Cable Car driver January 13, 2010 12:17 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a comment from a few years ago from someone who used to drive a San Francisco Cable Car. Google has failed me. I remember it relating the challenge of working the cable grip and the various braking systems at the same time. The topic came up in a discussion today and I was hoping to find the link and send it on. I'm 90% this was on Metafilter, but its possible it was somewhere else on the web. Thanks!
posted by jpdoane to MetaFilter-Related at 12:17 PM (14 comments total)

If it was on metafilter, I'm fairly confident it was somewhere in this thread, but a quick skim seems to show only WhackyparseThis who drove a cable car in Wellington, not San Francisco.
posted by juv3nal at 12:52 PM on January 13, 2010

No, thats not it. I think I saw it before last August, and none of those comments are what I remember - it was a longer anecdote about the idiosyncrasies of the cable car, having to manage the cable grip and brakes just so...

Your Google searches are similar to mine and suggest that maybe I didn't see this on Metafilter.

Thanks anyway
posted by jpdoane at 1:09 PM on January 13, 2010

I'm pretty sure this was on MetaFilter, because I remember reading it here; but I'm not having any luck finding it either.
posted by enn at 1:16 PM on January 13, 2010

Was it the second link from this post? (i.e. the word 'system' which leads here)
posted by valleys at 1:34 PM on January 13, 2010

This thread contains a post about braking systems. Toward the bottom, from John Cowan.
posted by axiom at 2:12 PM on January 13, 2010

Those are both cool links that are helpful to me, but none of them are the post/comment I remember, which was more link a funny anechote about being a driver and not so much technical detail about exactly how the systems work. But good finds nonetheless.
posted by jpdoane at 2:26 PM on January 13, 2010

And we're not talking about Eddie Izzard at the beginning of "Dress to Kill?" We're sure of this?
posted by greekphilosophy at 2:27 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

> This thread contains a post about braking systems. Toward the bottom, from John Cowan.

Good Christ. How do my comment threads get so weird so fast?
posted by languagehat at 2:29 PM on January 13, 2010

Just lucky, I guess?
posted by axiom at 2:51 PM on January 13, 2010

Ack! I can't find it, and I remember it too, but here's The Grip, anecdotes written by a former cable car driver, while I keep searching.
posted by misha at 2:52 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

possibly from a deleted thread?
posted by setanor at 10:09 PM on January 13, 2010

My father-in-law is a retired MUNI gripman (and former metro driver during the cable car rennovation years). If you really want a long, bullshitty anecdote (and believe you me, gripmen are all inveterate bullshitters -- their job is to entertain tourists more than it is to grip cable) that incorporates elements of mechanics, I can ask him for one.

However, it's always been described to me as being not all that difficult as long as you have hands like two ton vice grips and Popeye forearms. You have a ratcheted lever for the clutched grip, the grip ratchet release atop the grip lever, and you have a ratcheted braking lever, and I think there's some kind of parking brake or e-brake that nobody uses. The cable car mechanism itself is amazingly simple. The conductor's job is way more complicated.

Although now that I think about it, two and a half moving parts is more than enough for a gripman-level bullshitter to make it sound like piloting a jet fighter with one hand and your eyes closed.
posted by majick at 4:50 AM on January 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

I remember this thread. Not that this helps find it. Now I'll try to find it.
posted by kch at 9:11 AM on January 14, 2010

I can't find it (yet), but the one I remember was in AskMe.
posted by kch at 9:24 AM on January 14, 2010

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