More Muni Pictures

by Joe Thompson

Where Should I Go from Here? Visit the Map

This page has some additional photos of the San Francisco Municipal Railway's lines.


Muni Heritage Weekend -- 2016

Muni held its 2016 Heritage Weekend at the same time the San Francisco Fire Deparment was celebrating its 150th birthday. I did not get to attend either event.

The big event for cable car fans was unique original-condition California Street Cable Railroad O'Farrell-Jones-Hyde car 42 making a special VIP-only trip out Hyde Street to Beach. Val Lupiz, author of Tales From the Grip, was the gripman. The car made a stop at Hyde and Union to meet with Muni Marmon-Herrington trolley coach 776.

42 spent the rest of the day operating on the California Street line.

Visit the SFMTA Photography Department and Archive for some beautiful photos.

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Muni Heritage Weekend -- 2015

Muni 578 Car 578, built in 1896 for the original Market Street Railway, zips along the Embarcadero during the 2015 Muni Heritage Weekend. People often call it a cable car, so I decided to use it as my Picture of the Month. September, 2015. October, 2015 Picture of the Month.

After the success of the Muni Centennial Vintage Service in 2012, Muni and the Market Street Railway decided to make it an annual event. In 2015, they moved the event from November to September, hoping to get better weather.

Muni 578/2 Car 578 stops across from the MSR Museum on Don Chee Way. It will turn left on Steuart, left on Mission, and lrft on the Embarcadero. It will turn around on the loop in front of the Pier 39 garage. The ugly structure in the background was erected for a squash tournament. Who plays squash? September, 2015.

MSR Museum The MSR Museum. A chart in front of the Wiley birdcage traffic light tells when vintage streetcars and buses will next depart. September, 2015.

MSR Museum/2 In the MSR Museum, we looked at the new exhibit of car cards and admired this box, raising funds for preservation. September, 2015.

Cal Cable 42 Unique original-condition California Street Cable Railroad O'Farrell-Jones-Hyde car 42 made a rare appearance. We did not get to ride it. September, 2015.

Blackpool 233 Blackpool boat tram 233 stops on Don Chee Way to let passengers alight. 233 was acquired in 2013. This was the first Heritage Weekend where it operated. Note the pirate flag. September, 2015.

Blackpool 228 Blackpool boat tram 228 turns from the Embarcadero to Don Chee Way. We boarded it for a ride to Pier 39 and back. September, 2015.

Blackpool 233/2 When 228 reached Steuart and Mission, we saw 233 waiting on Mission between Steuart and the Embarcadero. They proceeded around the block to pick up passengers on Don Chee Way. September, 2015.

Blackpool 228/2 Our motorman on Blackpool boat tram 228 wore a shirt congratulating Blackpool Transport on the 130th anniversary of eletric traction in Blackpool, which they were celebrating the same weekend. September, 2015.

Blackpool 228/3 A closer view of his shirt, designed and made by motorman Robert Parks. September, 2015.

fleet week Signs along the Embarcadero advertised Fleet Week and the Blue Angels. September, 2015.

Muni 5300 We didn't get to ride on any of the buses. Here is New Flyer 5300 laying over on Steuart Street. I rode 5300 and its sisters many times on the 1 California, the 5 McAllister (I have trouble typing 5 Fulton) and other trolleybus lines. September, 2015.

Muni 3287 GMC New Look 3287 on Steuart Street. I rode these everywhere in the city. September, 2015.

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Muni Heritage Weekend -- 2014

Cal Cable 42 Cal Cable 42 lays over on California between Davis and Drumm. November, 2014. December, 2014 Picture of the Month.

After the success of the Muni Centennial Vintage Service in 2012, Muni and the Market Street Railway decided to make it an annual event.

Unique original-condition California Street Cable Railroad O'Farrell-Jones-Hyde car 42 made its first appearance on the street since the 2013 Muni Heritage Weekend. While the car had a layover, we had a nice talk with my friend gripman Val Lupiz, author of Tales From the Grip, while he waited his turn. He is proud of the car, which did not come out after last year's festival except for a test run earlier in the week. We rode out to Van Ness and back. The car operates smoothly.

Nowhere in Particular Blackpool Boat 228's "Nowhere in Particular" destination sign. November, 2014.

We had lunch at Osha Thai Restaurant, then went over to the Market Street Railway museum. Car 130 pulled out, but was not picking up passengers. We got on Blackpool Boat 228, where I took the photo of the "Nowhere in Particular" destination sign. We had a nice ride out to Pier 39 and back. The crew had to watch the pole carefully at every switch. Back at the museum, we bought a book and two calendars. We stopped to look at Cal Cable 62, the motorized Jones Street shuttle car. We missed the two bell ringing demonstrations. Then we took BART back.

Cal Cable 62 Cal Cable 62, the motorized Jones Street shuttle car. November, 2014.

Jimmy 3287 1969 GMC New Look bus 3287. I took the shot on Steuart Street while riding on Blackpool Boat 228. I grew up listening to these buses running on the big dip on the 31-Balboa line. November, 2014.

White 042 1938 White bus 042, restored to its original orange and black colors. I took the shot on Steuart Street while riding on Blackpool Boat 228. November, 2014.

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Muni Heritage Weekend -- 2013

Cal Cable 42 Cal Cable 42 in the hole at California and Drumm. Note that there is no end door to permit the grip to be changed. The car also lacks the substantial bumper that the California Street cars now carry. November, 2013.

After the success of the Muni Centennial Vintage Service in 2012, Muni and the Market Street Railway decided to make it an annual event.

Rare original-condition California Street Cable Railroad O'Farrell-Jones-Hyde car 42 made its first appearance on the street since the Muni Centennial. My wife and took BART downtown and just missed 42 at California and Drumm.

We took Cal Cable 54 out to Grace Cathedral. When we came out, 42 passed going outbound. We crossed the street and waited for it to return. We had a nice ride back to Market. As we went through the Financial District, a bride and groom flagged the car and asked it they could pose for a picture. The gripman said they could if they did it quickly.

boats Newly acquired Blackpool Boat Tram 233. Muni's other boat tram, 228, is on the far track, in front of the Agricultural Building. Note the slight differences in the tower that supports the trolley pole. November, 2013.

Among the other features was Muni's new Blackpool Boat Tram, number 233. 233 was on public display for the time since its recent arrival in San Francisco. There was controversy in Britain when the Lancastrian Transport Trust sold it to Market Street Railway and Muni. 233 was on static display.

Fed Ex sign FedEx helped to bring the tram to San Francisco. November, 2013.

MSR sign "Acquired for Muni by Market Street Railway through a grant from the Thoresen Foundation." November, 2013.

We rode 1938 White Motor Corporation bus 042. It still smells like gasoline inside.

We also saw GM Diesel bus 3287 and Flyer trolley coach 5200.

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Cable Car Cam

Mason Street/1 A Powell/Mason car drops down Mason on 15-May-2002.
I came across a collection of screen captures I made back in 2002 from a now-defunct webcam which was located atop the Wax Museum in Fisherman's Wharf. I was able to capture several views of cable cars.

Mason Street/2 The same car farther down Mason on 15-May-2002.

Mason Street/3 A different Powell/Mason car drops down Mason on 15-May-2002.

Mason Street/4 A Powell/Mason car drops down Mason on 05-June-2002.

Motorized cable car/1 A motorized Gray Line cable car approaches Jefferson and Taylor on 28-May-2002.

Motorized cable car/2 A motorized Gray Line cable turns from Taylor onto Jefferson on 05-June-2002.

496 Melbourne Australia W-2 class tram 496 approaches Jefferson and Taylor on 05-June-2002.

Milan/1 A Milan Ventotto (28) class tram approaches Jefferson and Taylor on 05-June-2002.

Milan/2 A Ventotto approaches Jefferson and Taylor behind PCC 1054 in Phildelphia colors on 07-June-2002. 1054 was later wrecked and the Philly Cream Cheese scheme was applied to 1060.

Pier 43 1/2 Pier 43 1/2, home of the Red and White Fleet.

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Powell/Market Early Morning

In December, 2009 SamTrans cancelled the express bus I had ridden to work almost every day since 1994. Now that I take BART, I try to get off at least one day a week at Powell and Market, to have a look at the cable cars. Here are a few pictures I have taken.

26-March-2010 Looking up Powell from Market at 07:20 AM on 26-March-2010.

04-March-2010/1 Cars 25 and 3 just off of the Powell and Market turntable at 07:20 AM on 04-March-2010.

04-March-2010/2 Another view of cars 25 and 3 just off of the Powell and Market turntable at 07:20 AM on 04-March-2010.

10-February-2010 17 on the Powell and Market turntable at 07:21 AM on 10-February-2010.

15-January-2010 Two cars at Powell and Market turntable at 07:21 AM on 15-January-2010.

Car 10 Car 10 on the Powell/Market turntable at Seven AM. May 2002. Photo by Joe Thompson. October, 2005 Picture of the Month.

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New Car 15

15 front view Val Lupiz took this shot of new car 15, waiting for its turn to be painted. May, 2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.
15 interior Val took this unique view of new car 15 through the headlight hole. April, 2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved. May, 2008 Picture of the Month.

On 27-February-2008, Val Lupiz found that a new Bombay roof car had been delivered to the barn at Washington and Mason. It was later confirmed to be the new Number 15. Read more about this car and refurbished Number 25.

15 painted front view Val Lupiz took this front view of freshly painted new car 15. May, 2009. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.

In May, 2009, Val found that the car had been painted yellow in a pre-1900 color scheme of the Market Street Railway.

15 painted front view Val took another front view of freshly painted new car 15. May, 2009. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.

Car 15 made its first test run on 10-June-2009.

15 on turntable New car 15 on its first test run, on the turntable at Bay and Taylor. June 10, 2009. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.

15 and 3 New car 15 on its first test run, just off the turntable at Bay and Taylor. It stands next to car 3, which is in pre-1982 Muni colors. Note that 15 has a Bombay roof and 3 has a simpler Carter-style roof. June 10, 2009. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.

15 inbound New car 15 on its first test run. Note that the name of the company has not yet been painted in the white area. June 10, 2009. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.

New car 15 made its debut on 22-June-2009 after a ceremony at the Washington/Mason car barn. Mayor Gavin Newsome went for a ride. Byron Cobb pulled grip. Later in the day, the Obama kids had a ride on the car.

15 Powell & Market New car 15 two days after its debut, waits for passengers at Powell and Market.

15 Powell & Market/2 A 3/4 view of new car 15. November, 2011 Picture of the Month.

15 Powell & Market/3 A rear 3/4 view of new car 15.

I took this video on 22-June-2009, showing brand new car 15 in its bright yellow paint at Powell and Market. It had made its debut two days before. Click arrow button to play video. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.)

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Powell 25's Homecoming/New Car Delivered

Car 25 Returns/2 Car 25 is arrives from the Woods Shops on a transport trailer. Taken at the Washington/Mason barn. 26-February-2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.

On the morning of 26-February-2008, Val Lupiz was excited to see Powell Street cable car 25, which had been away at Woods Shops for refurbishment and rebuilding for at least two years, arrive back at the carbarn at Washington and Mason.

"It has a new roof, front and rear ends, cabin sides, and running boards. The bulkheads and chassis seem to be original. I didn't get a chance to get a closer look but it seems to be nearly 80 to 90% new. It's sitting a couple of rows over from the Sac-Clay 19. It needs paint and brake rigging, but that won't take too long. The shop plans to have 25 back to work by late summer."
Car 25 Returns/1 Car 25 is lowered from the transport trailer at the Washington/Mason barn. 26-February-2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.
Car 25 Returns/3 Car 25 rides the rails at the Washington/Mason barn again after being away for two years or more. 26-February-2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.
Car 25 Interior/1 The interior of car 25 after delivery, looking forward from the back platform. 27-February-2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.
Car 25 Interior/2 Car 25's number painted over the cabin door. 27-February-2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.

On 27-February-2008, Val found that a new Bombay roof car had been delivered. It was later confirmed to be the new Number 15. Val points out that both cars look beautiful in bare metal.
new car/1 A rear view of the new Bombay roof car at the barn after delivery. 27-February-2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.
new car/2 The open section of the new Bombay roof car at the barn. 27-February-2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.
new car/3 Looking back from the open section of the new Bombay roof car at the barn. 27-February-2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.
both cars/1 The new Bombay roof car with Car 25. 28-February-2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.
both cars/2 A rear view of the new Bombay roof car with Car 25. 28-February-2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.
both cars/3 The front ends of the new Bombay roof car and Car 25. 28-February-2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.

In March, Val reported that shopmen were working on Car 25 to get it ready for service, and that the new car had been moved to a quiet track between wreck-damaged California Street Car 55 and O'Farrell-Jones-Hyde car 42.
new 15 New car 15 between wreck-damaged California Street Car 55 and O'Farrell-Jones-Hyde car 42. The windows behind the cars look out on Mason Street. March, 2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.
both cars/3 New car 15 with two preserved historic cars: O'Farrell-Jones-Hyde car 42 and Sacramento/Clay car 19. March, 2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.
42/19 Val called Sacramento/Clay car 19 and O'Farrell-Jones-Hyde car 42 "hangar queens." 19 may not be able to make the turn to leave the barn. 42 does not have end-doors to allow grips to be changed, so it is not used in normal operations. March, 2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.

In late March, Val was surprised to find that car 25 had been painted a vibrant shade of red.
25 red/1 Val took this photo of car 25 in late March after it had been painted a startling shade of red. Val wondered if it had joined the San Francisco Fire Department. Engine 25 is stationed at Third Street and Cargo Way. March, 2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.
25 red/2 Another view of 25 in its vibrant new color. March, 2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.
25 urr/1 The United Railroads of San Francisco color scheme is beginning to take shape. April, 2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.
25 urr/2 Another view of the United Railroads of San Francisco color scheme. April, 2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.

455 destroyed Car 25 will resemble Sacramento/Jackson cable car 455, which was destroyed by the falling chimney of the Washington/Mason powerhouse on the morning of 18-April-1906. Val Lupiz made this model of the car for Walter Rice. Val says it is a strange feeling to see car 25 looking more and more like the model which sat on his desk for a long time. Both images Walter Rice collection. All rights reserved.
==> April, 2008 Picture of the Month ==>.
455 model
25 urr/May In early May, Val found that shop crews had "moved Powell 25 to the shop pit track for installation of brake rigging gear (which also, incidentally, allowed me to get a much better shot of the car from an overhead stairwell)". May, 2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved. June, 2008 Picture of the Month.
25 labelled In later May, Val captured 25 labelled for the United Railroads of San Francisco. May, 2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.
25 and 13 In late May, Val captured 25, painted in United Railroads 1906-era maroon together with 13, painted in United Railroads post-1906 green. May, 2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.

On 28-May-2008, Val heard that car 25 was out in service. He arranged to trade for it and believes that he is the first person to operate it in revenue service on Hyde Street. He reports that she is "A bit noisy, but not too bad - a hard roller, in that she doesn't want to coast, but that'll change once the bearings wear in a little more. The cabin interior still has a faint odor of wet paint (passengers were asking 'Is this a new car?')." Muni rolled the car out to coincide with the APTA (American Public Transportation Association ) Rail Conference and International Rail Rodeo.
25 Hyde and Beach/1 Val Lupiz took this photo at Hyde and Beach on 28-May-2008, after taking 25 on its first revenue trip out Hyde Street. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.
25 Hyde and Beach/2 Another view of 25 at Hyde and Beach. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.
25 Powell and Ellis Val Lupiz took this photo of 25 at the other end of the line, laying over at Powell and Ellis. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.
525 Hyde and Beach Val Lupiz points out that the photo of car 525 was taken on 11-January-1958 at Hyde and Beach, the same location as the photo of the same car, now numbered 25, but 50 years and 5 months earlier. Val Lupiz collection. All rights reserved. 25 Hyde and Beach
9, 13, and 25 Powell and Ellis Val Lupiz took this photo of cars 9, Market Street Railway, 13, post-1906 United Railroads, and 25, pre-1906 United Railroads, laying over at Powell and Ellis on 29-May-2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.
13 and 25 Powell and Ellis Val Lupiz took another view of cars 13 and 25 together on 29-May-2008. Photo by Val Lupiz. All rights reserved.

This video, taken on 22-April-2009, shows bright red car 25, built in 1890, and rebuilt and repainted in 2008, running outbound from Geary to Post, passing the Saint Francis Hotel. Click arrow button to play video. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.)

See more about new Number 15.

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Washington/Mason, 19-Dec-2003

I won a conductor's bell at the raffle to support the annual senior citizens' luncheon. When I went to pick it up, Val Lupiz was kind enough to give me a tour of the car barn.
Grips Need to get a grip? This would be the place. An elevator with ten grips. December 2003. Photo by Joe Thompson. March, 2004 Picture of the Month.
Rooftop view A view from the roof, showing car 20 inbound on the Powell-Mason line, turning into Washington. December 2003. Photo by Joe Thompson.
Bobtailed 3/1 Car 3 sporting a new bobtailed look because of dry rot on its rear platform. December 2003. Photo by Joe Thompson.
Bobtailed 3/2 Another view of Car 3's bobbed tail. December 2003. Photo by Joe Thompson.
Sac/Clay 29 Sacramento/Clay Car 20. December 2003. Photo by Joe Thompson.
28 pullin/1 Old Car 28 pulls in for nearly the last time. It had just started to rain and the old car was a famous slider. It was replaced by new 28 the next month. Note how the cars coasts in backwards from Jackson Street. December 2003. Photo by Joe Thompson.
28 pullin/2 Old Car 28 turns on the motorized turntable before being put away. A California Street car pulls in behind it. December 2003. Photo by Joe Thompson.
6 sign lever The lever used to flip the roof sign from "Powell/Hyde" to "Powell/Mason". Taken on Car 6. December 2003. Photo by Joe Thompson.
6 batteries The batteries used to power the car's lights, stashed under the port side front bench. Taken on Car 6. December 2003. Photo by Joe Thompson.
6 placque The plaque on the side of Car 6, indicating that it was sponsored by Sohio during the Great Rebuilding of the 1980's. December 2003. Photo by Joe Thompson.
6 conductor's bell The bell used by the conductor to signal the gripman. Taken on Car 6. December 2003. Photo by Joe Thompson.
6 bell pull The gripman's bell pull. Taken on Car 6. December 2003. Photo by Joe Thompson.
6 grip Car 6's bottom grip, visible in the pit at the Washington Street exit from the car barn. December 2003. Photo by Joe Thompson.

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Washington/Mason and Car 11, 15-Aug-2007

Car 2 no back porch Car 2 in the barn at Washington and Mason. Its back platform has been removed because of dry rot. August 15, 2007. Photo by Joe Thompson.

Val Lupiz invited me to join him for a morning visit at Washington/Mason on a Wednesday I had taken off from work. I met him before he pulled out in the morning. We were hoping I could get a video of a car pulling out.

Val showed me cars 2 and 8, which were undergoing some work. 2 has lost both its back platform and front dash to dry rot. Car 8 has no side windows, also because of dry rot. Val told me that number 2 was back on the road by the end of the month.

Car 2 frame A closer view of the car's frame below the missing back platform. August 15, 2007. Photo by Joe Thompson.

Car 2 no front Car 2's front dash and windows have also been removed. August 15, 2007. Photo by Joe Thompson. September, 2007 Picture of the Month.

Car 2 down the middle A view straight down the middle of car 2. The track brake (left) and slot brake levers are in place, but the grip has been removed. August 15, 2007. Photo by Joe Thompson.

Car 2 front truck A close view of the front truck of car 2. August 15, 2007. Photo by Joe Thompson.

Car 8 no windows Car 8 in the barn. Its windows are being replaced. August 15, 2007. Photo by Joe Thompson.

Val Lupiz and Leonard Oats Gripmen Val Lupiz and Leonard Oats, champion of the 2007 Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest. August 15, 2007. Photo by Joe Thompson.

Val introduced me to Leonaard Oats, who had won the 2007 Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest on 12-Jul-2007. Leonard was getting ready to pull out car 24.

Powell Street cable car 24 pulls out from the car barn into Washington Street, gripped by Leonard Oats. Taken on 15-August-2007. Click arrow button to play video. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.)

Car 11 getting tuned Gripman Val Lupiz adjusts the tension on the front truck wheel brakes before pulling out with car 11. August 15, 2007. Photo by Joe Thompson.

After 24 pulled out, Val's car, number 11, was next in line. He showed me the procedure he follows. Val likes the brakes to be adjusted on the tight side. First he lifted a small hatch ahead of the front cabin door and adjusted a turnbuckle which tightens the track brakes on the front and back trucks. He likes the brakes to take effect with a short throw of the handle, on the theory that there isn't time to pull it way back in an emergency. Then he took a tool and inserted it in the hole in the center of the front truck and cranked it to tighten the front truck wheel brakes. He likes it so that the pedal stops about a quarter inch from the floor when he stands on it. Some gripmen prefer the brakes to be looser. Val switched the signs from Powell/Mason to Powell/Hyde.

Car 11 grip A view of car 11's grip, taken in the inspection pit before it pulled out. August 15, 2007. Photo by Joe Thompson.

Then Val introduced me to Stan Fisher, his conductor for the day. Val's regular conductor was on vacation. Stan has a very good way with the riders.

Stan Fisher Conductor Stan Fisher pauses outside of the car barn on Washington Street before pulling out with car 11. August 15, 2007. Photo by Joe Thompson.

After the car pulled out, I hopped on and enjoyed a run down to Powell and Market. The car ran smoothly. Traffic was heavy from Post Street down to Ellis. Then I enjoyed the unique treat of getting to ride on the car while it ran onto the turntable and turned. That was cool.

Powell Street cable car 11 pulls out from the car barn into Washington Street, gripped by Val Lupiz. Conductor Stan Fisher operates the latch which prevents the car from rolling unattended into the street. Taken on 15-August-2007. Click arrow button to play video. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.)

Gripman Val Lupiz, on car 11, rings the bell while waiting at Post and Powell for traffic to clear in front of the Saint Francis Hotel. Click arrow button to play video. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.)

I rode car 11 onto the turntable at Powell and Market. This was the first time I got to ride a car onto the turntable. I hope I didn't make the car too heavy. Click arrow button to play video. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.)

Car 11 carried a heavy load of tourists out to Hyde and Beach. Val explained that the cars do not lay over on Hyde Street any more. Now they lay over on the private right of way in Acquatic Park. I got to ride the car into Acquatic Park, and then onto the turntable.

At the outer end of the Hyde line, car 11 rolls around the corner at Hyde and Beach, into the private right of way in Acquatic Park. Click arrow button to play video. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.)

Val Lupiz rolls car 11 onto the turntable in Acquatic Park. This was my second ride on a turntable. Click arrow button to play video. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.)

Then I had to leave for a medical appointment. I thanked Val Lupiz and Stan Fisher for the nice morning.

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Powell, Between Washington and Jackson

When Powell/Mason and Powell/Hyde cars reach Powell between Washington and Jackson, they pass through a switch to put them on the correct side of the gauntlet tracks, and over the correct rope.
Powell/Jackson switch The conductor pulls the lever to set the switch at Powell and Jackson so Old Car 28 can take the Powell/Mason side of the gauntlet tracks. The switch is set for the Hyde Street line by default. October 2001. Photo by Joe Thompson.
Powell/Jackson switch Old Car 28 coasts through the switch which puts it on the Powell/Mason side of the gauntlet tracks. The gripman will then stop the car and pick up the Mason Street cable. October 2001. Photo by Joe Thompson.

This video, taken on 30-April-2007, shows new car 28, built in 2004, at the outbound switch at Powell between Washington and Jackson. The conductor crosses in front of the car and pulls the lever so the Powell/Mason car can switch on the right-hand set of gauntlet tracks. The car pauses so the conductor can reboard and the gripman can pick up the Mason Street cable. Click arrow button to play video. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.) See more videos on my Cable Car Video page.

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Wreckers and Service Trucks

The Cable Car Division uses motor trucks for many support functions. Cable cars sometimes need new grips or batteries on the line. Sometimes they have to towed in. Sometimes they have to be knocked loose after they apply the emergency brake (drop a slot blade). These functions are performed by motor trucks. The Cable Car Division currently (2007) has two wreckers, 655, an International rebuilt from a flatbed, and 665, a Freightliner. 665 is the primary wrecker.

On 28-August-2007, I was down by California and Drumm on my way to a training class when I noticed a wrecker truck parked by car 59. The door on the outbound end was open and the grip was being replaced. The shopmen were using wrcker 655.

old grip Cable Car Division wrecker at Califoria and Drumm with old grip. 28-August-2007. Photo by Joe Thompson.

grip being installed A view from the side as the shopman installs the new grip in car 59. 28-August-2007. Photo by Joe Thompson.

grip door open Car 59 with its grip door open. The tackle used to hoist the old grip out and the new one in is hooked on the back of the light. 28-August-2007. Photo by Joe Thompson.

hoisting old grip Shopmen hoist the old grip onto the back of the wrecker to take it back to the car barn. 28-August-2007. Photo by Joe Thompson.

On 08-September-2007, the family was shopping at The Gap store at Powell and Market. I went to watch the action around the turntable and the first thing I noticed was that I could not hear the cable. Then I noticed that three cars (11, 3, and 17) were lined up on the outbound track. Riders were trooping over to Ellis Street to get on replacement buses. After a short time, wrecker 665, the larger of the two wreckers, packed up to 17 and the two shopmen prepared to hook up for a tow. Unfortunately, the pin wouldn't drop through the hole into the tow bar. One of the shopmen had to get a sledge hammer and apply it to the pin a few times.

wrecker 665 Wrecker 665. 08-September-2007. Photo by Joe Thompson.

wrecker 665 with car 17 Wrecker 665 prepares to tow car 17. 08-September-2007. Photo by Joe Thompson.

wrecker 665 Wrecker 665. 08-September-2007. Photo by Joe Thompson.

car 17 and towbar/1 A shopman slides the towbar into place on car 17. 08-September-2007. Photo by Joe Thompson.

car 17 and towbar/2 The towbar is in place on car 17, but the pin won't drop. 08-September-2007. Photo by Joe Thompson.

car 17 and towbar/3 The other shopman has applied a sledge hammer and the pin has dropped. 08-September-2007. Photo by Joe Thompson.

Wrecker 665 tows away car 17. The gripman gives a nice exhibition of bell ringing while he waits for the light to change at Ellis. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.) See more videos on my Cable Car Video page.

I hung around for a while, and the wrecker came back for car 3. This time, the pin dropped with no problem. I had to leave before 665 came back for car 11.

Wrecker 665 tows away car 3. (Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers will require two clicks to start the video.) See more videos on my Cable Car Video page.

WM truck Cable Car Division service truck parked on Mason, across from the barn. March 2002. Photo by Joe Thompson.

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Car 44 at Pac Bell Park

44 by Walter Rice Walter Rice took this photo on the right field pavilion at Pacific Bell Park, showing former car 4, renumbered 44 to honor Willie McCovey. August 2004. Photo by Walter Rice. All rights reserved.

Retired Powell Street cable car No. 4, built in 1887 as an open car for the Ferries and Cliff House Railway, and rebuilt as closed car 504 by the United Railroads in 1915, has been enjoying since 2000 an enviable retirement -- sitting on top of the right field pavilion in baseballís finest ball park -- Pacific Bell Park, watching one of the gameís greatest players Barry Bonds launch home runs into McCovey Cove. The right field pavilion and play area is open for visitors free on non-game days and Thursday through Sunday during the off-season.

Old Car 4 Looking across McCovey Cove. Car 44 sits on the right field pavilion at Pacific Bell Park, home of the Giants. April 2002. Photo by Joe Thompson.

Car 44 from upper deck Looking from the upper deck towards the right field pavilion and McCovey Cove. August 2003. Photo by Joe Thompson.

Car 44 wrapped Car 44 wrapped in tarps for the offseason. February 2003. Photo by Joe Thompson.

Car 44 unwrapped Car 44 from the same angle as the wrapped shot. June 2003. Photo by Joe Thompson.

Car 44 rear The rear platform of car 44. June 2003. Photo by Joe Thompson.

Car 44 window Closed section front window of car 44. The lettering reads:
FARE $2.00 ONE WAY
HOLD ON
KEEP YELLOW FLOOR
AREA CLEAR
NO TRANSFERS

NO DODGERS FANS

The lettering was gone during the 2004 season. June 2003. Photo by Joe Thompson.

Pac Bell Field A view of the playing field from near car 44. June 2003. Photo by Joe Thompson.

Stevenson and Brown Adlai Stevenson and California Governor Pat Brown stand on the rear platform of Powell Street cable car 504 during Stevenson's second unsuccessful campaign for president. Thanks to Phil Hoffman. Associated Press photo from Time Magazine. All rights reserved.

Car 715 Barry Bonds hit his 715th career home run on 28-May-2006, moving past Babe Ruth into second place on the all-time list, behind only Hank Aaron. Walter Rice adapted this photo to celebrate the event. All rights reserved. July, 2006 Picture of the Month.

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Muni People


New Uniforms Fashion designer Bill Blass created new uniforms for the Cable Car Divsion in 1971. Here the uniforms are modeled by three men of the Division. Left to right: PUC Commissioner Tom Crowley, Conductor Joe Lacey, Gripman Sam McDaniel, Gripman Bill McPartland, Fred Fieiffer of the Cable Div, and Marvin Cardoza, PUC Commissioner. "Occaision of the Public Utilities Commission unveiling new uniforms designed by Bill Blass for the Cable Car Crews. Jun 11, 1972". Joe Lacey collection. All rights reserved.

Himself Joe Lacey stands by Cal Cable car 50 at California and Drumm about 1971. Joe is a frequent contributor to this site. Joe Lacey collection. All rights reserved. October, 2006 Picture of the Month.

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Other Photos

Car 21 Car 21 climbs Jackson towards Mason, where it will turn right towards North Beach. April 2002. Photo by Joe Thompson.
Car 24 Car 24 in front of the Saint Francis Hotel. April 2002. Photo by Joe Thompson.

Car 24 Car 24 at Powell and Ellis. April 2002. Photo by Joe Thompson.

Car 49 Car 49 at California and Stockton. August 2001. Photo by Joe Thompson.

Karen Jensen Actress Karen Jensen was a native of San Francisco. In 1969 she had a part in Bracken's World, a television show. Here she poses on a Powell Street cable car in what appears to be the yard of the cable car barn at Washington and Mason.

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Last updated 01-October-2016