The Cable Cars of San Francisco are one of the biggest attractions of San
Francisco. It is difficult to believe that in a glittering mega-city and modern
place like San Francisco, a historically important and old-styled cable cars
co-exist and run next to multi-storied buildings. That proves that the city of
San Francisco values it's heritage. These cable cars were designated as historic
landmarks by the National Park Service in 1964. Do not miss taking pictures next
to these famous attractions.
The Cable Cars weigh about 6 tons each and are guided by an intricate system of pulleys. They are hauled by a cable under the street in a center rail driven by over 500 horsepower electric motors, which push them at a constant speed of 9.5 miles per hour. Once the most popular form of public transportation for early San Franciscans, the cable cars have become a major tourist attraction of San Francisco. They are one of the best ways of exploring the city since they pass through many well known sights - Fisherman's Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, North Beach, Union Square and Chinatown.
Cable Cars History:
One would think what triggered the idea of cable cars at the very first place and when. It all started in 1869 when Andrew Hallidie, owner of a wire-rope factory for mines, saw the death of five horses as a horse-drawn streetcar slide backwards due to heavy load. He decided to use his experience and with the backing of city and financers he constructed the first cable railway in 1873. At one point there were eight transit companies operating 600 cars covering over 50 miles on 21 routes. This trend spread to other cities too which abandoned horse drawn cars for electrically driven powered cars.
Cable Car Routes and Popular Attractions to see:
You have to buy cable car tickets each time you ride it. So if you plan to ride them multiple times, it is a good idea to buy a Muni PASSPORT which will save you money and you will not have to pay over and over for the tickets. Each cable car usually takes less than sixty passengers at a time and operating hours are usually 6:00 a.m. to a little over midnight. The San Francisco cable cars run on three routes -
This line runs north and west, from Market and Powell to Aquatic Park. Popular attractions it also passes by are Lombard street, Union Square, Ghirardelli Square and Cable Car Museum.
This line runs from Drumm Street to Van Ness Avenue. Popular attractions you can visit on this route are Chinatown, Nob Hill and Financial district.
This line goes from Market and Powell to Bay and Taylor Streets. You can use this to see North Beach and the famous Fisherman's Wharf where it ends.
San Francisco Cable Cars Museum:
This is the best place to learn how the Cable cars work. Not only does the museum preserve history but it is also the powerhouse for the system. Admission to San Francisco Cable Car Museum is free. It s located on the Mason Street and has a collection of photographs and mechanical displays. You will also see many historic cable cars and is run by a nonprofit organization. The Museum is closed on New Year's Day, Christmas, Easter Sunday and Thanksgiving. Operating hours are between 10:00 AM to 6:00 P.M. ( until 5:00 PM in winters). Please visit sfcablecar.com and cablecarmuseum.org for the latest information.