Information and pictures of model trams and more built from LEGO® bricks by Adrian Croshaw.
LEGO® Model of a San Francisco Cable Car

Completed August 2013

Number of pieces: 216
Scale: Minifig scale
Time to design and build: 3 days
Dimensions: approximately 18cm x 7cm

This LEGO model represents San Francisco cable car number 25 in the 1905 to 1907 United Railroads livery. The original one was built in 1890 by Ferries & Cliff House Railway and, at the time of writing, is still operational in the colour scheme recreated in this model. The front section of the cable car has seats facing outwards and the control levers are mounted between them. The Yellow panel on each end and yellow strip on each side of the roof should display the route the cable car runs on while the other panels on the ends and sides are for advertisements.

My model is based on a design by Warren Elsmore which appears in his book “Brick City” (ISBN 978-1-84533-812-1), which I have then modified to create this slightly different version. In his book, there are some instructions showing how to build the cable car, which I followed using MLCAD to create a digital version on my computer. Then, using reference pictures found on the internet, I made changes to Warren’s design to make my alternate model.

LEGO model of a San Francisco Cable Car

^ The digital version of the LEGO San Francisco cable car designed using MLCAD, a computer program for designing virtual LEGO models.

Once that was complete, a list of parts was created from the design in MLCAD, so that construction could begin. Being built to minifig scale, this isn’t an acurate model, however it does make a fairly good representation. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough space between the two sets of seats at the front for the gripman with the controls. Also, pictures show more hand grips at the open end of the cable car to assist people climbing on and off. Maybe someday I’ll build a more to scale version, although my interests are usually with British trams, so we’ll see.

LEGO model of a San Francisco Cable Car

^ A side view of the completed LEGO San Francisco cable car with LEGO stickers and tiles used for the adverts.

^ An overall view of the cable car with the front windscreen and outwards facing seats clearly visible.

LEGO model of a San Francisco Cable Car

^ Looking from the rear end, you can see there isn’t a windscreen or light at the back. At each end of the line, these cars were turned around, so there wasn’t a need for them at the back.

Click here to view all blog posts featuring this model San Francisco cable car built from LEGO bricks.