THE TROLLEY STOP
Cable Cars Were Even Faster, And More Efficient
Horse Car Systems Are Replaced by Cable Powered Street Railways
In the early 1870s, cable powered street railway systems were perfected. A number of large horse car systems in the United States, were quickly converted to this more economical, and dependable system, of powering street cars.
IMAGE-CLICK HERE >>> A view of a San Francisco cable car in service during the 1940's. (Postcard from the Collection of Rick Russell)
How Cable Cars Operate
Cable cars were not powered by electricity from an overhead wire. Instead, cable cars were pulled along by a continuously running cable, that moved at a constant speed. The cable was buried just beneath the surface of the street, in a slot between the running rails.
The operator of a cable car is known as a "gripman" not a "motorman", as on an electric trolley line. The gripman gets his name from the several large levers his uses to control (start and stop) the cable car, which are known as grips.
One of the grips is used, to attach the cable car, to the continuously running cable under the street. When the gripman wants the car to go forward, he pulls back on this grip, which causes a device under the car to grab onto the moving cable, which pulls the car along.
When he wants to stop the car, he pushes that grip forward, which releases the car from the moving cable. To bring the car to a stop, he then pulls back on another lever or grip, which is attached to a mechanical hand braking system, and the car comes to a complete stop.
IMAGE-CLICK HERE >>> The Gripman and Conductor turn a San Francisco cable car around, on a manual turn table, at the end of the line, to begin their return trip. (Postcard from the Collection of Rick Russell)
Cable Cars Ran in Many Major Cities
Some of the major cities where cable cars ran included: San Francisco, which many of you know still has cable car lines today. Also, Chicago, New York, and Washington D.C., just to name a few.
Click on "TROLLEY PARK" here to Continue your ride through the history of the trolley era.
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Last modified: December 19, 1998