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San Francisco Cable Cars

Together with the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars are one of San Francisco's great symbols. The cable cars in San Francisco are the only ones that are still operational in the world, and are one of the city's greatest attractions.

Cable cars were first introduced to San Francisco by London-born engineer Andrew Hallidie. According to some accounts, Hallidie decided to create cable cars after watching horses carrying a carriage on a very steep hill and falling back. The accident killed five horses, and since Hallidie had some experience with using wire ropes in mines, he vowed to create a means of transportation that would replace horses without using an engine. Many in San Francisco were skeptical about this project; going as labeling it Hallidie's Folly, but four years later in 1873, the first cable car was born.

San Francisco City  -  Atractions in San Francisco - Cable Cars

Today, cable cars are part of the San Francisco Municipal Railway System, nicknamed the "Muni" and go from Fisherman's Wharf to Union Square. When cable cars first started in San Francisco, they were an important means of transport. However, circumstances such as the adoption of electric street cars and buses that could climb up steep hills, but also the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, caused the number of lines to decline with time. Today the San Francisco cable cars operate on three separate routes the Powell-Mason line, the Powell-Hyde Line and the California Street Line.

The San Francisco cable cars are mostly used by tourists, but also some local commuters, and are a must experience for anyone coming to San Francisco. There are two types of cable cars; single-ended cars which serve the Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde Lines with a seating capacity of 60, and the double-ended cars which serve the California Street Line with a seating capacity of 68. Cable cars are operated by conductors called "gripmen."

Cable cars cost approximately $5per ride each way. If you're visiting the city, the best deal is to get a passport for either one, three or seven days and allow unlimited riding on cable cars, street cars and buses. The best way to catch a cable car is to wait at the turnarounds. During peak seasons, there can be a long wait to access a cable car. If you can, make like the locals and try to catch a cable car while it makes a stop or wave to the gripman to stop. Just follow the tracks, have your cash ready, wait until the car comes to a complete stop, hop on and hold on tight to the poles.

San Francisco City  -  Atractions in San Francisco - Cable Cars

Cable cars are a San Francisco area institution and the city's pride and joy. If you want to learn everything there is to know about the cable cars, then you should head over to the Cable Car Museum. The museum was established in 1974 and is located on Mason Street in the historic Washington/ Mason Cable Car barn and powerhouse. Entry is free and here you will learn a lotof information about cable cars and their history. Plus you will get to see the various mechanical displays of the cable car devices such as brakes and grips. You can even see three different antique cable cars from the 1870s which are the only remaining cable cars from the first cable car company. Before leaving, don't forget to take a look at the museum's gift shop where you can get many interesting gifts, memorabilia and souvenirs.

Cable Cars are located throughout San Francisco

San Francisco City  -  Atractions in San Francisco - Cable Cars

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