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Keywords:Cable Car Museum, Glenn Franco Simmons, San Francisco, San Francisco Cable Car Museum, cable cars
San Francisco Cable Car Museum

San Francisco Cable Car Museum

"The Cable Car Museum was established in 1974," according to the museum's Website. "It is operated by the Friends of the Cable Car Museum as a nonprofit educational facility.

"Located in the historic Washington-Mason cable car barn and powerhouse, the museum deck overlooks the huge engines and winding wheels that pull the cables. Downstairs is a viewing area of the large sheaves and cable line entering the building through the channel under the street.

"On display are various mechanical devices such as grips, track, cable, brake mechanisms, tools, detailed models, and a large collection of historic photographs.

"The museum houses three antique cable cars from the 1870s. The Sutter Street Railway No. 46 grip car & No. 54 trailer and the only surviving car from the first cable car company, the Clay Street Hill Railroad No. 8 grip car."

"During the heyday of the cable cars from 1880 to 1906, nine different railroad companies operated 22 cable car lines throughout San Francisco," according to an info-graphic at the San Francisco Cable Car Museum. "To prevent other operators from using their tracks, each company used different track gauges.

"Because the distance between the rails was different, all the trucks had different widths. It wasn't until 1956 that the gauges for the three remaining lines were standardized by MUNI to allow for a more uniform and efficient operation."

The Clay Street Hill Railroad grip car No. 8, displayed in the San Francisco Cable Car Museum, is the only car that survived from the original 1873 fleet. The museum said it is the world's oldest cable car.

"Car No. 8 was almost lost," the museum states. "The tiny grip car had been sent to Chicago for display at the 1893 Colombian Exposition. Forty years later, it was discovered at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum in Baltimore and returned to San Francisco by the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society.

"After its return to San Francisco, car No. 8 and the Sutter Street Railway Co.'s grip car No. 46 and trailer No. 54 were displayed at the 'Cavalcade of the Pacific' exhibition at San Francisco's 1939-40 Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island. In storage for many years after the Treasure Island exposition, the cars were moved to this car barn in 1968."

This photo was taken prior to me purchasing my present professional gear. I hope to return someday and get some better photos. For now, these will do. I highly recommend visiting the museum if you are in San Francisco.