Monday, January 19, 2009

San Francisco's Cable Cars

Despite the 40-something temperature, dozens of passengers lined up at the Friedel Klussmann Memorial Turnaround to buy tickets for a ride on San Francisco's famed cable cars. Across the street, empty cars on the Powell-Hyde line awaited customers.

It's been 25 years since the city of San Francisco totally overhauled its cable car system, from track to cars. But the tradition began in 1878 with only a brief interruption from 1982 to 1984, during the overhaul. Today there are three primary routes - the Powell-Hyde, the Powell-Mason and the California Street lines.

I first rode a cable car across the city's brick-paved streets in elementary school, with my family and then when my Girl Scout troop had lunch in Chinatown. Thirty years later, I grabbed an outer bar and hung off the side of another car with a traveling buddy, as another friend took our picture. But I didn't have time to 'ride the rails' during this visit. Something to look forward to, the next time I'm in the city by the bay.

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