21 May 2012

The Famous Cable Cars of San Francisco

Yesterday, having arrived a day early for our tour, we took the chance to ride on a few of the cable cars in this fabulous city. We started off at The Cannery Wharf where one of the cable car's turntable is. Being Saturday, we had to queue for about 15 minutes before we got on one of the cars but it was worth while waiting. It took us up Hyde Street right past Lombard Street. we stayed on up to the Cable car Museum and got off to visit the museum where also the engines are that drive the cables all around the city.
At the turntable, the driver rotates the car and guides it onto the other track.

Inside the car, with the driver in front
 When the car takes off, the driver applies a clamp to the constantly moving cable below the street level with a kind of clamp. The car then moves at the speed of the cable until the driver releases the clamp, applies the brake and the car comes to a stop.
Our car after we jumped off, outside the museum.

These giganic machines turn the fly wheels which in turn move the cables on rollers around the city.

Looking out of the car going back to our hotel
The shot above really does not show how steep some of the roads are in San Francisco where the cable cars run.


  1. Great shots William of the streets of San Francisco.
    Now having been fully trained to be as fit as possible by one, Diane, in your "walkies" here prior to leaving, now a miserable looking day in Brisbane, how about you and "TOH" walk up that crooked street?
    ( Please note Julie, just one ?)
    Have you been to Fisherman's Wharf yet, to sample the magnificent sea food?

    Looks like you are really enjoying magnificent weather, that really is the big bonus on travel. Keep having a great time, that's the two of you.
    PS: Just in case - only two of these used (?)

  2. Thanks, Bill, for the great photos and a chance to revisit the city and the cable cars. I used to live in SF in the '50's and ride the cars to get from place to place and didn't think of them as being special. You are so right about how steep some of the streets are... I used to have trouble keeping my balance on the really steep hills trying to walk down hill. I love, love the sound of the cable car bells! I could almost hear them. Have fun!

  3. Hey, Colin, you are doing quite well. Betcha have a relapse, but ...

    Bill, I never knew that. I did not know that there is a constantly moving cable in the rut that the trolley clamps onto and gets pulled along. It is all very mechanical, whereas our trams, when we had them, were at least into the era of electricity.

    I could hear your excitement in your post. Great stuff!

  4. Hi Julie.
    Just as well this is Bill Bohlen's blog and not a blog of one Craig Thompson. There would be more question marks than you could climb over. Oh Bill, you missed here the best Oscar winning performance ever, staged in Canberra under Parlimentary Privilege! The papers and TV will be full of this still, I reckon by the time you return.
    More shenanigans than a pit full of agitated worms.
    Oh by the way, how did the "saucey WMD" go with David? ( oops, well it was necessary - that's the funny thing after David)


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