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

In San Francisco, drug overdose deaths surpass 300

Soaring fatalities ‘generally driven by fentanyl’

Preston finds support for District 5 navigation center at community meeting

Supervisor hopes to narrow down list of possible locations within months

Oprah brings her 2020 vision to Chase Center

TV star, mogul shares wellness advice, personal stories

Department on the Status of Women director resigns

Emily Murase, director of the San Francisco Department on the Status of… Continue reading

Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucuses, with Joe Biden running a distant second

LAS VEGAS — Bernie Sanders won a commanding victory in the Nevada… Continue reading

Most Read