In 1954, the last O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde Street cable car descended the iconic Hyde Street hill to Aquatic Park, which at the time was a dirt lot. The very active federal prison on Alcatraz provided the backdrop. The smells of chocolate from the Ghirardelli factory wafted through the air, along with the sounds of the locals at the neighborhood bar known as the Buena Vista Cafe, which had just invented a new drink called “Irish Coffee.”
Thus ended a cable car line that opened in 1891. While Muni revived the Hyde Street trackage with different cable cars and connected it to Powell Street, the double-ended O’Farrell cars were never expected to run on Hyde again.
But one did, at 9 a.m. sharp on Saturday, September 24. The only surviving cable car painted in the colors of the O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde line departed the cable car barn at Washington & Mason Streets to celebrate the 125th anniversary of cable car service on Hyde Street.
This cable car, reacquired by the non-profit, Market Street Railway, and restored in a collaborative effort by volunteers and Muni’s expert cable car maintenance team to full current safety standards (but retaining its original 1906 appearance), carried a small group of guests on a one-of-a-kind ceremonial trip.
And congratulations to David Sandusky who correctly identified the special cable car.
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