Rail; Cable Cars, Volume 1, Images by Wernher Krutein, Bill Goidell, and PHOTOVAULT®

This page contains samples from our picture files on the Cable Cars of San Francisco. These iamges are available for licensing in any media. For Pricing, General Guidelines, and Delivery information click here. You may contact us thru email or by phone for more information on the use of these images, and any others in our files not shown here. Our Cable Car images can be linked to as follows: Cable Cars; Volume 1, Cable Cars; Volume 2, Cable Cars; Volume D1


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San Francisco's cable car system is unique in that it is the only street railway in which the cars do not operate under their own power. In fact the Cars even put energy back in the system when gripping the cable down hill. The Cable Cars have a magical like alure for both residents and visitors alike.

After seeing a horrible accident in San Francisco with a horse drawn trolley in 1869 caused by misty wet slippery streets and a steep hill, Andrew Hallidie knew he had to do something. Born in England, Hallidie moved to the U.S. in 1852. His father filed the first patent in Great Britain for the manufacture of a new "wire- rope" cable. In his early years in California Hallidie found uses for his fathers patent in California's Gold Country. He found great advantage in using the wire-rope for pulling heavy ore cars out of the underground mines on tracks. He also used the patented wire-rope as a key component in the design and construction of a suspension bridge across the American River in Sacramento California. The stage was set for the utilization of the technologies that would become the San Francisco Cable Car system.

After witnessing the tragic accident that fateful day Hallidie began thinking of a way to eliminate the dangers of horse drawn trolleys. He devised a brilliant scheme in which the cars would derive their power mechanically, by "gripping" and "ungripping" a continuously moving steel cable. Between the rails he would place a conduit underneath a steel slot. By simply pulling a set of levers the driver could attach the car to this amazingly efficient power source. The cable is powered by an engine in the centrally-located powerhouse.

In 1873 Hallidie finally realized his dream and the San Francisco Cable car system became the world's first cable-powered street railway. During the next fifteen years, many cities in the U.S. and elsewhere built cable railways to replace horse-powered streetcars. When electric streetcars became practical in the late 1880s, they quickly replaced cable cars almost everywhere. San Francisco is now the only remaining city in the world to operate cable cars. The last previous survivor in the U.S. was Seattle Washington (1940), and internationally the city of Dunedin in New Zealand (1957).

San Francisco's cable cars too almost became extinct in the late 1940s. A popular campaign led by Mrs. Friedel Klussman led to a referendum which added to the city charter a provision that requires the continued operation of the cable cars. In the 1950's some routes were abandoned, producing the current configuration. In the 1980s the system was shut down and completely overhauled, ensuring its continued operation for many years to come. I still marvel when I see these wonderfully nostalgic Cable Cars delighting those that are fortunant and adventurous enough to give them a ride.

The Cable Cars are reserved as national historic moving landmark. You can view one of the original cable cars at the Cable Car Museum, it is painted maroon with cream and white trim, their original colors in 1873. There is an annual bell ringing contest held in Downtown San Francisco Union Square that finds the most creative bell ringers.

The present day system operates three routes: Powell and Market to Fisherman's Wharf, Powell and Market to Victorian Park, and on California from Market to Van Ness. The fare is $2 and there are no transfers. Hours of operation are 6:00 am to 1:00 am. They can be crowded so give yourself plenty of time to board them at the terminus of each line.

Our art images in the vault for this category includes: Acadamy of Sciences, Alcatraz Island, Bay Bridge, Cable Cars, China Town, City Hall, Coit Tower, Conservatory Of Flowers, Ferry Building, Fishermans Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Marina Green, Multi-Media-Gulch. Painted Victorians, Palace of Fine Arts, Pier 39, Presidio, SF Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), Trans America Pyramid, Treasure Island, Yerba Buena Island, Our San Francisco pages can be linked to as follows:

San Francisco Volume 1, San Francisco Volume 2, San Francisco Volume 3, San Francisco Volume 4, San Francisco Volume 5, San Francisco Volume 6, San Francisco Volume 7, San Francisco Volume 8, San Francisco Volume 9, San Francisco Volume 10, San Francisco Volume 11, San Francisco Volume 12, San Francisco Volume 13, San Francisco Volume 14, San Francisco Volume 15, San Francisco Volume 16, San Francisco Volume 17, San Francisco Volume 18, San Francisco Volume 19, San Francisco Volume 20, San Francisco Volume 21, San Francisco Volume 22

Included in the Vault are California images of: Armstrong Woods National Park, Big Sur, Devils Postpile National Monument, Lake Tahoe, Lassen Peak National Park, Lava Beds National Monument, Mono Lake, Mount Shasta, Mt. Tamalpais Marin County, Muir Woods National Monument, Patricks Point State Park, Point Reyes National Seashore, Redwood National Park, Russian River, Salt Point State Park, San Mateo Coast, Nature Monterey, Yosemite National Park, Oak Trees, Redwood Trees, Bodie Ghost Town, Half Moon Bay, Austin Creak State Park, Mammoth Mountain, Mt. Diablo, Shasta Lake.

See also: Cities: San Francisco Bay Area, CITIES, Nature N California, Cities Northern California, Sacramento, NATURE, Nature: Southern California, Nature: Oregon, Nature: Nevada, Fishing Boats, San Francisco International Airport, Oakland Airport, San Jose Airport, Calistoga Airfield, Concord Airport, Fremont Airport, Half Moon Bay Airport, Hayward Airport, Palo Alto. Airport, Petaluma Airport, San Carlos Airport, San Martin Airport, Watsonville Airport. Our many Northern California Nature and Scenics pages can be linked to as follows:

Nature N. Cal BW-1, Nature N. Cal BW-2, Nature N. Cal Volume 1, Nature N. Cal Volume 2, Nature N. Cal Volume 3, Nature N. Cal Volume 4, Nature N. Cal Volume 5, Nature N. Cal Volume 6, Nature N. Cal Volume 7, Nature N. Cal Volume 8, Nature N. Cal Volume 9

See also: TRANSPORTATION, VEHICLES, Freight Trains, Cable Cars, Buses, Light Rail Transit, Heavy Rail Transit, Rail Accidents, Trams, Classic Cars, Racing, Tunnels, Carts, Road Signs, Limousines, RV's & Campers, Model Trains


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