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

Parents and students line up socially distanced before the first day of in-person learning at Bret Harte Elementary School on Monday, April 12, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
‘It’s a beautiful sight’: The first students return to the classroom

San Francisco’s youngest public school students stepped into classrooms for in-person learning… Continue reading

File
Latest Breed nominee for Police Commission moves forward

Immigration attorney Jim Byrne clears Board of Supervisors committee

San Francisco Giants pitcher Anthony DeSclafani (26) starts against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park on April 11, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Giants finish sweep of Rockies behind DeSclafani’s scoreless outing

Even with fans back at Oracle Park, San Francisco Giants pitchers have… Continue reading

Kindergarten teacher Chris Johnson in his classroom at Bryant Elementary School ahead of the school’s reopening on Friday, April 9, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFUSD students are going back to the classroom

After more than a year of distance learning, city schools begin reopening on Monday

Keith Zwölfer, director of education for SFFILM, stays busy connecting filmmakers and studios with public, private and home schools<ins>. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner) </ins>
Streamlined SF film festival focuses on family features

SFFILM Director of Education Keith Zwölfer finds movies that appeal to kids

Most Read