San Francisco Unveils New Cable Car

Yesterday, a brand new cable car was added to the city’s historic fleet. The car, a reproduction built using original blueprints, took five years to build and cost $823,000 for materials and labor. The new car, number 15, will serve Powell-Mason line.

“The care and stewardship of this National Historic Landmark requires a strong team of dedicated crafts workers who cultivate the artisanal skills needed to keep it on the move,” said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., San Francisco Mass Transit Authority executive director/CEO. “Their talent will ensure that Car 15 graces the hills of our city for the next 100 years.”

Cable Car 15 features a bright yellow Powell-Mason color scheme that originated in the 1890s. This paint scheme was worn by cable cars on the Powell-Mason line from 1894 to 1902. The Powell-Mason cable car line, which opened in 1888, is the oldest transit line in America still operating on its original route with its original type of motive power and its original type of vehicles. This cable car replaces a car that was built in the East Bay by Carter Brothers and entered service in 1894. It served on the old Sacramento-Clay line before the earthquake and fire of 1906 and on the Powell lines afterward. It was partially rebuilt in 1954 and retired earlier this decade. This is the 15th cable car built from scratch since 1962 and the first since 2001.

The car bears the name of the Market Street Railway Company, one of several defunct organizations that ran in San Francisco. That name is used for the nonprofit which partners with the SFMTA for both the cable cars and the Market Street historic trolleys.

Unveiling of a New Cable Car - June 2009

Unveiling of a New Cable Car - June 2009

Taking one of the first rides on the car were Malia and Sasha Obama, who were in San Francisco with their mother to promote the President’s national volunteering initiative.

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