San Francisco cable cars

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San Francisco cable cars

seriál :: Language corner

In most parts of the world, cable cars systems were obsolete by the beginning of the 20th century. But in SF, the hilly city where it was invited, the cable car now enjoys greater popularity than ever.

Andrew Smith Hallidie, who invented the system, left Scotland in 1853 to join the California Gold Rush. When he failed at mining, he turned to engineering. One day he witnessed an accident in which a horse pulling a cart stumbled on a San Francisco hill. The driver of the cart couldn´t prevent its rolling backwards, dragging the helpless animal behind.

Hallidie decided on the spot that a safer means of carrying loads along the city´s steep grades should be developed. The vehicles he invented ran on rails and were pulled by heavy cables located below the surface of the street. Today there are a total of 4 cables loops in the city, each powered by a 510-horsepower electric motor. The cables move at a constant speed of 9,5 miles an hour, and the cars engage and disengage themselves from the cable by means of powerful steel jaws extending down from the car and controlled by the cable car operator.

Hallidie´s original cable railway opened in 1873, and within six months was carrying 76.000 passengers a month. By the late 1880´s, San Francisco had 112 miles of cable line. The idea soon spread to other cities, and by the early 1890´s, cable car systems had been installed in dozens of cities in the U.S., as well as in GB, France, Portugal, Australia and NZ. In most cities, however, cable cars gradually gave way to trolley systems, powered by overhead electric wires and requiring less maintenance. But SF refused to abandon its quaint, if antiquated, system.

In 1906, a massive earthquake virtually destroyed the city´s entire cable car network. Rather than rebuild the complex mechanism, the city planners finally authorized the introduction of electric streetcars in all but the most hilly portions of the city.

Over the years the four remaining lines of Hallidie´s outmoded system have resisted numerous attempts to have them dismantled. Each attempt was greeted with fierce opposition by outraged citizens, who consider the cable car to be a unique local treasure, not to mention a major tourist attraction.

In 1982, the city shut down the system and spent $58 million to renovate its original cars, machinery and track, and add new clanging rang out once again in the streets of the city when the refurbished system finally reopened in 1984. It looks like Hallidie´s beloved invention will be around for a long time to come…

Zdroj: Collection of Scientific Papers

Abandon = opustit
Antiquated = zastaralý, starý, staromódní
Attempt = pokus
Beloved = drahý, milovaný
Cart = vozík
Clanging = řinčení, znění
Consider = považovat
Develop = vyvinout
Disengage = uvolnit, odepnout
Dismantle = rozmontovat, odstranit, demontovat
Dozens of = mnoho z
Drag = vláčet, táhnout
Engage = zapojit, zajistit
Entire = celý, veškerý, úplný, kompletní
Fail = selhat
Fierce = zuřivý, prudký
Gold Rush = zlatá horčeka
Helpless = bezmocný
Invent = vynalézt
Load = náklad
Loop = smyčka. cyklus
Maintenance = údržba
Mining = dolování
Network = síť, systém
Obsolete = zastaralý
On the spot = ihned
Outraged = pobouřený
Portions = část, kus, díl, plocha
Prevent = zabránit, předejít něčemu
Quaint = podivný, zvláštní, přitažlivý, kuriozní
Refurbished = renovovaný
Refuse = odmítnout
Require = vyžadovat
Resist = odolat
Ring out = zaznít
Rolling = kymácení
Steel jaw = ocelová spona
Steep grade = příkrý svah
Stumble = klopýtat
Treasure = poklad, bohatství
Virtually = prakticky, fakticky, vlastně
Wire = drát
Within = během
Witness = být svědkem

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