Cable Cars in San Francisco
Although it can be argued
that all the cable cars in San Francisco are historic, the cable cars in
this section no longer operate in the City, but are representative
of former operations.
Cable No. 42. Built by the W. L. Holman Co. 1906, it was sold after
the O’Farrell, Jones and Hyde line was abandoned in May
1954. Unlike other cars, which usually met more orthodox
fates, No. 42 found itself in an agricultural setting, a cattle feedlot
at Betteravia in the Santa Maria Valley of the central California
coast. The feedlot had its own 3'6" gauge railway! Soon the feedlot
operator mounted No. 42 on a pair of Los Angeles Railway streetcar
trucks, one of which was motorized. Restoration of No. 42
was begun in 1993 by the San Francisco preservation group,
the Market Street Railway Company, with Muni. Returned to San
Francisco in 1993, restoration was completed in 1997. Currently
in storage, it is expected that No. 42 may see limited service, primarily
Photo above: O'Farrell,
Jones and Hyde Street
car No. 42 at the cattle feed lot at Betteravia, California
Below: Car No. 42 being restored by
the Market Street Railway, 1997
Cable No. 62. One of three cars built for the Jones Street Shuttle
by Cal Cable in 1910. These cars were only 22' 5" long compared
with 30' 3" for the other Cal Cable cars. It was mounted
on a bus chassis in 1953 so that it can be driven to events or exhibitions
for display as an authentic San Francisco cable car. It is used
as the bell ringers’ cable car at the annual Cable Car Bell-Ringing
Contest, held each July in Union Square.
Photo: No. 62 at Union Square
for the 1999 Cable Car Bell-Ringing contest.
Street Hill Railroad train illustrates what open-grip car (dummy)
No.8 with trailer No.1 would have looked like running on Clay
Clay Street Hill Railroad No.8 is housed at the Cable Car Museum.
Street Hill Railroads open-grip car (dummy) No. 8 was operated
from the start of service (revenue service began September 1, 1873)
of the worlds first cable car line, the Clay Street Hill Railroad,
until the 1891 rebuilding of the line by the Ferries & Cliff
House Railway. According to the San Francisco Bulletin of
July 24, 1873, No. 8 was one of four dummies. The Bulletin wrote,
"It is believed that four dummies will be sufficient for the
immediate wants of the road." The Bulletin of July 31,
1873 reported, "The cars (trailers) are similar to the one-horse
cars used on the Woodward line (City Railroad). They are from the
Kimball Manufacturing Company. In addition to the ordinary brake,
there is on each side of the car between the wheels, a wooden frame
which can be let down on the track, and held so firmly as to make
the weight of the car rest on them, thus holding the car stationary,
no matter how steep the grade."
On April 14, 1893, the Ferries & Cliff House Railway sent Clay
Street Hill Railroad grip car No. 8 and trailer No. 1 to Chicago
for display at the 1893 World's
Columbian Exposition. The grip and trailer
were refurbished, dissembled, crated and shipped to Chicago to be
reassembled and exhibited in the Exposition's Transportation Building.
After the Exposition ended not all exhibits were returned to their
lenders; some were abandoned, including No. 8 and No. 1. By default,
both were transferred to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroads
(B&O) collection. No. 8 and presumably No.1 were sent to the
1904 Louisiana Purchase Exhibition in St. Louis. It is not known
if they were shown at St. Louis. After this fair closed, the entire
B&O collection of equipment was sent to Martinsburg West Virginia,
to the B&O repair shops, for storage. In 1927, the B&O celebrated
its centennial with the "Iron Horse Fair," held at Halesthrop,
Maryland that August, with 1.25 million visitors. An authoritative
source notes "a cable car" was shown. This would most
probably have been No. 8. Whether No. 1 was also displayed is unknown.
Somewhere during this time, No.1 was apparently lost. It may have
fallen apart from old age or it may have been part of the B&O
collection lost during the hurricane of 1935 that destroyed Halesthrop
storage sheds. It possible No.1 was misplaced and exists today (B&O
archival records are scanty). Gilbert Kneiss, of the Pacific Coast
Chapter of The Railway & Locomotive Historical Society(R&LHS),
while searching for railroad exhibits for both 1933 Chicago World
Fair and 1939 New York World Fair, at some point became aware that
No. 8 existed as part of the B&O collection. Kneiss was able
to persuade the B&O to return No. 8, in 1938, to San Francisco.
No. 8 was displayed at the Golden Gate International Exposition
(on Treasure Island) in 1939 and 1940. After the Exposition closed
No. 8 was temporary displayed at the Ferry Building, before exhibited
for many years at the Sutros Museum (near the Cliff House).
In 1966, when Sutros Museum was about to be demolished, the
R&LHS had No. 8 stored temporarily by the Pacific Gas &
Electric Company. Later, No. 8 was transferred to the Munis
Washington-Mason cable car barns car storage area. In 1973,
No. 8 was placed on display in the Cable Car Museum, where it resides
today. On February 22, 2003, this historic cable car became part
of the permanent collection of the Friends of the Cable Car Museum.
This acquisition by the Friends will allow San Franciscans and the
city’s many visitors to continue to enjoy this relic, from
the beginning of the cable car era, at its ideal location –
the Cable Car Museum.
you to Randy Hees and Suzanne Fisher for their research.
Street Railway No. 19. Originally built for the Market Street Cable
Railway in the 1880s and rebuilt into a Sacramento-Clay car by the
United Railroads in 1907. Length, 34'. Width, 8' 2". Seating
Capacity, 40. Out of service since 1942, No. 19 was returned to the
Washington-Mason barn on July 16, 2002 after being stored at Pier
80, for approximately two years. Muni had stored the car previously
at Washington-Mason. Its future status is uncertain, it had been planned
that No. 19 would be restored to operating status and painted the
White Front paint scheme of the Market Street Railway. If this occurs
then No. 19 may see limited service, primarily for charters.
since No. 19 is longer than the double-ended California cars, whose
length is 30' 3," No. 19 may experience clearance, radius and
bottoming problems and thus maybe unable to operate. A prior "road"
test of No. 19 was unsuccessful. The former Sacramento-Clay car
did not make it past the car barn’s Washington Street pullout
gate because of radius problems with its new, California Street
cable car standard trucks — despite modifications to No. 19's
running boards and platform grip slot.
cable No. 19 is turning briefly onto Market Street before turning
onto Sacramento Street for another trip to the Western Addition
and Fillmore Street, late 1930s. Note, the inner rail of the
cable car track, at this point, is the outside rail of the Ferry
Outer Streetcar Loop, used by the Market Street Railway's Sutter
Street lines Nos. 1, 2 and 3 and all Market Street Municipal
Railway car lines.
Photo: Sacramento-Clay No.
19 in storage at the Washington-Mason Car Barn, Spring 1998 before
being stored at a San Francisco’s Pier 80, for approximately
No. 19 being returned to Washington-Mason
is on flatbed truck heading up Jackson Street (above Mason Street)
near the entrance of the cable car barn, July 16, 2002.
Street Railway No. 20. Similar history as No. 19 until 1915
when the United Railroads rebuilt No. 20 a second time
after it had a run-in with a Kearny Street streetcar. Because of this
latter rebuilding, No. 20 was the only car in the Sacramento-Clay
fleet to get an arch roof. Following the abandonment of
the "Sacramento-Clay" line in 1942, No. 20 severed as ticket office
for the Gray Line at Fisherman's Wharf before being motorized in Medford
Oregon, in 1965. The car had been in storage since 1972. In
1996, No. 20 was purchased by The Friends of the Cable Car Museum,
returned to the Bay Area and held for future restoration.
Currently, the Friends are looking for a partner to help restore
No. 20 and find a San Francisco display location.
In the late 1940s early 1950s former
Sacramento-Clay car No. 20 was a Harbor Tours ticket booth at
Photo: Sutter Street dummy
and trailer between Powell and Stockton 1905, illustrates a typical
Sutter Street cable train. On display at the Cable Car Museum is Sutter
Street cable train consisting dummy (grip car) No. 46 and trailer
Street Railway Nos. 46 and 54 were built by Sutter Street Railroad
in the late 1870s. No. 54 was renumbered from No. 49 by the United
Railroads on December 10, 1913. These cars last saw service
on the Pacific Avenue line in 1929. No. 46 and trailer No. 54 were
displayed at the "Cavalcade of the Pacific" exhibition at San Francisco's
1939-40 Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island.
The R&LHS had discovered the grip car and trailer in a Market
Street Railway carbarn in 1938. In storage for many years after
the Treasure Island exposition, the cars were moved to the Museum
in 1968. On February 22, 2003, this historic cable car train became
part of the permanent collection of the Friends of the Cable Car Museum.
This acquisition by the Friends will allow San Franciscans and the
city’s many visitors to continue to enjoy these relics, from
the beginning of the cable car era, at their ideal location –
the Cable Car Museum. See Virtual Tour
of the Museum page for pictures.
Street Railway and post 1944 Municipal Railway 010 was the former Washington-Mason
cable car barn "yard goat" (tractor), where it pushed and pulled
cable cars in the storage track area. It was equipped with a Ford four-cylinder
Model A engine. Acquired by the Friends of the Cable Car Museum and cosmetically
restored by the Market Street Railway (1999), 010 now awaits a San Francisco
display location. Please contact the Cable Car Museum if you could provide
such a location.
Photo: "Yard Goat"
010 is pulling Sacramento-Clay cable car No. 22 out of the car storage
area to place into service, c 1940. From 1907 thru 1982 the car storage
area of the Washington-Mason cable car barn was open. In the current
barn (post 1984) this area is again enclosed, as it was in the original
Cable Car & Yard Goat Need a Home!
Friends of the Cable Car Museum have former Sacramento-Clay Cable Car
No. 20 & Washington-Mason Yard Goat that need a home. Please
check above on this page for details. The museum will place on permanent
loan, in any suitable site (commercial or otherwise), these historic pieces
of equipment. If interested e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
to the Museum's Home Page