San Francisco – Cable Cars

One of the most interesting modes of transport in San Francisco is the cable car system. Although they look like trams, they are actually pulled along by cables beneath the road and controlled by the gripman onboard. The gripman controls a grip lever to grip or release the cable and thus controls whether the cable car moves or stops.

Cable Car Gripman
Cable Car approaching the Lombard Street stop

At the 2 end points of a particular cable car route, there are “turnarounds”, which is basically a large wooden turntable which lets the cable car turn around 180° and return to the other end. At this point, the conductor and gripman gets out of the cable car and pushes it almost a full turn.

At the Powell-Hyde turnaround, a tap dancer keeps everyone entertained. This makes the long queue a bit more bearable. I couldn’t film more of it as the queue had to move on and I can no longer get a good angle.

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