San Francisco's World Famous Cable Cars

No. 16 - San Francisco Municipal Railway (1944-46) - Market Street Railway
No. 16

San Francisco Municipal Railway (1944-46)

Built 1990 by Muni shops

When it bought out Market Street Railway in 1944, Muni’s official colors for its streetcars and buses were blue with yellow trim. Muni painted two Powell cable cars into this scheme (today’s No. 3 and No. 10).

Cable Car 16 at nightBill Storage photo.

However, this repainting project stalled and Muni soon reverted to Market Street Railway’s green as its primary fleet color, with cream fronts and trim, a color scheme that also adorned all new Muni streetcars and buses for 25 years.
But the blue and gold (actually yellow) livery represents an important period in Muni history, and so is represented in the Powell Street cable car fleet by No. 16.

Powell Street Cable Car Specifications

Number of Cars
28 on roster (Maximum of 19 in service at one time)

60 (29 seated + 31 standing)

15,500 lb (7,030 kg)

27′ 6″ (8.4 m)

10′ 5″ (3.2 m)

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