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Video: Refreshing SF’s Cable Car Gearboxes

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Friday, September 22, 2017



Photos of mechanics deconstructing a large, wheel-shaped sheave in the cable car barn and powerhouse.
Crews at the Cable Car Barn and Powerhouse began work today to rehabilitate the first gearbox in the system.


As we wrote last week, the California Cable Car Line is the first line to be shut down starting today as we rehabilitate the five gearboxes that control the movement of cables in the system.


In our video below, you can see our crews start the eight-day process at the Cable Car Barn and Powerhouse. These gearboxes have been in service since 1984, and each needs a thorough overhaul to keep San Francisco’s world-famous cable cars running safely and reliably. After the eight-day rehab process, our crews will monitor the gearboxes while they’re in service and make any mechanical adjustments needed.


To allow this crucial work to happen, the California Line is being served by buses from today until next Friday, Sept. 29, and three more eight-day cable car service shutdowns will come over the next two years.


Here’s the approximate schedule:


  • Sept. 22 - 29: California Line
  • Spring 2018: Powell Line (Powell Street portion of the Mason and Hyde lines)
  • Fall 2018: Mason Line (Mason Street, Columbus Avenue and Taylor Street)
  • Spring or Fall 2019: All cable car lines (required to rehab the central Hyde Line gearbox)


We’ll update riders with more detailed timelines on these shutdowns as they become clear. We appreciate your patience as we work to preserve San Francisco’s world-famous cable car system.


Cable Car Gearbox Rehabilitation Project