Cable Car Chronology

April 18, 1906 - December 19, 1957

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  • April 18, 1906 - All cable car service suspended because of the Earthquake and Fire. Despite the earthquake, a Geary Street, Park and Ocean cable train operated toward "down town" and Market Street until it was stopped by soldiers, who wouldn't let the cable train reach the Market and Kearny turntable. The next day the cable train was burned in place.

  • After April 18, 1906 - To allow for the shortening of the Powell-Jackson cable to Steiner Street United Railroads constructed a new cable sheave wheel pit at Jackson and Steiner Streets and built new 3-rail dual gauge cable-electric trackage on Jackson Street from Fillmore to Steiner. (W.D. Chamberlin Notes 1903-1944, courtesy of Bob Townley)

  • June 14, 1906 - California Street Cable Railroad's Superintendent J.W. Harris announces that he expects to have service on its California line from Kearny Street (instead of Market Street) to Presidio Avenue by August 1. (See August 4, 1906)

  • June 14, 1906 - Geary Street, Park & Ocean Railroad announces that the top 60-feet of its 125-foot earthquake damaged Geary and Buchanan Streets powerhouse chimney has been removed, and the company soon would start testing the cable mechanism. Since the line previously had converted its steam plant from coal to oil, the chimney height could be safely reduced

  • June 21, 1906 - Geary Street, Park & Ocean Railroad resumes service, the first cable car line to do so after the Earthquake and Fire. As the McAllister Street cable was no longer running, the Geary Street cars operated only as far as Fifth Avenue and Fulton Street, instead of to the Chutes at Twelfth Avenue via Fulton Street. Cars at the new outer terminal were reversed by horses. That day, the company operated twenty cars out of a total of something over thirty cars it owned.

  • August 17, 1906 - Cal Cable restores service on the California Street line using a single open dummy No. 24 that had survived the Earthquake & Fire in an isolated small barn near Central Avenue. No. 24 withdrawn following the arrival of first four "new" 30' 3" double-ended "California" style cars. (Thanks to Grant Ute for the date)

  • December 28, 1906 - Cal Cable restores service on the O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde line and the Jones Street Shuttle. Jones Street Shuttle used until 1908 single open dummy No. 24, converted to a bottom grip.

  • 1907 - In preparation restoration of a now shortened Castro cable (18th to 26th Streets) new ten-foot sheave wheel pits were constructed at 18th and Castro and Jersey and Castro and at Fillmore and Sacramento for the shortened Sacramento-Clay line (to Fillmore only). Since the Sacramento-Clay was now to run inbound east of Larkin on Clay Street and outbound on Sacramento new pull curves were installed at Larkin and Sacramento, Larkin and Clay Streets and on The Embarcadero (then East Street). Cost of these and related projects was about $60,000.(W.D. Chamberlin Notes 1903-1944, courtesy of Bob Townley)

  • January 30, 1907 - United Railroads restores service on Powell Street from Market to Jackson. Cars are then towed west on Jackson, by horses to Mason Street, where they are turned 90-degrees on the intersection’s turntable, after which they are towed south on Mason Street using the northbound track, switching to the southbound track at a crossover near Washington Street. At Washington the horses are unhitched and cable cars then coast eastbound on that street a point near Powell Street, where with the aid of a dip in the track they pick up the cable for their trip to Market Street.

  • March 1, 1907 - United Railroads restored full Powell-Mason route from Market to Bay Street and a shortened (to Steiner Street) Powell-Jackson line, now called Washington-Jackson.

  • August 29, 1907 - United Railroads restores Castro cable, 18th to 26th Street only. Post- Earthquake electric line cut back from 20th Street to 18th Street, the only time ever a cable car replaced electric cars.

  • 1908 - Many changes in sheave pits and pulleys for the Sacramento-Clay line were made in the vicinity of the Washington-Mason power house. Two new larger 14-foot winder wheels were installed at the powerhouse to increase the speed of the Sacramento-Clay to 9 mph. A 29’6" turntable and pit were installed in the Washington-Mason car house yard. A new powerhouse was constructed on Pacific west of Polk Street to power the now truncated Pacific Avenue cable (Polk to Divisadero). (W.D. Chamberlin Notes 1903-1944, courtesy of Bob Townley)

  • June 8, 1908 - United Railroads restores Sacramento-Clay line. Route reversed east of Larkin to run inbound on Clay and outbound on Sacramento. Line shortened to Fillmore Street.

  • December 1908 - United Railroads restores cable service to Pacific Avenue from Polk to Divisadero.

  • May 5, 1912 - Geary Street, Park & Ocean Railroad line closes.

  • 1914 - Because of a new Municipal streetcar line on Stockton Street, Sacramento-Clay pullout trackage on Stockton between Washington and Sacramento was removed. A new switch was installed at Clay and Powell for pullouts. Sheave pits in the affected area were rebuilt and elaborate pulley changes were made on Mason Street for a second cable in the channel. Former McAllister powerhouse 100-foot high, 770 ton brick chimney was dynamited down. (W.D. Chamberlin Notes 1903-1944, courtesy of Bob Townley)

  • 1918 - Extensive changes were made in the foundations of the Washington-Mason power house’s winding machinery that included a new concrete foundation and general realignment of the large pinion shaft, bearings, etc. (W.D. Chamberlin Notes 1903-1944, courtesy of Bob Townley)

  • 1919 - New 14-foot 15,000 pound cast iron winding wheel is installed at Washington-Mason power house replacing broken one.(W.D. Chamberlin Notes 1903-1944, courtesy of Bob Townley)

  • First Half 1920s - Majority ownership of the California Street Cable Railroad is acquired by the Coleman family. S. Waldo Coleman becomes Cal Cable’s principal. (The 1895 still-standing Queen Anne house at the corner of California and Franklin Streets was the Coleman residence.)

  • April 1, 1921- Market Street Railway takes over the properties of the United Railroads because of reorganization and foreclosure proceedings.

  • July 1, 1925- Market Street Railway Castro cable car no. 2 was fitted with a cable grip and brakes operated by air. The company felt that air grips could displace the present "unwieldy manually operated grip, give more space and convenience for passengers, and materially lighten the work of gripmen." A second Castro cable car No. 6 received the air grip and braking system on July 16, 1925.

  • December 16, 1926 - After operating more than 29, 323 miles with an air grip and braking system Market Street Railway Castro Cable Car No. 6 is restored back to having solely a mechanical grip and braking system. The next day Castro cable car No. 2 was also restored after 31, 973 miles as an "air" car. The eighteen-month "air" experiment was a failure. During terminal lay-over periods, often the air pressure would be lost. The air tanks had to be recharged by dispatching from the carbarn a truck with an additional air supply or the cable car had to revert to manual operation. Further, gripmen tended not to like the new system feeling that they did not have the same level of control over their car as with the mechanical system. There was also some question over cable wear.

  • November 1, 1927 -- The City of San Francisco publishes San Francisco’s Street Railway Problem by Delos F. Wilcox, Ph.D. The report notes cable car line annual profitably (1926) as follows (values shown are based on revenues in relationship to operating expenses): Market Street Railway cable lines, Castro loss $20,474 (notes, "is an extension No. 8 streetcar"), Pacific Avenue loss $24,884 (notes, "valueless for public service"), Sacramento-Clay profit $11,090, Powell-Jackson profit $49,400, Powell-Mason $41,009; Cal Cable operating profit declined from $106,771 in 1922 to $9,858 in 1926 to deficit of $40, 778 for the first half of 1927, largely due to personal injury payments. Wages one-third less than Muni.

  • August 27, 1929 – The 48-year-old Pacific Avenue cable line, affectionately known to the district served as "The Kiddies Delight," is officially legislated out of business when the Board of Supervisors votes to abandon the line. The Market Street Railway loses about $28,000 on the line annually. From "Our Past." Laura Perkins. SF Chronicle, Friday, August 27, 2004.

  • November 17, 1929 – Last day of service on the Market Street Railway’s Pacific Avenue cable. Also, this marked the end of San Francisco cable train (an open grip car coupled to a closed trailer) service.

  • 1938 - A new 6,500 pound winder wheel shaft is installed at Washington-Mason to replace a broken shaft that had been in continuous use for about 50-years. The job required 99 hours of continuous work. (W.D. Chamberlin Notes 1903-1944, courtesy of Bob Townley)

  • March, 1941 - The Bay and Taylor turntable is relocated from the middle of the intersection to a new location (today’s), 25-30 feet south on Taylor Street, clear of Bay Street. This change was made to accommodate Golden Gate Bridge vehicular traffic on Bay Street. Cable Car service was not disrupted. A new 19-foot turntable was installed. The job took about five months from November 1940 until March 1941 and cost about $16,000. (W.D. Chamberlin Notes 1903-1944, courtesy of Bob Townley)

  • April 5, 1941 – Last day of service on the Market Street Railway’s Castro cable. This marked the end of standard gauge (4'8½") cable car service.

  • February 14, 1942 - Despite the efforts of a Save the Cable Car League, Market Street Railway discontinues Sacramento-Clay line.

  • February 15, 1942 – Last day of service on the Market Street Railway’s Sacramento-Clay cable. This ended the last remnant of the Clay Street Hill Railroad.

  • The Paramount movie I Love a Soldier is shot largely in San Francisco featuring Washington-Jackson cable cars Nos. 517 and 518 with Barry Fitzgerald playing the role of a curmudgeonly gripman.

  • 1944 - Cal Cable replaces "O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde Streets" signage on cars Nos. 51 and 55 with "O’Farrell, Jones & Market Streets." No future rerouting was intended by the change of signage. Cars returned to their standard signage.

  • Fall, 1944 - The California Street Cable Railroad Company announces that it "will replace its cable cars with motor buses as soon they become available after the war."
    Source: An article in November 1954 Western Railroader by Henry C. Collins.

  • September 29, 1944 - At 5:00 a.m., the City and County of San Francisco took over the Market Street Railway and its two Powell Street cable lines, leaving Cal Cable as the City’s last privately owned transit system.

  • Mid-1940's - Cal Cable, San Francisco’s last privately owned transit company is acquired by its new majority owner and president Dr. J.O. Haman and 124 minor stockholders, including company employees.

  • February 1946 - Muni begins painting former Market Street Railway Powell Street cable cars in its colors. Cars 503 and 510 were the only cars to receive the Muni’s blue and yellow colors.

  • February 1946 - Muni introduced its green and cream paint scheme on Powell Street cable car No. 519. Note, the unusual Washington-Jackson dash sign colors with green lettering instead of a green background.

  • January 27, 1947 - Mayor Roger Lapham in his annual message to the Board of Supervisors declared, "the city should get rid of its cable cars as soon as possible." Lapham was referring to City owned Powell Street lines.

  • March 4, 1947 - The San Francisco Federation of the Arts and the California Spring Blossom and Wildflower Association held a joint meeting attended by leaders of twenty-seven women’s civic groups. Rallied by the impassioned pleas of Friedel Klussmann, they formed the "Citizens’ Committee to Save the Cable Cars." Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg were later to write, "It was destined to wield the terror and authority once possessed by San Francisco’s Vigilantes of 1851."

  • June 11, 1947 - California Street Cable Railroad Jones Street dinky No. 61 was shipped to Hollywood (as part of a loan agreement with Paramount Studios) for the forthcoming movie "I Remember Mama."

  • The Bay Area Electric Railway Association had a fan trip on the cable cars.

  • November 4, 1947 - Measure 10, compelling the City to maintain and operate the Powell Street cable car system, passed overwhelmingly - 166,989 "yes" to 51,457 "no." The efforts of Friedel Klussmann's "Citizens' Committee to Save the Cable Cars" had much to do with the decision, but more than 400 other organizations in the City campaigned for the cable cars too. Also, passed were propositions providing for a $20,000,000 loan to modernize the antiquated Municipal Railway. Included in the modernization program were monies to re-rail the Powell cable lines, and for a new top for the famous turntable at Powell & Market Streets that is to be built at the Geneva Avenue car barn (Elkton Shops). The Citizens' Committee declared these two items require immediate attention. The cable cars they felt are in good shape.

  • January 1948 - Cal Cable says it will quit service January 15 unless its employees accept a wage cut. As reported at the time this was considered unlikely. Deficits are too high. Cal Cable's three lines, California, O'Farrell, Jones & Hyde and the Jones Street Shuttle, were not protected by the November '47 referendum; only the two Muni lines, Powell-Mason and Washington-Jackson. The City it was reported was considering operating replacement bus service if Cal Cable shuts down (it did not). However, poor labor relations plague the company.

  • February 1948 - Cal Cable's future is still unsettled. In January the company gave two dates - January 15 and January 31 - that it would have to quit by because it was unable to meet new wage demands. However, Cal Cable did not apply to the State Railroad Commission for permission to abandon. The City is pledged to run buses on Cal Cable's three lines if it stops running, but will not use its facilities to break a strike. Muni has been trying out (most unsuccessfully) its new double engine Twin Coaches on the California Street hill, just in case. Meanwhile, Cal Cable has added another tripper to the California line's afternoon rush, reducing headways to 2˝ minutes and installed a new cable on the Hyde Street line. Therefore it is rumored that Cal Cable's real goal is to either sell or lease its operations to the City.

  • February 2, 1948 - A one-day strike of Cal Cable's employees ends when the union accepts an hourly wage cut from $1.36 to $1.27 after the company agreed to pay a higher rate if it could. The parties also agreed to postpone the resolution of their dispute until voters acted on the city's proposals to buy the line. O'Farrell, Jones & Hyde car No. 50 first car to return to service.

  • May 1948 - A $200,000 bond issue is to be presented to the voters in June to finance the purchase Cal Cable. Following vociferous protests of Friedel Klussmann's "Citizens' Committee to Save the Cable Cars," Mayor Robinson has given "assurance" that the cable cars will run "for years to come," except the six-block Jones Street shuttle that will be converted to buses. However, the City Planning Commission is anxious to remove the cables from the O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde line to permit inauguration of a one-way street program. Both City hired transit consulting firms, DeLeuw and Colonel Bingham, favored retention of Cal Cable’s lines, particularly California Street, saying "they perform a useful service." The mayor proposes abandonment of the No. 55 Sacramento Street Muni bus line that parallels the California Street cable at a one-block distance, believing the cable line would then break even. The Emporium department store has purchased former Market Street Railway (Ex-URR) Sacramento-Clay cable car No.16; it has been placed on the store roof as a part of a future museum of transportation history.

  • June 1, 1948 - At the city election a majority (128,210 to 91,171) approved the $200,000 bond issue to buy Cal Cable, but the measure fai1ed for lack of the legal two-thirds vote. Subsequently, it was announced Cal Cable will remain a private operation with all present cable lines to be continued indefinitely.

  • August 1948 - W. W. Chapin, new president of Cal Cable, announced that his company would cease accepting transfers at three important points from Muni lines - Presidio Avenue, Van Ness Avenue and Powell Street. Chapin claimed passengers transferring from Muni lines so crowd Cal Cable's cable cars that they leave no room for cash customers. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission informed Chapin his action is illegal and it was subsequently stopped. A considerable furore has arisen over the fact that Chapin is also President of the City Planning Commission, which has the responsibility of charting the city's transit plans.

  • September 1948 - Powell Street cable car No. 514 is placed on display as part of the San Francisco exhibit at the California State Fair, Sacramento.

  • September 1, 1949 - A strike by 130 AFL carmen shuts down Cal Cable. The issue is platform pay. The union wants pay raised from $1.48 an hour to $1.50 to match Muni while the company, facing an operating loss of $50,000, has said it is cutting pay to $1.36 an hour. The strike affected 30,000 daily Cal Cable riders. To handle riders diverted from the California Street cable line Muni rerouted some buses of the Sutter No. 4 line onto the Sacramento street line at Divisadero, from there to Market street. Nine coaches were added to Muni's Sacramento Street service. Muni provided no extra service for diverted O'Farrell, Jones & Hyde riders.

  • September 26, 1949 - Cal Cable begins "doing business again in their same old slots for the first time since September 1" after a strike settlement.

  • November 8, 1949 - Ballot measure passes directing the City purchase Cal Cable for not more than $150,000.

  • 1950 - Powell cable car No. 524 is shipped to Los Angeles for the 1950 Shriners convention, representing San Francisco’s Islam Temple; where it was towed down that city’s Broadway on its own trucks using Los Angles Transit Lines’ narrow gauge trackage as part of the Shriners parade.

  • May 1, 1950 - Public Utilities Commission Manager James Turner announced that cable car operation on Powell Street is suspended from May 1 to May 14, 1950, inclusive for the installation of a new turntable at Powell and Market Streets. The new turntable replaced the original Ferries and & Cliff House Railway (Powell Street Railway) turntable that has been in use since March 28, 1888. Monday, May 15, 1950, service was resumed on both the Washington-Jackson and Powell-Mason cables. During the 15-day suspension, buses covered both Powell lines.

  • June 1950 – Cal Cable files a suit against the City of San Francisco, seeking financial relief from removing and then replacing its tracks at Hyde Street and Broadway in connection with Broadway tunnel construction. The company objected to closing down the line for six months during construction and sought to have all costs it incurs because of the project of the paid for by the City.

  • August 1950 - Cal Cable's O'Farrell, Jones and Hyde cable car service north of California Street is replaced by shuttle buses (San Mateo-Burlingame Transit, Ford buses) to Chestnut Street only because of Broadway Tunnel construction.

  • August 21, 1950 - The San Francisco Grand Jury reported that during the calendar year 1949 Muni’s Powell Street cable cars lost $145,089. The railway "is powerless to eliminate the loss, as the voters mandated continuance of the Municipal cable cars." Heavy capital expenditures for track and "other essentials" will be required to keep cable cars in operation. The operating costs, per vehicle service hour, were trolley buses $4.72, motor buses $5.15 streetcars (two-man) $ 8.76 and cable cars $9.52.

  • September 17, 1950 - "Service on Line No. 59 (Powell-Mason cable car) will be discontinued on account of construction work on the Broadway Tunnel. A partial substitution of service will be instituted by motor coaches to connect with Line No. 60 (Washington-Jackson cable car) at Powell and Washington Streets." Muni "NOTICE TO PUBLIC" dated September 13, 1950.

  • January 1951 – Cable Car 501 (renumbered 28 in 1973, and retired January 2004) is completely rebuilt with only the clerestory roof retained. Curve sides replace flat passenger compartment sides. Experimental axle-generators installed to generate electricity for lighting. Shown to be not feasible, all cars continue to have batteries for lighting.

  • January 21, 1951 – The Bay Area Electric Railroaders' Association operated a Muni streetcar fantrip over the B and C (Geary Street lines), N (Judah), and J (Church) routes using its single-truck Birney safety car, formerly No. 62 of the Sacramento Northern Railway. The little car was the first Birney to ever operate in San Francisco and the first Birney ever to cross a cable car line – Geary & Jones Streets Cal Cable’s O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde line and Geary & Powell Streets Muni’s Powell-Mason and Washington-Jackson cables.

  • January 29, 1951- Cal Cable ceases Hyde Street Shuttle buses as Muni opens new bus line 80-Leavenworth. Muni's new 80-line closely paralleled the still operating inner portion of the Cal Cable's O'Farrell, Jones and Hyde cable line. Cal Cable claims Muni is trying to put it out of business.

  • February 1951- Mayor Robinson urged Muni to rehabilitate its Powell Street cable lines, including rebuilding cars, tracks, and the power plant. $152,500 received from the sale of the abandoned former Market Street Railway streetcar carbarn at Turk and Fillmore was tentatively earmarked for this purpose.

  • February 19, 1951- Cal Cable, as authorized by the Public Utilities Commission, increased its fares from 10 cents to 15 cents with two tokens for 25 cents or nine for $1. Even with this increase company claims it would lose money (1951), unless Muni paid 5 cents for each Muni transfer Cal Cable received. Cal Cable received 348,900 passengers per year (1950) more from Muni than Muni received from them. Cal Cable lost $19,998 in 1948, $50,474 in 1949 and $51,311 in 1950. The 15-cents fare was expected to reduce the company's 1951 loss to $10,963. The average daily patronage in 1950 was 16,437.

  • June 21-28, 1951 - A Powell Street cable car rolled along Atlantic City, New Jersey’s famous boardwalk, as part of San Francisco’s unsuccessful effort to obtain Lions Club’s 1952 convention (the 1952 convention was held in Mexico City). "Equipped with rubber tires and drawn by a jeep, the cable car was in constant use, furnishing free rides to all who could get on board." The cable car had traveled across the country on a railroad flat car. The display was complete with a gripman, and conductor who issued special transfers proclaiming "San Francisco -- Convention City."

  • July 31, 1951- Last day of service on Cal Cable because Lloyds of London canceled the company’s insurance after a waitress, injured in an accident, won a $140,000 judgment. Cal Cable’s president Dr. John Haman, a physician, stated service could only resume if insurance was obtained (it was not).

  • October 28, 1951- "Cable Car Line No. 59 (Powell-Mason) will resume service along the regular route to Bay and Taylor, near Fisherman’s Wharf. Construction of the cable-car-track overpass at the Broadway Tunnel, which necessitated discontinuance of cable car service, will be ready for operation by the above date. Muni "NOTICE TO PUBLIC" dated October 19, 1951.

  • January 7, 1952 - The City purchases for $138, 785.57 the Cal Cable.

  • January 13, 1952 - The City reopens all three former Cal Cable lines, along with its barn and powerhouse at California and Hyde. "Until further notice, cable car service on California Street will be from Market Street to Hyde Street only" since the cable between Hyde and Presidio Avenue had to be replaced. Trucks towed California cable cars to and from Hyde and Van Ness Avenue where they used a crossover. Muni operated shuttle motor coach service between Hyde and Presidio Avenue. Muni bus line "No. 80-Leavenworth, which was instituted as an emergency service" will be discontinued "due to resumption of service of the Hyde & O’Farrell cable car line." The last cable car on each line will leave its inner terminal at 11: 00 P.M. Muni "NOTICE TO PUBLIC" dated January 8, 1952.
  • February 17, 1952 - " Cable Car Line No. 61 (California) will be extended from Hyde and California to terminal on California at Presidio Avenue, thus providing "Through" service from Market Street to Presidio and California. Muni "NOTICE TO PUBLIC" dated February 8, 1952.

  • Early 1953- During a limited period of time because of re-railing of parts of Jackson and Washington Streets, west of Hyde Street (contract let late 1952), the Washington-Jackson cars ran only to Jackson & Mason, returning via the Washington-Mason car storage area. The Jackson cable continued to be run. Dash signs read "Jackson and Mason Streets Only."

  • November 3, 1953- Two Municipal Railway Rehabilitation bond issues failed to make the 2/3 necessary vote for approval, obtaining only a bare majority. Included in the failed issues were monies for the rebuilding of the California Street cable tracks and partial reconstruction of the former Cal Cable California-Hyde power house and car house.

  • January 25, 1954 - The Board of Supervisors by a seven to four vote authorized the abandonment of the former Cal Cable O'Farrell-Jones-Hyde line, and of the California street line west of Van Ness Avenue.

  • February 6, 1954 - Jones Street Shuttle is discontinued, No. 58 last car. When No. 58 got to the car house a human chain was formed to prevent the car from being coasted into the car house. All to no avail though. San Francisco’s shortest cable car line (six blocks) had the most diversified equipment; initially at least two converted trailers with a grip under the floor in the middle, followed by a pre-fire 22' 5" open fronts (ends) single-truck dinky No. 51, post-fire open dummy No.24 and starting in 1910 three (nos. 60, 61 & 62) specially built 22' 5" miniatures of the standard 30' 3" Cal Cable Cars. At various times both Cal Cable (i.e. 1908-1910 & 1940s) and Muni used standard 30' 3" cars.

  • May 16, 1954 - The California Street line is cut back from Presidio Avenue to Van Ness Avenue, and the O'Farrell, Jones and Hyde line ceased running. Car No. 51 (still in service on the California Street cable) with gripman Paul Glade and conductor Richard Grizala made the final trip the day before. The O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde line is immortalized in Gelett Burgess’ published "The Ballad of the Hyde Street Grip."

  • June 8, 1954 - Voters barely pass Proposition E that provided for a three-line consolidated cable car system with reduced mileage and operating costs.

  • June 25, 1954 - Gripman Raymond Isaac is ticketed for speeding on Powell Street. His supervisors argue against any fine contending that cable cars are not considered motor vehicles as defined by the state vehicle code, and gripman are not considered motormen and are not part of the municipal code. The citation was cancelled and legal analysts looked into ways to close this loophole.

  • April 23, 1955 - Cable Car Festival held featuring decorated Powell Street cable cars.

  • May, 1955 - The City sells for $11,000 ten now surplus ex-California Street Cable Railroad cable cars that are not needed for the future three-line system. All but one is sold to non-San Franciscans.

  • September 16, 1955 - - The track-brake lever broke on Washington-Jackson car No. 522 when the gripman attempted a normal northbound stop at Powell and Sacramento Streets, resulting in a "wild 40 mile-an-hour out-of-control three-block plunge" down Powell Street. No. 522 stopped after rounding the curve from Powell onto Jackson Street. The impact of the sudden stop tore out No. 522's front end, uprooted seats, shattered windows and sent over 20 passengers to the hospital.

  • November 2, 1955 - Voters narrowly defeat Proposition J, another try, led by the "Cable Car Vigilantes," to save all five cable lines. The stage was now set for the present day system.

  • September 2, 1956 - Shortly after one in the morning, car No. 524 (now No. 24) makes the last trip on the Washington-Jackson line. Shut down was "due to the necessity of installing new track connections and cable installations (for the future Powell-Hyde cable car line) at Hyde & Washington, and at Hyde & Jackson, which will require several months to complete, motor coaches will be substituted for cable cars on Washington and Jackson between Steiner and Mason. Cable cars will be added to the Powell & Mason Line to maintain present service frequency." Muni "NOTICE TO PUBLIC" dated August 27, 1956.

  • Fall, 1956 - Muni sells the last six of the now surplus former California Street Cable Railroad cars. Sold from the California Street line were Nos. 1, 7, 12, and 22; O’Farrell, Jones and Hyde car No. 38 and Jones Street Shuttle No. 60.

  • October, 1956 - As part of his second unsuccessful presidential campaign, Adlai Stevenson campaigned on Powell Street using the rear platform of Powell-Mason cable car No. 504.

  • December 30, 1956 - Service on the California Street Cable Car Line will be TEMPORARILY discontinued for a few months due to the necessity of installing new track connections at Hyde and California and reconstructing the cable channel in both tracks (from off-center to center slot, in order to replace line’s traditional side grip with a bottom grip operation), from Market to Van Ness. Patrons presently using California Street Cable Cars may use Line No. 55 inbound on Clay and outbound on Sacramento. Extra motor coach service will be operated on Line No. 55 until Cable Car Service is resumed. (Purpose of the shut down was to rebuild the California Street Cable for the "new" consolidated cable car system, by converting its operations to that of the Powell Street cable car line standards). Muni "NOTICE TO PUBLIC" dated December 17, 1956.

    The last of the California cable line’s original configuration died at 11:30 p.m. Saturday, December 29, 1956 when car 15's grip was removed from the slot, the last side grip car. The last cars to operate with side grips were 4, 15 and 50.

  • Early 1957 - Hyde Street trackage for the new Powell-Hyde cable car line is extended across Beach Street crossing the tracks of the State Belt Line to the new turntable site at today's "Friedel Klussmann Memorial Turnaround" in Victorian Park. When the Powell-Hyde cable starts service, this will be the first time since April 17, 1906 that cable cars have crossed railroad tracks. On that date, the Valencia Street cable car line ceased (the earthquake occurred the next morning). It had crossed the then Southern Pacific main line at 25th and Valencia Streets.

  • March 2, 1957 - Closure of the Mornington line in Dunedin, New Zealand which made the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni) the sole operator of  all cable car service in the world.

  • March 23, 1957 - First cable new Hyde Street cable laid, in the early morning hours, for the future the new Powell-Hyde cable car line.

  • March 25, 1957 - New Hyde Street cable is powered for the first time.

  • February 1, 1957 - A temporary injunction stopped the continuation of the removal of the former Washington and Jackson cable car trackage west of Hyde Street. The injunction was based on the contention that the cable car measure the voters in 1954 passed “was a fraud perpetrated upon the voters.” The injunction is later lifted when its proponents could not post the necessary $25,000 good faith money.

  • March 29, 1957 - Car No. 522 becomes the first car to test with the cable running the new Powell-Hyde cable line. The test is successful. Previously, Powell car No. 507 was the first ever single-ended cable car on Hyde, as it was towed before the cable was powered, to check Hyde Street track work, including the new $100,000 turntable +-Aquatic Park turntable and its trackage at Hyde and Beach.

  • April 7, 1957 - Powell-Hyde line starts. First car left the Washington-Mason car house shortly before 7 a. m. The line was created by cutting back to Hyde Street the Washington-Jackson line and combining it with the former Hyde Street leg of the O'Farrell, Jones and Hyde line.

  • July 1957 - Cable car service on the new Powell-Hyde line has been extended to midnight (it formerly stopped at 11:00 P.M.)

  • November 11, 1957 -- The former California Street Cable Railroad California & Hyde car barn and powerhouse is demolished.

  • December 19, 1957 - Thursday, during early morning hours the first test California Street cable car (No. 55) runs over newly rebuilt to bottom grip (from side grip) California Street line from Washington-Mason car barn. Test successful, despite a minor derailment at Hyde Street. Previously, the California cable operated from the former California Street Cable Railroad car barn at California and Hyde Streets.

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