Poway Midland Railroad – Poway, California - Atlas Obscura

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Poway Midland Railroad

Poway, California

Take a leisurely ride on a 1906 cable car or a 1907 steam locomotive. 


Where outside of San Francisco can you ride a 1906 San Francisco cable car? That would be Poway, California.

The narrow-gauge Poway Midland Railroad claims to have the only operational San Francisco cable car carrying passengers outside of the Bay Area. The car debuted in San Francisco’s California Street fleet in late 1906. It was built to replace cars destroyed in the earthquake that devastated the city on April 18 of that year. In 1955 it was sold to Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park. After being acquired by the city of San Diego in 1988 (then rotting away in a maintenance yard), it was gifted to the City of Poway in 1997. Now it circles Old Poway Park on weekends, to the delight of kids and adults alike.

The San Francisco cable car isn’t the only old-timey ride in the park. The volunteer operators of the Poway Midland Railroad also run a 1907 Baldwin steam locomotive around the track. Equipment rotates weekly. Train tickets are sold at the delightfully vintage-styled depot, which completes the experience of traveling back in time.

Know Before You Go

The railroad only runs on weekends. Equipment alternates, so check ahead if you'd like to ride a particular car.

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January 13, 2022

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