Cable Car Confessions: The new cable car and its presidential guests


Presenting the July 2009 edition of Cable Car Confessions. This month, Laura tells us all about the newest addition to the fleet, as well as some of its VIP first riders. Our last president and his family never dared set foot in our little burg, much less hitch a ride on one of our historic treasures.

“Ding ding. All aboard. Next stop Powell Street Chinatown. Tickets please, show me your tickets please.” I heard about the unveiling of the new #15 San Francisco cable car from a blogger friend, who lives in Arizona. After hearing about this great cable car confession, I immediately talked to some of the conductors to hear their thoughts on the new car and the special guests riders.

Max, a cable car conductor, told me, “Even though so much has happened and changed in San Francisco, our cable cars are still the center of the inner workings of our city. To us San Franciscans, the sounds of the cable car bells chiming day and night are the natural sounds to the city. “

In fact, I must confess to you that when I travel and can’t hear the cable car bells at night, it feels too quiet. I can’t get to sleep! And if you told me this when I first got to San Francisco, I would have never believed you. I now can’t live without hearing passing cars, car alarms, foghorns and the ringing of bells.

So, how does San Francisco celebrate its 25th anniversary of full cable car service returning to the city? Well, this past June, the city unveiled a shiny new cable car. Juan, another cable car conductor, announced, “We’re all excited about welcoming the new #15 car to the San Francisco Municipal family, as I think it will breathe new life into what we do every day.” He also shared that it took more than five years and nearly thirty people to build, create and mold the new cable car by working off century-old blueprints.

A couple of hours after it started operating, cable car #15 was ridden by some very special riders: the first daughters Malia and Sasha Obama, along with their grandmother. Juan observed, “The first daughters were well-behaved, quiet and excited to see the sights of our city. They got onto the cable car at Nob Hill and rode it to Lombard Street. They really made a great day even brighter.”

Did you know that it’s a cable car tradition for the workers, who helped to build the cable car, to sign their names in places that riders will never see? Did you hear about the first family riding the cable car in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago? Have any celebrities or dignitaries visited your city?

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