San Francisco's World Famous Cable Cars

No. 21

San Francisco Municipal Railway, 1984-current

Built 1992 by Muni

Powell Cable Car 21 was built new in 1992 by Muni’s Cable Car Carpentry Shop. It is built in the style of the 1893 car built by Carter Brothers, but the car it replaced was actually built for Mahoney Brothers in 1887 as part of the original Ferries & Cliff House Railway, and the Mahoney cars featured more complex, slightly taller roofs, with two rows of side windows in the clerestory .

No. 21 - San Francisco Municipal Railway, 1984-current
Powell Car 21 passes Union Square in 2022. The historic St. Francis Hotel is on the right. Rick Laubscher photo

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