Cable Car Museum, San Francisco

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 Reviews

1201 Mason Street, San Francisco (415) 474-1887

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  • Boards explain the history and workings
    Boards explain the history and workings
    by iandsmith
  • Cable Car Museum
    by MJL
  • Cable Car Museum
    by MJL
  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Cable Car Museum

    by iandsmith Written Aug 24, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is what runs the cable cars
    1 more image

    My unnatural curiousity nagged at me. How could a cable run all that way around beneath the city streets and pull those antiquated machines up and down hills?
    Well, I went to the Cable Car Museum to try and get some answers and got most of them but somehow I still can't quite grasp that the whole thing can work.
    From the first run in 1873 to the present. Learn about the inventor, technologies, builders, rapid expansion, near loss and the ongoing efforts to save and rebuild the cable cars of San Francisco.
    The Museum houses a collection of historic cable cars, photographs, mechanical displays and gift shop run by the Friends of the Cable Car Museum - a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of cable car history.
    In here you'll find large wheels around which the cable revolve and that, my friends, is basically what drives the system. In the cars themselves the operators work what looks like a brake lever to grasp and release the cable that is running beneath the roadway. It takes a good feel and plenty of strength. You won't see the "drivers" in the gym, they get their workout just working the lever.
    Located in the Washington-Mason powerhouse and carbarn on Nob Hill it has three cars that date back to the 1870's.
    The Cable Car Museum was established in 1974. It is operated by the Friends of the Cable Car Museum as a nonprofit educational facility.

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  • mindcrime's Profile Photo

    Cable Car Museum

    by mindcrime Updated Jan 20, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Cable Car Museum
    4 more images

    This is a small museum that won’t really take much of your time but worth a visit if you happen to be up the Nob Hill. There are some antique cable cars, small detailed replicas, brake mechanisms and tools, historic photos and a small souvenir shop. From the museum deck you see some huge engines and winding wheels that pull that move the cables under the street! You can go down the steps and watch it from close distance.

    The museum opened in 1974 and although looking the huge engines downstairs was impressive, the 3 antique cable cars that date back from 1870 are the highlight (pic 2 shows the No.54 trailer the only surviving car from the first cable car company. The small gift shop has some nice magnets and several prints in normal prices.

    There’s no entrance fee. The museum is open 10.00-18.00 (till 17.00 october to march)

    After visiting the museum we noticed a broken tram just outside the museum (pic 5). For more than 10’ we stayed and watched how they were trying to fix the problem while the passengers were waiting at California avenue.

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  • Tom_Fields's Profile Photo

    San Francisco Cable Car Museum

    by Tom_Fields Updated Jan 2, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Cable Car Museum
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    Not just a museum, this is a real working facility which still controls the movement of the famous cable cars. See for yourself the elaborate workings of this National Historic Monument--the only one that actually moves. Designed by Andrew Smith Hallidie in the 1870s, this system was far ahead of its time.

    Hours: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm in winter, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm summer (April to September).

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  • cheap_tourist's Profile Photo

    Cable Car Museum

    by cheap_tourist Updated Jul 20, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Winding Wheels That Pull The Cable

    If you are into cable cars (or even if you're not) then you must visit the FREE Cable Car Museum at the NW corner of Mason and Washington. Aside from the antique cable cars, mechanical devices, and memorabilia on display there; you also get to see the actual cables that make the cable cars move. The cables (one for each line), move at a constant speed of 9.5 mph underneath the street. Cable cars latches on to a cable in order to move.

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  • stevepart's Profile Photo

    Cable Car Museum

    by stevepart Written May 18, 2005
    Family enjoys the Cable Car Museum

    The Cable Car Museum is located where the machinery that moves the cables that move the cars is located. It even has the smell of an oily machine room. You can see the maintenance people working during the day. There are several displays depicting the history of the cable car. A video plays in the back of the museum. A gift shop with an emphasis on Cable Car gifts is in the museum. The best part is the price - FREE.

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  • SmileyLeSa's Profile Photo

    Cable Car Museum

    by SmileyLeSa Updated Mar 9, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Cable Car Museum

    Next to the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars are one of the things San Fran is known best for.

    The Cable Car museum has old cable cars and their mechanics on display. Learn about the inventors, technologies, and builders behind cable cars.

    Hours
    10 am - 6 pm
    April 1 thru September 30

    10 am - 5 pm
    October 1 thru March 31

    Open every day except New Year's Day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

    Admission is Free.

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  • Cable Car Museum

    by allybobb Written Nov 3, 2004

    The museum is a great place to learn everything about how the cable cars around San Fran run. It is all controlled from this location which is really cool and to actually be in the museum and hear the sounds of the cable car lines being controlled is awesome.

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  • dila's Profile Photo

    cable car museum

    by dila Updated Aug 3, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    i wanted to see this because i am a tramdriver and wanted to see how it works because the cable is undergrounds.
    the entrance is free but you can give an donation if you want.
    you can also buy all kind of souvenirs about the cablecar.
    entrance free
    open 10 - 17.00

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  • cruisingbug's Profile Photo

    Cable Car Museum

    by cruisingbug Written Aug 2, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Cable Car Driving Sheaves, San Francisco

    This was our first stop in SF - and it's free! More than a museum - this is a working powerhouse. The cables are actually turning inside the building, and you can watch workers at their jobs below. Around the perimeter are explanatory plaques and historical information. Above is the cable car barn where the cars are stored at night (you can't see this from the museum).

    Displays also focus on the cable car system revitalization in 1982 and historic cars which are now out of service.

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  • sunnywong's Profile Photo

    Cable Car Museum

    by sunnywong Written Feb 25, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    (daily 10am–6pm; free) with exhibits of vintage cable cars and associated memorabilia.
    Museum goers have the choice of visiting the observation gallery or descending to the sheave (pronounced 'shiv') room to view the system's underground cables.

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  • acemj's Profile Photo

    Cable Car Museum.

    by acemj Written Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Okay, I know San Francisco is an expensive city. Wanna' go do something fun and FREE?! At the Cable Car Museum, you can see historic cars, the underground cable network and everything you ever wanted to know about the cable cars!

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