Ever wondered what happens if a San Francisco cable car stops working? Since all the cars on that line use the same cable, 1 car stopping on the tracks not only blocks traffic but it holds up all the other cable cars coming up behind it.
I got to find out on my last trip to San Francisco. We were ridding the Powell line from Union Square to Ghirardelli Square. About 1/2 way to our chocolate dream, the cable car operator could no longer grip the cable running under the street. That basically left us stalled right in the middle of an intersection at the bottom of a very steep hill (like there are any others in SF).
After about 10 minutes of waiting for something to happen, this very large truck with an even larger front bumper pulled up behind us and pushed us to the top of the hill where our driver was able to grab the cable again and off we went.