Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Cable car on rails

Machinery driving the San Francisco cable car.

(for 'cable car' systems where the vehicles are suspended and not on rails, see aerial tramway)

A cable car on rails is a tram-like vehicle on rails for public transport which is pulled by a cable. A cable car on rails differs from other rail transport modes in that the motive power is in fixed engine that pulls the cable, and thus falls in the category of cable transport. The vehicle itself is usually unpowered. It is thus very similar to a funicular. However single cables may go up one hill and down another. The cable car grips the cable using a grip (a very large pliers). The car is stopped by letting the grip detach from the cable, and then applying brakes.

In San Francisco, California at four o'clock in the morning on August 2, 1873, Andrew Smith Hallidie successfully tested the world's first cable car.

An underground loop of steel cable runs continuously. The vehicles on rail use a gripping device to attach to and detach from the moving cable. Such system is quite effective for the steep streets on the hills of San Francisco. The cable cars are still in operation and represent a world famous tourist attraction.

In Hong Kong, the Peak Tram is a cable car system that runs on rail between the Central district and Victoria Peak. It is a commuter transport system as well as a tourist attraction. At various points along the path, the cars run at an angle over 30 degree. Few self-powered vehicles can climb such steep incline if not pulled by a cable. Duquesne Incline in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA is a similar cable car system.

Cities that have had cable cars include



New Zealand

United Kingdom

United States

See also:

External links