San Francisco's World Famous Cable Cars

Streetcar.org San Francisco Market Street Railway Museum
No.13

United Railroads, 1907-1921

Built 1991 by Muni shops

This cable car is painted in the livery adopted by United Railroads in the aftermath of the great earthquake and fire of 1906. That disaster destroyed or damaged most of San Francisco’s cable car infrastructure, including all the lines on Market Street, which were replaced by streetcars. Virtually the entire Powell Street cable car fleet was incinerated along with the carbarn and powerhouse at Washingon and Mason Streets.
However, more than two dozen identical cable cars serving the Sacramento-Clay route survived and were shifted over to the Powell lines when the carbarn and powerhouse was rebuilt in 1907. The “new” Powell Street cable cars were repainted green with red trim, as were other United Railroads cable cars and streetcars.
With this post-earthquake livery, modeled today on cable car No. 13, green became the base color for Powell Street cable cars for more than three-quarters of a century.

**Powell Street Cable Car Specifications**
**Number of Cars**
28 on roster (Maximum of 19 in service at one time)
**Capacity**
60 (29 seated + 31 standing)
**Weight**
15,500 lb (7,030 kg)
**Length**
27′ 6″ (8.4 m)
**Height**
10′ 5″ (3.2 m)
**Width**
8′ 0″ (2.4 m)
**Track Gauge**
3′ 6″ (1.07 m)
**Round Trip Route Length**
Powell-Mason line: 3.2 mi (5.15 km)
Powell-Hyde line: 4.3 mi (6.92 km)
**Cable Speed**
9.5 mph (15.3 km/h)
**Cable Lengths**
Powell: 9,300 ft (2,835 m)
Mason: 10,300 ft (3,140 m)
Hyde: 16,000 ft (4875 m)
**Cable Motive Power**
510-horsepower electric motor driving four cable winders at powerhouse
**Powerhouse and Carbarn**
Washington and Mason Streets
Built 1887 by Ferries & Cliff House Railway
Rebuilt 1906 by United Railroads
Rebuilt 1982-84 by San Francisco Municipal Railway
**Steepest Grades on Powell Lines**
Powell: 17% between Bush & Pine
Mason: 17% between Union & Green
Hyde: 21% between Bay & Chestnut

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