Historic Cable Cars Get Lighting Makeover

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Departing from a 140-year-old tradition of using dim incandescent headlights, the historic San Francisco Municipal Cable Cars are now equipped with LED light bulbs from LEDtronics Inc.
LEDtronics LED headlights installed on San Francisco's historic cable cars. Courtesy of LEDtronics.
LEDtronics LED headlights installed on San Francisco's historic cable cars. Courtesy of LEDtronics.

A19-style LED light bulbs were also installed inside the passenger cabins. Those lights, along with the PAR46 LED headlights, are saving them money on energy as well as maintenance – especially in the wintertime, when the lights are left on much longer.

“The biggest issue was the light on cold, wet, dark nights,” said Arne Hansen, supervisor of maintenance at the San Francisco Municipal Cable Car Barn. “We would change the batteries in the cars maybe 10 or 12 road calls in a night. We got these better batteries now that last much longer, but still, with the GPS system and the cameras, they were taking a drain on the batteries.” The old incandescent lights would quickly burn out, break from the constant vibrations, and cause the batteries to drain much faster. Hansen said they ordered LED lights for the entire fleet, and they are all working without any problems.

“All the operators give it a thumbs-up, they all approved it, they all loved it,” Hansen said. “The project was a complete success.”

Hansen has been working with the Cable Car Barn for more than 30 years, and he considers it an ideal place to work.

“The operators here are all happy going to work, because they have people that want to ride their cars and they're on vacation,” he said. “It's a good place to work, being it's the only national moving historical monument in the world.”

LEDtronics is a designer and manufacturer of LED lighting products.

Published: August 2018
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