghamton, N. Y.

P. 257

* Philadelphia Traction R.R. co. operates 100 miles of road, owns 2,550 horses and 595 cars. Directors, William H. Kemble, P. A. B. Widener, Wm. L. Elkins, Thos. Dolan, Jas. McManes, James B. Altemus, Philadelphia, Pa. -- Wm. H. Kemble, Pres., P. A. B. Widener, 1st Vice-Pres., Wm. L. Elkins, 2nd Vice-Pres., D. W. Dickson, Sec. & Treas. -- GENERAL OFFICE, Forty-first and Haverford Sts., Philadelphia, Pa.

P. 258

Union R. R. Co. operates 53.855 miles of road, owns 2,190 horses, owns 1,850 horses and 272 cars. Directors, Jesse Metcalf, D. F. Longstreet, B. A. Jackson, Wm. H. Hopkins, Chas. D. Owen, Lucian Sharpe, S. O. Metcalf, Providence, R. I. -- Jesse Metcalf, Pres., D. F. Longstreet, Vice-Pres. & Gen. Man, C. A. Babcock, Sec. & Treas., A. T. Potter, Mast Tr. Rep., Geo. O. Kane, Mast Car Rep.. -- GENERAL OFFICE, Providence, R. I.

P. 1228-1229 (1890 edition)

Mt. Adams and Eden Park Inclined RR Co. Main line (cable, 8; horse, 8), 16 miles; gauge, 5 ft. 2 1/4 in.; rail, 42 Ibs.; owns 140 horses and 130 cars. Chartered in 1873. Operations for year ending September 30, 1888. -- Earnings, $221,068.58'; expenses, $130,475.76 -- net earnings, $90,593.82. Financial Statement, September 30, 1888. -- Common stock. $1,000,000; preferred stock, $7,150; 1st mtge. bonds. $250,000; 2d mtge. bonds, $124,000; consolidated mtge. 5 per cent. 20-year bonds, due March, 1906, $372,000 ; loan account, $170,000; bills payable, $3B,000; accounts payable, $4,269.71; profit and loss, $36,634.43 -- total, $2,000,054.14. Contra; Construction, etc., $860,427.15; real estate, $320,065.57; equipment, $96,628.94; other investments, $624,513.48; sinking fund, $23,450; City of Cincinnati, $10,403.67; cash and other assets, $36,565.33 -- total, $2,000,054.14. Directors: Jas. E. Mooney, S.M. Lemont, Jno. E. Bell, Jno. Kilgour, Joseph Rogers, Jas. R. Murdock, Geo. B. Kerper, Cincinnati, O. Officers: Jno. Kilgour, Pres.; Jas. A. Collins, Sec. & Treas.; Jno. C. Weaver, Supt. GENERAL OFFICE, Cincinnati, O.

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Excerpts From Directory of Street Railways in the United States and Canada, 1888

CABLE RAILWAYS

B

BINGHAMTON, N. Y. -- Washington St. & State Asylum R. R. Co.

C

CHICAGO, ILL. -- Chicago City Ry. Co.
CINCINNATI, O. -- Mt. Adams & Eden Park Inclined R. R. Co.
Mount Auburn Cable Ry. Co.
Price Hill Inclined Plane R. R. Co.

G

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. -- Valley City St. Cable & Ry. Co.

H

HOBOKEN, N. J. -- No. Hudson Co. Ry. Co. Elevated.

K

KANSAS CITY, MO. -- Kansas City Cable Ry. Co.
Corrigan Consolidated St. Ry. Co.
Grand Avenue Railway

L

LOS ANGELES, CAL. -- Second Street Cable Ry. Co.
Los Angeles Cable Ry. Co.
Temple St. Cable Ry. Co.

N

NEW YORK, N. Y. -- Third Ave. R. R. Line on Tenth ave.

O

OAKLAND, CAL. -- Oakland Cable Ry. Co.
OMAHA, NEB. -- Cable Tramway Co. of Omaha

P

PEORIA, ILL. -- Central Horse & Cable & R. R. Co.
PHILADELPHIA, PA. -- Phila. Traction Co.

S

SAN FRANCISCO, CAL. -- California Street Cable R. R. Co.
Clay Street Hill R. R. Co.
Geary Street Park and Ocean R. R. Co.
Market Street Cable Ry. Co.
Omnibus R. R. and Cable Co.
Sutter Street R. R. Co.
Telegraph Hill R. R. Co.
ST. LOUIS, MO. -- St Louis Cable and Western Ry. Co.

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Cable-Driven Transit in Alaska

Creek Street The funicular in Ketchikan is on Creek Street. My daughter took this photo. All rights reserved. July, 2008.

In July, 2008 we took a cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back (Thank Heaven). Read more about the cruise in my blog:
Day 1: Sail from San Francisco
Day 2: At sea -- Rough weather
Day 3: At Sea
Day 4: Ketchikan
Day 5: Juneau
Day 6: Skagway
Day 7: Tracy Arm Fjord
Day 8: At sea
Day 9: Victoria, British Columbia
Day 10: At sea
Day 11: San Francisco at last

I wrote about our ride on the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad, a famous narrow gauge (three foot) line in Skagway on my Park Trains and Tourist Trains site.

After two rough days at sea we arrived at Ketchikan. Everyone was anxious to get off the ship. I have read that it rains 300 days a year in Ketchikan. This was one of those days. We found three other cruise ships in port. We visited a gift shop near the pier, then moved on to look for a store that the naturalist had recommended: Ketchicandy. We picked up some chocolate-covered Oreos, which were as good as he had said they would be. We moved on to the Wells Fargo branch to patronize the atm, then proceeded to Creek Street. Beyond the funicular, the street reminded me of Sausalito during a flood.

Funicular The funicular has a single car. July, 2008.

The Cape Fox Hill funicular allows visitors to a hotel and restaurant to rise 200 feet from Creek Street. I can't find any information about the builder. The funicular has a single car with a counterweight.

Car near top The funicular car near the upper station. July, 2008.

Juneau South Franklin Street The Mount Roberts Tramway crosses South Franklin Street in Juneau. July, 2008.

The next day, we arrived in Juneau. We were at the AJ pier, so we had to take a shuttle into town. It was $1.50 for unlimited rides. If it had not been raining, we could have walked. The shuttle let us off next to the station of the Mount Roberts Tramway. It is an aerial tramway that was built in 1996. It is owned and operated by Goldbelt, Incorporated, a corporation that manages Native Alaskan assets.

The first time we went up, it was very foggy, so we couldn't see much. The ride was exciting, about 3000 feet, almost straight up. We visited the Nature Center and they bought some books that will be useful for reading to students. We saw Lady Baltimore, a bald eagle who had been shot and can't be returned to the wild. We were impressed by her size.

We walked up the trail a bit, and our daughter got to walk on snow, but it was slippery, so we turned back.

We took the tram back down and took a walk into Juneau. The Red Dog Saloon was too much of a tourist trap. We worked our way up to the state capitol building, had lunch, and stopped at the Alaska Hotel Bar for a beer. It was a nice dark, old-fashioned place. My wife felt that Juneau seemed more relaxed than Sacramento. I visited the atm again and I think had two legislators behind me.

Mount Roberts cars Eagle, left, goes down and Raven, right, goes up. July, 2008.

The tramway has two cars, Raven and Eagle. One ascends and one descends on an endless rope. A conductor sits on each car and talks about Juneau and Mount Roberts.

Mount Roberts car Eagle descends towards the station. July, 2008.

Mount Roberts cable In the lower station, a display of the Swiss-manufactured cables used by the tramway. July, 2008.

Mount Roberts cable anchorage At the top, the cable anchorage. July, 2008.

Later we took another ride up the tram and could see as far as the ship.

Dawn Princess When the fog cleared a bit, we took a second ride and we could see our ship, the Dawn Princess. July, 2008.

No Bears A sign at the upper station. I didn't see any bears riding the tram. July, 2008.

Instructions and Warnings "Instructions and Warnings" sign at the upper station. July, 2008.

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