Cable Cars of San Francisco. a Living History

By: Tatyana Kogut.

San Francisco cable cars are a living history and a convenient mode of transport at a time. These old cars travel around the city streets, and help create an exceptional charming atmosphere. That is why city administration does a lot to renovate old tramlines and build new ones.
Nowadays trams are the true emblems of San Francisco, just like the world-known Golden Gate Bridge. They are portrayed on souvenirs, advertisement and travel prospects. There were some attempts to abolish trams - but those were unsuccessful. Now they are one of the most popular travel city attractions.
The city pays much attention to tram rails and at the same time collects old cars from across the world. Thanks to local authorities and enthusiasts there are two wonderful railway museums found in San Francisco. Their exhibits can be seen on the city streets. One of the museums specializes on famous cable cars - small cars crawling along San Francisco hills. These are often shot in movies. A trip on a cable car is a real pleasure, especially if you manage to take a seat with a good view over the city. But don't just look around, skillful drivers also deserve your attention.

But, even though cable cars are rather convenient and cheap, local people don't use them that often. The reason is simple: they are too popular with tourists. Nowadays, when travel business in USA is on the rise, large queues are waiting for their cable car to arrive.
Catching a simple streetcar is much easier. The only problem is that all of them are rather old. Streetcars go along line F, which stretches along the famous Embarcadero Freeway in the city centre.
Tram route lies along the central Market Street. Tourists are greeted with a bell ring and early in the morning, when city visitors are still sleeping, streetcars are filled with common workers. Sometimes drivers even know some passengers by their names, remember where to stop and what to talk with them about.
At daytime the "antiquity driver" is eager to do the job of a professional guide - he is the best person to tell you how to get to some city stop and where to get off. Chatting with drivers is pleasant, if they are disposed for it. Most of them are friendly, well-humoured and ready to make comments about the trip.
Very often tourists get really amazed when they see streetcars of their childhood. No, this is not an illusion - trams from different parts of the world do really ride along the streets of San Francisco. Those are distinguished veterans. Most of them were built in 1946 - 1948, however some appeared earlier. The oldest one was "born" in 1895. Moreover, there are about 10 streetcars from Milam riding around the city. Those were built in 1928. Sometimes you can also see cars from England, Portugal, Japan, Australia, Belgium, Germany and Soviet Union. But these are usually well-kept, they don't work every day.
How it all started? In the beginning of the 1980s' they wanted to deconstruct the line. When the first metro station was opened, they decided to mark the occasion with a tram festival. The festival got very popular and later on old trams started their regular work. Many tourists think that this is one of the best and cheapest ways to move around the city centre. In past you could easily find a seat in a tram or a cable car. However, nowadays they are always full of people.

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