The rare scene of inactivity at the world famous Powell Street Cable Car turnaround. The line was shut down due to inclement weather (Kevin Kelleher/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Rain drowns iconic cable cars out of service

The City’s iconic cable cars have survived earthquakes, replacement campaigns, and 140-plus years of serving San Francisco.

Tuesday, however, a bit of rain ground the iconic San Francisco trolleys to a halt.

The California cable car line and the Powell street cable car lines were all out of service for some period today, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Service to the California line was restored at about 2 p.m., according to Robert Lyles, a spokesman for the agency, which was knocked out “due to inclement weather,” he said.

Lyles was unable to answer specifically how the Powell street line came down, except that it was an “electrical breakdown.”

“Our crews are actively working to repair that issue,” he wrote in an email, adding “service is expected to resume” on or near 4 p.m.

At about 2:40 p.m. the SFMTA tweeted “Update: Hyde/Mason lines have resumed svc but are switching back at Powell/Washington.”

The SFMTA is running shuttle buses to bolster lost cable car service.

At Powell street’s historic cable car turnaround, a strange sight was seen (or not seen) – not one tourist was lined up for a cable car. Because, of course, there were none there to ride.

Despite best efforts to get the word out, not everyone heard the news. A gaggle of tourists awaited the iconic trolleys at a stop on Geary and Powell streets today.

Jeff Viezel, and his adult daughter Melissa are visiting San Francisco from Connecticut, and both waited for the cable cars in the grey weather.

The elder Viezel said he wouldn’t be too disappointed if he didn’t get to ride a cable car this visit, he said, as he’d ridden one 25 years ago. Still, his daughter had never been on one before, and he’d like her to see it before they leave town.

“It’s very unique,” Viezel said, “I don’t think there’s anything like it.”

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