First female cable car operator’s story coming to a theater near you

At age 52, Fannie Barnes, the now-retired Sacramento resident, became the first woman to operate a San Francisco cable car as a grip. Her story was made into a short documentary that will premiere at the 10th annual LUNAFEST at the Herbst Theater on Thursday. 

Why were there were no female grips before you? It requires a certain amount of upper-body strength, which a lot of women lack. The cable car weighs 8 tons, or 16,000 pounds, when empty, so it’s very difficult to stop.

How did it feel to qualify? It felt absolutely marvelous! When you’re a female doing something that’s male dominated and you become the first female to accomplish that position, it really makes you feel good. I hope that other women will realize that it’s a job that’s very much open to them.

What was the reaction of male drivers? I had more supporters than people against me. Some men were betting money that I would not qualify, but it just made me want to qualify even more.

What are you doing now that you are retired? I’ve been doing a lot of work in Africa. I’m involved with the Ghana Women’s and Children’s Collective. We opened up a school for 1,000 kids, brought them electricity, Internet, three computers and a printer.

shaughey@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsLocalNEPTransittransportation

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have taken different approaches to transit and infrastructure funding. <ins>(Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)</ins>
Bay Area transit has big hopes for a Biden administration

The best chance for local agencies to get relief may be a change in federal leadership

BART Ambassadors are being called on to assist riders in social situations that don’t require police force. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Unarmed BART ambassadors program formalized with a focus on community service

Public safety and police reform are key elements in campaigns of Board members Dufty and Simon

East Bay hills and Port of Oakland visible from Point San Bruno Park jetty. (Shutterstock)
East Bay agencies urge precautionary evacuations ahead of wind event

At least two East Bay jurisdictions suggested Sunday that residents in the… Continue reading

Nate Durand of Chug Pub created an election-themed cocktail which has several names: Biden Harris, Barris, Hiden, and/or Dem Juice. (Saul Sugarman/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Drink blue, no matter who

But bar parties aren’t planned for Election Day

Lee Vining and Inyo National Forest are excellent fall color tour destinations. (Matt Johanson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Gold Rush: Go now to see Sierra fall color

Maples, oaks, dogwoods, aspens glow in the next few weeks

Most Read