A California Cable Car in Connecticut?

Why the trade of a historical relic is good for San Francisco transit.

San Francisco loves its iconic attraction … the Golden Gate Bridge, the Transamerica Pyramid, Sutro Tower, even the fog. They are indelible images of the city’s identity, emblazoned on T-shirts, scaled down to charm bracelets and captured on just about every visitor’s Instagram or Facebook Page. One of the most popular, the cable car, still rattles and rolls over Powell and across California from Market Street to Fisherman’s Wharf, clinging to a track that often favors the hair-raising vertical over the horizontal.

One of the oldest surviving cable cars is headed to a museum … in Connecticut. It may seem like an odd home for a California icon, but San Francisco will get function over friction with the deal

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “The city’s Municipal Transportation Agency board approved donating cable car No. 28 to the Shore Line Trolley Museum in East Haven, Conn. In return, the museum will sell two streetcars to San Francisco for $198,000. It is an unusual trade deal‑the cable car, which dates from 1887, is fit only for museum display. But the city hopes to rehabilitate the streetcars it is getting in return and operate them on the Muni’s E line on the Embarcadero.”

Rick Laubscher, president of the nonprofit Market Street Railway, a transit historical group, thinks it’s a good deal.

“We are trading a cable car that won’t run for two streetcars that will run,” he said.

You can read more about the history of cable car No. 28 here.

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