San Francisco's World Famous Cable Cars

Streetcar.org San Francisco Market Street Railway Museum
No.2

San Francisco Municipal Railway (1984-current)

Built 1893 by Carter Brothers

The current standard paint scheme for Powell Street cable cars honors the very first paint design, displayed on Powell cable car No. 1. It is a simplified version of the historic 1888 livery resurrected in 1973 to celebrate the centennial of the world’s first cable car line on Clay Street.

Cable Car and the Golden Gate BridgeRichard Panse photo.

While the cable car tracks, carbarn and powerhouse were being completely rebuilt between 1982-84, Muni repaired and repainted all the cable cars, and decided to replace the green and cream Muni livery adopted in the 1940s (already gone from buses) with a simpler version of the car No. 1 livery.
Today, Powell Street cable cars 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, and 28 wear this livery.
(The details at the bottom of this page pertain to cable car No. 2. Specific histories of each cable car can be found on the cable car roster page.)

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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