Cable cars service resumes after crash

August 29, 2008 7:52:07 PM PDT
Cable cars were back up and running on the California on Friday afternoon after two cable cars collided earlier in the day

A collision between two cable cars that shut-down the California line on Friday morning is bringing immediate changes to their operating procedures, all because of human error.

The accident occurred at a busy intersection at California, Market and Drumm Streets. Muni says from now on only the grip man, not the conductor, will be able to move the car through the intersection to the end of the line.

Just after 8:00 a.m. on Friday morning, one cable car parked on the rails at California and Drumm was rear-ended by another car heading east.

A man who was loading a truck saw what happened.

"The train came from behind him, smashed into it full force and pushed it all the way into the intersection," said Wally.

There were no passengers on the cars, but the street was packed with pedestrians.

"As it's pushing, people are crossing the street, and looking at the train coming at them and I yell, hey. And they barely, everybody scatters and same with the cars in the intersection. There could have been a lot of fatalities right here," said Wally.

Two cable car crew members were injured and taken away in ambulances, the extent of their injuries is not known.

Bus shuttles ran the route until the California line re-opened at 1:00 p.m. Muni refused to be interviewed about the accident, and tourists were unaware.

"There was an accident here this morning but you're not concerned when you get on the cable car?" asked ABC7's Heather Ishimaru.

"No, but now that you're telling me," said one tourist.

Last month there was another cable car accident at Powell and Washington. There, a runaway car sent three passengers to the hospital.

The car had derailed, and after the crew jumped off to push it down the hill, they couldn't get to the brake because a door jammed.

Kat Malinowska takes Muni regularly, and says she's never worried boarding a cable car.

"I just assumed they keep them up to date and refurbish the technology, if that's what you can call it," Malinowska.


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