by Joe Thompson
line: Union Street
opened: 23-Oct-1880. Montgomery Street (now Columbus Avenue) from Washington to Union, Union to Steiner.
extended: 1892. Union from Steiner to Baker, Baker to Lombard, Lombard to the Presidio. Private right of way in the Presidio to the main post.
powerhouse: Union and Leavenworth
grip: Hallidie bottom grip, screw-operated
grip: converted to Stut grip, lever-operated (?) in 1892. The shanks of the Hallidie grip were not strong enough to go around the pull curves in the extension.
cars: double-ended dummy & trailer trains.
turntables: cross overs.
notes: This was the only cable car line other than the Clay Street Hill line to use the Hallidie bottom grip. It was the first cable car line to go around a corner, with a let-go curve at Columbus & Union. All previous lines had operated straight from terminous to terminous.
The company operated a horse-car line on Washington & Jackson which connected the eastern end of the cable line to the Ferry Building. Before the 1892 extension, the company ran a steam dummy line on Steiner, Greenwich, Baker, and private right of way to the Presidio. After the extension, the steam line ran on Baker from Greenwich to the Harbor View Resort (now the Marina district). Read about the company's steam operations in "When Steam Ran on The Streets of San Francisco, Part I," by Walter Rice and Emiliano Echeverria.
The Hallidie grip's shanks were not strong enough to stand the pull curve in the extension, so it was replaced by a new grip, designed by JCH Stut.
Cable car operations were wiped out by the earthquake and fire in 1906. The entire system was converted to an electric line. The company was taken over by the city in 1913. The line became the E Union Street line of the San Francisco Municipal Railway. It is now the 41 Union trolley bus line.
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Copyright 1996-2014 by Joe Thompson. All rights reserved.
Last updated 01-May-2014