Cable Cars - Cable Cars information and pictures

The cable cars are quintessential to the history and heritage of old San Francisco. The famous San Francisco cable car was first introduced and patented by Andrew Smith Hallidie, when the very first cable line was built at the top of Clay Street in 1873. Supposedly, Mr. Hallidie witnessed a horrible accident of horse drawn carts that resulted in the death of many horses, leading him to invent the first cable car in the United States. The first cable line was successful and expanded throughout the city. Other cities like Chicago quickly followed suit with their own cable car transportation lines.

In their heyday, San Francisco cable cars operated twenty-two lines throughout the city. Today only three cable car lines are in operation: the Powell-Mason, Powell-Hyde and California-Van Ness lines, which do a loop around the city stopping at all the major tourist destinations like Fisherman's Wharf, and Pier 39. San Francisco is the only city in the world that still operates a true cable car system. The cable cars themselves have become a popular tourist activity; with tourists hopping on the cable cars to hear the famous bell ringers and experience a roller coaster ride up and down San Francisco's hilly streets.

The cable car technology is quite simple. The cable cars are operated manually in fact, by grip men, who maneuver the cable lines to safely travel through the city streets. The cable cars are attached to an overhead cable, with rails underneath, powered by a main power facility. The cable car bell ringers entertain the passengers with their own unique tunes and rhythms. In fact, San Francisco holds an annual bell-ringing contest for cable car conductors and grip men.
Cable Car San Francisco
Where is Cable Car Barn Museum: Power house of the Cable car system is located on 1201 Mason St., Nob Hill

How to get to Cable Car Barn Museum: By bus 1,12,45 and Cable car.

Cable Car San Francisco
Hyde Street, Cable Car, Powell-Hyde Line

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User Comments about Cable Cars

Flo says:
This was great fun! A tip from me - don't wait on the long line on Powell Street Turntable. Instead go up a couple of blocks and take the cable car from there. It saves you great deal of time. Also if you go to California and Market Street you can hop on a cable car without waiting at all.