Cable Car Chronology

May 28, 2008 - today

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  • May 28, 2008 -- Rebuilt car Powell Street 25 rolls out in revenue service, painted in 1906-era United Railroads livery.

  • June 24, 2008 -- An underground transformer explosion near California and Drumm shut down California Street service for a while.

  • July 13, 2008 -- Powell Street car 12 ran away at Washington and Mason and derailed while making the turn at Powell Street. Four passengers were injured.

  • August 29, 2008 -- Inbound California Street cable car 60 rear-ended car 59 at California and Drumm this morning. 59 was more seriously damaged. Crew members on both cars were injured.

  • September 24, 2008 -- An elderly lady was hit by a cable car at Mason and Broadway early in the morning. She died the next day.

  • September 28, 2008 -- The The Friends of the Cable Car Museum dedicated a plaque at Whole Foods Market in Oakland, which includes the Consolidated Piedmont Cable Company's car barn and powerhouse at 24th and Harrison. Board member Don Holmgren, the leading authority on Oakland's cable car lines, spoke on the company's history.

  • October 16, 2008 -- The Powell Street cable was stopped for most of the day by an early-morning loose strand.

  • December 17, 2008 -- Two people were hospitalized after an SUV ran into car 13 near the end of the Hyde Street line.

  • January 26, 2009 -- On a drizzly afternoon, an inbound California Street car slid down from Mason to Powell and clipped an inbound Powell Street car, which was waiting to pick up the rope after crossing the California Street tracks. No one was injured.

  • June 3, 2009 -- A runaway cab hit two cable cars which were laying over on Powell near Ellis. Cars 10 and 24 were not seriously damaged.

  • June 10, 2009 -- New Powell Street car 15 made its first test run on the Powell/Mason line.

  • June 22, 2009 -- New Powell Street car 15 went into service after a ceremony at the Washington/Mason car barn. Mayor Gavin Newsome went for a ride. Byron Cobb pulled grip and Duane Allen was conductor. This day was the 25th anniversary of the return of the cars after the 1982-1984 rebuilding. Later in the day Sasha and Malia Obama, the President's daughters, took a ride on the car from Washington/Mason to Hyde and Lombard.

  • July 14 - August 1, 2010 -- Motorized cable car 62 travelled to Sacramento (on a flatbed truck) to be part of San Francisco's exhibit at the 156th annual State Fair.

  • December 24, 2010 -- A cable problem caused the California Street cable car line to shut down early for a planned reconstruction. Muni did not think it was worthwhile to fix the cable when the line was going to shut down on January 3, 2011.

  • March 28, 2011 -- The Powell-Mason line is shut down for refurbishment from March 28 to April 1.

  • April 25, 2011 -- The outer portion of the Hyde Street line is shut down for refurbishment from April 25 to April 29.

  • February 4, 2012 -- Powell Street car 21 was decorated in New York Giants paraphernalia because of a bet between the mayors of San Francisco and New York on a playoff game between the 49ers and the New York Giants

  • November 4 and 11, 2012 -- As part of the Muni centennial celebration, Muni offerred special vintage vehicle service on two Sundays

  • November 14, 2012 -- As part of the Muni centennial celebration, Powell Street car 26, painted in a green and cream Muni color scheme used from the late 1940s to the early 1960s, was rededicated after being rebuilt

  • December 28, 2012 -- The San Francisco Municipal Railway's centennial celebration included free rides for all

  • February 6, 2013 -- A Powell street car stopped suddenly when it hit a large bolt apparently jammed in the slot or the conduit. Five passengers and both members of the crew were injured.

  • February 20, 2013 -- An early morning water main break at Filbert and Mason delayed Powell/Mason service till noon.

  • August 8, 2013 -- Crews digging up the street on California near Scott discovered a stretch of California Street Cable Railroad tracks and conduit.

  • October 17, 2013 -- The discovery of a mysterious package in Union Square caused the Powell Street cable cars to stop running. Police told all businesses lining the square to use their back doors. The package proved to be harmless.

  • November 25, 2013 -- President Barack Obama visited the Chinatown Recreation Center across the street from the Cable Car Barn at Washington and Mason to give a speech on immigration reform. All three cable car lines were covered by buses until about 1:30pm.

  • May 31, 2014 -- Former California Street Cable Railroad car 11 sold at auction for $87,500.

  • June 2, 2014 -- Transit workers unhappy with a net pay cut offerred by management had a sickout on June 2 through 4. The cable cars were shut down Monday through Wednesday.

  • November 16, 2014 -- San Francisco Municipal Railway Powell Street cable car Number One returned to service. It had been built new, except for the roof, to commemorate the centennial of the cable car in 1973. Its builders tried to reproduce the earliest appearance of the Powell Street cars. Many of the features that had been lost over 40 years were restored.

  • November 13, 2015 -- The Powell Street Safety and Sidewalk Improvement Pilot imposed new traffic restrictions on Powell Street between Ellis and Geary.

  • December 13, 2015 -- The cable cars were shut down because of heavy rain.

  • January 12, 2016 -- Conductor Rey Morante died after being struck by a motorcycle on 11-June-2015. He had been in a coma since the accident. In June, the motorcyclist pled guilty to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and misdemeanor driving under the influence and was sentenced to one year of home detention and five years of probation.

  • January 23, 2016 -- The cable car lines shut down to honor late Conductor Rey Morante.

  • March 23, 2016 -- A press release from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced that Amber Jones is the third person to serve as a cable car gripwoman.

  • May 6, 2016 -- Powell Street Car 24 was dedicated to Giants Hall of Famer Willie Mays on his 85th birthday.

  • June 15, 2016 -- Powell Street Car 12 returned to service after rebuilding. MSR White Front colors.

  • March 19, 2017 -- An elderly pedestrian was struck by an inbound Powell-Mason car at Mason and Filbert. He died in the hospital.

  • September 18, 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.

  • September 22-29, 2017 -- Muni shut down the Cal Cable line to replace the gearbox that drives the California Street cable. The old gearbox dated from the 1982-1984 Great Reconstruction.

  • October 1, 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."

  • November 6, 2017 -- Jimo Perini, photographer and author, passed away. He was a veteran of World War II. His book San Francisco Grip is an excellent collection of photos.

  • November 28, 2017 -- Powell Street car 22, one of the remaining 1887 Ferries and Cliff House cars, returned to service after rebuilding.

  • December 12, 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.

  • April 12, 2018 -- Powell Street car 11 made its debut after a rebuilding. Now painted in Market Street Railroad red. Val Lupiz pulled grip.

  • April 14, 2018 -- Powell Street car 26 ran for a special charter as 526, its number before 1973. Val Lupiz pulled grip.

  • September 8-9, 2018 -- Newly rebuilt Powell Street car 23 and California Street Car 56 ran for the first time in revenue service during Muni's Annual Heritage Weekend. Restored O'Farrell/Jones/Hyde car 43 made its first revenue trips sincwe 1954 on the outer part of the Hyde Street line.

  • September 21-30, 2018 -- Buses substituted for cable cars on the outer portion of the Powell/Mason line as part of the Cable Car Gearbox Rehabilitation Project.

  • November 11-15, 2018 -- Because of the dangerous level of smoke from the tragic Camp Fire in Butte County, the SFMTA issued masks to cable car crews.

  • November 15-20, 2018 -- The cable cars were ordered to pull in Thursday afternoon because of unhealthy air quality caused by the Camp Fire in Butte County. The Cable Car Museum at Washington and Mason also closed. Cable. The cable cars returned to service on Tuesday, November 20.

  • July 20, 2019 -- A wrecker pushed Sacramento/Clay car 19 over the California Street line. There were no problems with clearances.

  • July 26, 2019 -- Gripman Val Lupiz operated Sacramento/Clay car 19 over the California Street line. This was the first time the car had operated under cable traction since the Sacramento/Clay line was abandoned in 1942.

  • August 29, 2019 -- All three cable car lines were down for an hour during the day because of a power outage.

  • September 12-23, 2019 -- All three cable car lines were down as part of the gearbox replacement project.

  • February, 2020 -- On several days in February, production of a "major motion picture," probably Matrix 4, required rerouting of several bus lines and bus substitution on the Cal Cable line. Shooting took place at night.

  • March 16, 2020 -- In order to protect crews from the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), Muni has replaced cable car and F-line service with buses. G-line service is cancelled.

  • April 8, 2020 -- Because of the COVID-19 virus, Muni cancelled 80% of its service except for 17 core lines because shelter-in-place has led to a 90% drop in ridership. There have also been operator shortages because of sickness. Muni had already replaced all Muni Metro service (electric streetcars on lines J-K-L-M-N) with buses.

  • June 15, 2021 -- Crews working on the eternal Van Ness Avenue project have unearthed the crossing of the crossing of the California Street Cable Railroad and Muni's H-line. The H-line was replaced by buses in the late 1940s. Cal Cable was cut back to Van Ness in 1954. One of the diamonds has been reserved for preservation.

  • August 2, 2021 -- Muni began operating cable cars and offering free rides. The cars were not following regular schedules.

  • August 7, 2021 -- Carl Payne, the only 10-time winner of the Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest, transit operator, police officer, San Francisco ambassador and great all-around guy, passed away.

  • September 4, 2021 -- The cable cars returned to service.

  • September 9, 2021 -- The cable cars were down because of an electrical fire at the car barn.

  • September 18, 2021 -- The cable cars were back in service after the shutdown caused by an electrical fire.

  • February 18, 2022 -- Catrena Brown became only the fourth woman to operate the grip on a cable car.

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Last updated 01-March-2022