San Francisco's World Famous Cable Cars

No. 4

San Francisco Municipal Railway, 1984-current

Built 1994 by Muni Carpentry Shop

Powell Street Cable Car 4 wears the paint scheme that its owner, Muni (part of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency) adopted as the standard for Powell cars when the system reopened after a thorough rebuilding in 1984. This livery is a simplified version of the original 1888 Powell Street cable car livery worn today by Powell Car 1.

No. 4 - San Francisco Municipal Railway, 1984-current
Powell Cable Car 4 passes the famous original Swensen’s Ice Cream store at Union and Hyde Streets.

The current Powell Car 4 was constructed new in 1994 by Muni’s cable car carpentry shop. It replaced an original Powell car built in 1887 as an open-sided cable car that had been enclosed in 1915, but eventually became unsuitable for continued daily operation. That car today is on display in the centerfield pavilion of the Giants’ ballpark at China Basin, numbered 44 (for Giants’ Hall of Famer Willie McCovey.

No. 4 - San Francisco Municipal Railway, 1984-current
The first Powell Cable Car 4 is now in retirement, delighting Giants’ fans on the centerfield pavilion, wearing number 44 (for the late Giants slugger Willie McCovey).

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