Cable Car Museum

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1201 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA, USA - (415) 474-1887

Cable Car Museum San Francisco Reviews

andrejav andrejav
751 reviews
Cable cars Aug 05, 2013
I stumbled to this place by walking down the Washington street in San Francisco. Cable Car Museum is an old train depot that is currently serving as a heart for all tram movements in San Fran. This is the place where all four existing lines get their cable from and you can see huge wheels moving cable, check the distribution of those cables and see the way how cable cars work. Museum is located on the gallery above the cable space so you can enjoy in monotone tranquility of the machine movement. Entrance is free and museum has nice examples of the cable cars, explanations how everything works and lots of history timelines.
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travelfan1963 travelfa…
88 reviews
Unique Transportation in San Francisco Sep 08, 2009
Cable cars are a part of the character of San Francisco. The sound of the trolley bell ringing can bring a smile to visitors and locals alike.

For those who are interested in the history of the cable car, the Cable Car Museum provides excellent details about the background of San Francisco's cable cars.

Initially, horse-drawn cars didn't work well as horses couldn't climb the steep San Francisco hills. Cable cars were a transportation solution.

Unfortunately, with the catastrophic earthquake of 1906 and the rise of motorized vehicles, the demise of cable cars began. By 1947, locals were advised that the City was planning to replace cable cars with buses--and the locals revolted. A citizens committee was formed to save the cable cars and on November 4, 1947, a ballot initiative saved San Francisco's beloved cable car system.

The technology to run cable cars is simple as this is comprised of motors, gears and sheaves. Cable cars do not work on their own power--they only work by gripping into the cable. Cable cars run at a speed of 9.5 mph, and are supported by a continuously moving cable under San Francisco's streets. The grip in the cable car works like a pair of pliers, gripping into the moving cable.

Detailed information about San Francisco's cable cars is available at the museum. Photos (some tragic) about the 1906 earthquake are included as well as details about San Francisco's original eight lines.

This museum is definitely worth a look and the price is right (it's free). While the museum is fairly small, I recommend this stop to visitors as cable cars are so much a part of the unique fabric of San Francisco.
Entrance to the Cable Car Museum
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