I want to use this site to share my knowledge about and interest in cable cars (also known as cable tramways). I want to keep it simple. I welcome input from any source, especially about cable cars in cities other than San Francisco. I hope to build this page up gradually as time permits. I welcome information, photographs, and suggestions.
Table of Contents
Providence Conduit Discovered - 24-July-2018
Bob Vennerbeck let me know that he was walking around the College Hill district of Providence, Rhode Island when he was hailed by a crew
"Yesterday, I was hailed by a crew working on replacement water mains under College Street at Benefit Street - 'You're the historian - you know anything about these brick foundations under the street?'
"It seems they had unearthed a parallel pair of low brick walls about 2' high, with a smooth concrete slab about 3' wide between them, forming a U-shaped channel under the length of the street. The tops of the walls were about 2' below modern grade, and after the backfill was removed, a series of metal 'chairs' were found embedded either side of the slab, with bits of heavily greased mounting bolts scattered nearby."
I agreed with Bob that this was the channel that the counterbalance's counterweight ran through or the cable conduit of the Providence Cable Tramway.
Thank you to Bob for letting me present this find.
2018 Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest Has Been Cancelled in Part - Updated 01-August-2018
The 2018 Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest has been cancelled in part because the people of the Cable Car Division are protesting the SFMTA cutting late night hours on the California Street line.
I asked the SFMTA about the contest and got this response:
Thank you for your inquiry regarding a date for the next Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest. Unfortunately, we will not have a traditional bell ringing contest this year. Instead, we will be hosting some elements of the bell ringing event as part of Muni Heritage Weekend September 8-9. This event will activate the plaza area at Don Chee Way in front of the Market Street Railway Museum. We hope to return to the traditional event next year.
Muni Customer Service
I asked the SFMTA and got this response:
Dunedin Cable Tram Revival - 01-July-2018
This is an update of an article originally published in 2016. Thank you to Mac Gardner for providing the information.
The Dunedin Heritage Light Rail Trust and the High Street Cable Car Society are advancing a project with four steps to revive cable traction in Dunedin, New Zealand, the first and last city outside of San Francisco to have Hallidie-type cable car lines.
Step one is to build an Interim Cable Car Building in Mornington Park. This temporary museum would house two Dunedin cable trams and a trailer, the trailer from the Mornington Tramway and Two trams from the Roslyn Tramway. One of the Roslyn trams will be restored onsite. There will be tracks that extend outside so people can view one of the trams and climb on it. The work started in October, 2017.
The remaining steps would build a 1.5km line on the High Street with a terminal and powerhouse in the park. Original cable trams would be used as rolling stock.
An article from the 31-October-2016 Otago Daily Times.
I wish great success to the Dunedin Heritage Light Rail Trust and the High Street Cable Car Society.
Total Muni 2018 - 30-April-2018
Congratulations to Heather Knight and Peter Hartlaub of the San Francisco Chronicle who accomplished the feat of riding every San Francisco Municipal Railway line -- cable car, streetcar and bus -- on one day. They could not ride the 76-Marin Headlands, which only runs on weekends.
They started on a 25-Treasure Island at 03:12am. I haven't ridden that bus yet.
At 06:00am, with the help of Val Lupiz and Jeremy Whiteman. they rode Powell Street car 24, still decorated to honor Willie Mays and the Giants' 60th year in San Francisco.
At the Ferry Building, they met San Francisco Giants CEO Larry Baer, who did had same adventure with a friend in 1980. Giants' mascot Lou Seal was also there.
In 18 hours, they rode 60 lines.
Cable Car Cimena Closing - 27-April-2018
The Cable Car Cinema and Cafe showed independent and foreign films at 204 South Main Street in Providence, Rhode Island from 1976 to 2018. Today it was announced that the Cinema is closing. It fell victim to the forces that have destroyed so many cinemas across the country.
Car 26 Becomes 526 - 14-April-2018
Powell Street car 26 ran for a special charter as 526, its number before 1973. Val Lupiz pulled grip.
Car 11 Debuts in Service - 12-April-2018
Powell Street car 11 made its debut after a rebuilding. It is now painted in Market Street Railroad red. Val Lupiz pulled grip.
Old Car 28 Going to Connecticut - 03-April-2018
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will donate former Powell Street car 28 to the Shore Line Trolley Museum in East Haven, Connecticut as part of a deal that brought two electric streetcars to San Francisco. Car 28 was built by Mahony Brothers for the Ferries and Cliff House Railway in 1887. It was an open car until it was rebuilt in 1912. It retired in January, 2004 and was replaced by the current car 28. There had been talk of restoring it to its orignal configuration as an open car.
Car 24 Decorated for Opening Day - 03-April-2018
Sixty years ago this year, the San Francisco Giants played their first game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Seals Stadium on 15-April-1958. The Giants moved from Manhattan and the Dodgers from Brooklyn during the offseason. Rubén Gómez started and beat Don Drysdale 8-0. The Giants are celebrating the anniversary this season.
To celebrate the anniversary, Val Lupiz and Jeremy Whiteman decorated Powell Street car 24, which was dedicated to Willie Mays, Number 24, on 06-May-2016. Many vintage streetcars carried flags for the event.
Visit the Val Lupiz Shop - 01-April-2018
Gripman Val Lupiz, who is also a photographer with an excellent eye, has launched an
online shop where he is selling some of his photographs:
Cable Cars’ Ding Goes For Your Wallet, Too - 26-March-2018
San Francisco Chronicle columnist Heather Knight published an interesting column about
how charging the full $7.00 adult fare makes it hard for some tourist families to ride the cable
I think a child or family fare would be a good idea, along with a transfer that would allow people to visit the museum at Washington and Mason without paying another full fare.
San Francisco History Days, 2018 - 03-04-March-2018
The annual San Francisco History Days at the Old Mint returns on March 03-04, 2018.
Western Neighborhoods Project New Home Open House - 03-February-2018
The Western Neighborhoods Project is having an open house between Noon and 4pm to show off its new home at 1617 Balboa Street, between 17th and 18th Avenues.
Isle of Man Horse Tramway 2018 Schedule Released - 17-January-2018
We all owe a big thanks to the Friends of Douglas Bay Horse Tramway, which has worked hard to keep the line intact. We all have to remain vigilant.
Read more about the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway on the Horse Car Home Page.
Cable Cars Honor Mayor Lee - 12-December-2017
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee died suddenly this morning. The cable cars and all other San Francisco transit vehicles paused for one minute at noon in his memory.
SFMTA Threatens to Cut Cal Cable Late Night Service - 07-December-2017
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) wants to end service on the California Street line at 11:45pm instead of 1:00am. This would be a problem for San Francisco residents who work at the hotels and restaurants around the end of Market Street and live in areas reached by the cable cars. District Supervisor Aaron Peskin will fight the proposal. The change may not be legal because the city charter says that cable car must maintain 1971 levels as a minimum. There is a debate about what the hours of service were in 1971.
Car 22 Returns to Service - 28-November-2017
Powell Street car 22, one of the remaining 1887 Ferries and Cliff House cars, returned to service after rebuilding.
"Cable cars’ popularity takes huge hit with $7 fare" - 01-October-2017
A San Francisco Chronicle report by columnists Phil Matier and Andy Ross states that cable car ridership fell by 25 percent between 2014 and 2016. They atrribute it to the $7 fare. "Muni spokesman Paul Rose said inconsistent service and long waiting lines may be causing people to turn away as well."
Cal Cable Shutdown - 22-September-2017
Muni shut down the California Street cable line from 22-September-2017 to 29-September-2017 to replace the gearbox that drives the California Street cable. The old gearbox dated from the 1982-1984 Great Reconstruction.
New Muni Uniforms - 18-September-2017
Muni operators began to wear new gray uniforms, replacing the old brown uniforms. Jackets are black or high visibility yellow. The new uniforms are supposed to be more comfortable in hot or cold conditions.
Angels Flight Returns (Again) - 31-August-2017
Angels Flight, the Los Angeles funicular returned to service on 31-August-2017. The line had been shut down since a derailment on 05-September-2013.
Cable Cars Shut Down Because of Protests - 26-August-2017
Because of a planned white supremacist rally at Crissy Field in the Presidio, Mayor Ed Lee ordered the cable cars to be replaced by buses. All Muni lines in the Marina and Cow Hollow were shut down. This was inspired by the violence caused by Neo Nazis, Klansmen and other degenerates in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The degenerates cancelled Crissy Field, tried to go to Alamo Square, went briefly to Crissy Field, and somehow wound up in Pacifica. What did we poor Pacificans do to earn that?
San Francisco's Transportation Octopus - 13-August-2017
San Francisco's Transportation Octopus, the Market Street Railway of 1893, a new book by Emiliano Echeverria, Michael Dolgushkin and Walter Rice, is now available as an Ebook on a DVD. I'm looking forward to reading it.
I have written a small review.
California Street Inner Terminal Modified - 01-August-2017
I should have posted this in late May, but Muni has surrounded the inner terminal of the California Street line with a row of stanchions or posts. The ugly plastic barriers seen in the photo of cars 58 and 51 have finally gone away.
Angels Flight Takes Steps Forward - 01-July-2017
Angels Flight, which has been shut down since 05-September-2013 is scheduled to resume service by Labor Day.
Recent reports say that the cars and the stations have been repainted in primer white, and that construction has begun on the safety stairway, which is prerequisite to resume operation.
Isle of Man Horse Tramway Operations Resumed - 24-May-2017
The Isle of Man Horse Tramway resumed limited service after being suspended since 10-May-2017 because of a respiratory that affected the horses.
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125 years ago - 1893
New York Giants record: 68-64, 5th place. Manager: Monte Ward.
100 years ago - 1918
New York Giants record: 98-56, 1st place. Manager: John McGraw. The Chicago White Sox won the World Series 4 games to 2.
75 years ago - 1943
New York Giants record: 85-67, 3rd place. Manager: Mel Ott.
50 years ago - 1968
San Francisco Giants record: 91-71, 2nd place. Manager: Herman Franks.
25 years ago - 1993
San Francisco Giants record: 72-90, 5th place. Manager: Roger Craig.
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Ten Years Ago
Twenty Years Ago
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Last updated 01-August-2018