Operator injured after cable car derails

A cable car driver was taken to the hospital Thursday with non-life-threatening injuries after a mechanical failure derailed the vehicle.

No one but the driver was on board at the time of the accident, which happened at 3:20 p.m., Muni spokesman Judson True said.

The Mason cable car line had been out of service since about 11 a.m. after a problem with the underground cable was discovered.

The car had been left stranded by the problem, and was finally being pushed to a car barn, True said. As it was starting up the hill at Mason and Greenwich streets, a depression beam — part of the underground cable rigging — failed to move out of the way of the car’s grip, and forced part of the car off the tracks, according to a preliminary investigation.

The collapse caused significant damage the front end of the car, True said.

Muni mechanics were still inspecting what went wrong with the depression beam Thursday night, but expected to have the Mason line back up and running by this morning’s commute, he said.

kworth@sfexaminer.com

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