Funicular

Funicular

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A funicular, also known as an inclined plane or cliff railway, is a cable railway
Cable railway
A cable railway is a steeply graded railway that uses a cable or rope to haul trains.-Introduction:...

 in which a cable
Wire rope
thumb|Steel wire rope Wire rope is a type of rope which consists of several strands of metal wire laid into a helix. Initially wrought iron wires were used, but today steel is the main material used for wire ropes....

 attached to a pair of tram-like vehicles on rails moves them up and down a steep slope; the ascending and descending vehicles counterbalance each other.

Operation


The basic principle of funicular operation is that two cars are permanently attached to each other by a cable, which runs through a pulley
Pulley
A pulley, also called a sheave or a drum, is a mechanism composed of a wheel on an axle or shaft that may have a groove between two flanges around its circumference. A rope, cable, belt, or chain usually runs over the wheel and inside the groove, if present...

 at the top of the incline. Counterbalancing of the two cars, with one ascending and one descending, minimizes the energy needed to lift the ascending car. Winching is normally done by an electric drive which turns the pulley
Pulley
A pulley, also called a sheave or a drum, is a mechanism composed of a wheel on an axle or shaft that may have a groove between two flanges around its circumference. A rope, cable, belt, or chain usually runs over the wheel and inside the groove, if present...

. Sheave wheels guide the cable to and from the drive mechanism and the incline cars.

A few funiculars have been built using water tanks under the floor of each car which are filled or emptied until just sufficient imbalance is achieved to allow movement. The movement is then controlled by a brakeman.

Gravity plane


Funiculars used in mines were sometimes unpowered gravity planes, also known as self-acting inclines or brake inclines. The weight of descending loaded wagons was used to pull the empty mine wagons.

Bottom towrope


The cars can be attached to a second cable running through a pulley at the bottom of the incline in case the gravity force acting on the vehicles is too low to operate them on the slope. One of the pulleys must be designed as tensioning wheel to avoid slack in the ropes. In this case the winching can be done also at the lower end of the incline. This practice is used for funiculars with gradients below 6%, funiculars using sledges instead of cars or any other case where it is not ensured that the descending car is always able to pull out the cable from the pulley in the station on the top of the incline.

Track layout




Early funiculars used two parallel straight tracks, with separate station platforms for each vehicle. The tracks are laid with sufficient space between them for the two cars to pass at the mid-point. The wheels of the cars are usually single-flanged, as on standard railway vehicles. Examples of this type of track layout are the Duquesne Incline
Duquesne Incline
The Duquesne Incline is a inclined plane railroad, or funicular, located near Pittsburgh's South Side neighborhood and scaling Mt. Washington. Designed by Samuel Diescher, the incline was completed in 1877 and is long, in height, and is inclined at a 30 degree angle...

 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and most cliff railways in the UK.

Layouts which require less width have been developed, with only two or three rails for the most part of the slope and four rails only at the passing section.

The Swiss engineer Carl Roman Abt
Carl Roman Abt
Carl Roman Abt was a Swiss mechanical engineer, inventor and entrepreneur. He made groundbreaking innovations in rack-and-pinion railways, giving his name to one of the most widely-used systems developed for mountain railways, the Abt rack system.-Biography:Abt was born on 16 July 1850 in Bünzen...

 invented the method that allows cars to be used with a two-rail configuration: the outboard wheels have flanges on both sides, which keeps them aligned with the outer rail, thus holding each car in position, whereas the inboard wheels are unflanged and ride on top of the opposite rail, thereby easily crossing over the rails (and cable) at the passing track. This avoids the need for switches and crossings, since the cars have the flanged wheels on opposite sides and will automatically follow different tracks.

In layouts using three rails, the middle rail is shared by both cars. The three-rail layout is wider than the two-rail layout, but the passing section is simpler to build. If a rack for braking is used, that rack can be mounted higher in a three-rail layout, making it less sensitive to choking in snowy conditions.

Some four-rail funiculars have the upper and lower sections interlaced and a single platform at each station. The Hill Train at Legoland, Windsor is an example of this configuration.

The track layout can also be changed during the renovation of a funicular, and often four-rail layouts have been rebuilt as two- or three-rail layouts; e.g. the Wellington Cable Car
Wellington Cable Car
The Wellington Cable Car is a funicular railway in Wellington, New Zealand between Lambton Quay, the main shopping street, and Kelburn, a suburb in the hills overlooking the central city, rising 120 m over a length of 612 m. It is widely recognised as a symbol of Wellington.-Track and stations:The...

 in New Zealand was rebuilt with two rails.

History of different track layouts


Until the end of the 1870s the four-rail parallel-track funicular was the normal configuration. Carl Roman Abt
Carl Roman Abt
Carl Roman Abt was a Swiss mechanical engineer, inventor and entrepreneur. He made groundbreaking innovations in rack-and-pinion railways, giving his name to one of the most widely-used systems developed for mountain railways, the Abt rack system.-Biography:Abt was born on 16 July 1850 in Bünzen...

 developed the Abt Switch allowing the two-rail layout, which was used for the first time in 1879 when the Giessbachbahn
Giessbachbahn
The Giessbachbahn is a historic funicular at Giessbach in the Swiss Canton of Berne. It links a landing stage on Lake Brienz, served by shipping services on the lake, to the Grand Hotel Giessbach and waterfall above...

 opened in Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

. In the New World, the first funicular to use a two-rail layout was the Telegraph Hill Railroad in San Francisco, which was in operation from 1884 until 1886. The Mount Lowe Railway
Mount Lowe Railway
The Mount Lowe Railway was the third in a series of scenic mountain railroads in America created as a tourist attraction on Echo Mountain and Mount Lowe, north of Los Angeles, California. The railway, originally incorporated by Professor Thaddeus S. C. Lowe as the Pasadena & Mt. Wilson Railroad Co...

 in Altadena, California was the first mountain railway in the United States to use the three-track layout. Three- and two-rail layouts considerably reduced the space required for building a funicular, reducing grading costs on mountain slopes and property costs for urban funiculars. These layouts enabled a funicular boom in the latter 19th century.

Inclined lift


The inclined lift or inclined elevator is a special version of the funicular, since it has only one car carrying payload on the slope. The car is either winched up to the station on the top of the incline where the cable is collected on a winch drum, or the single car is balanced by a counterweight and operated the same way as a funicular with two cars. Many inclined lifts were constructed along the pressure lines of storage power plants for transporting building materials. Examples are the Gelmerbahn leading to the Gelmersee
Gelmersee
Gelmersee is a lake in Bernese Oberland, Switzerland. The hydroelectric reservoir was built at the same time as Grimselsee. The reservoir's volume is 13 million m³ and its surface area 0.645 km²....

 and the Funicolare Piora–Ritom leading to Lago Ritom
Lago Ritom
Lago Ritom is a small lake in the Piora valley, Ticino, Switzerland. The natural lake is used as a reservoir by the Swiss Federal Railways to generate hydro-electric power for the Gotthard line. The first dam was built in 1918 and, in 1950, its height was increased by 23 m.The lake can be reached...

, both in Switzerland. The steepest funicular in the world may be the incline lift Katoomba Scenic Railway in Australia. Modern versions resembling an elevator
Elevator
An elevator is a type of vertical transport equipment that efficiently moves people or goods between floors of a building, vessel or other structures...

 are used in public transport applications, such as at Cityplace Station in Dallas, Texas and Huntington Metro Station in Huntington, Virginia
Huntington, Virginia
Huntington is a census-designated place in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. The population was 11,267 at the 2010 census. To the east is Belle Haven, Fairfax County, Virginia and to the south Groveton, Virginia. Its main component is the namesake Huntington subdivision, a late-1940s...

.

A mixture between an inclined lift and a funicular with two cars was the second Angels Flight
Angels Flight
Angels Flight is a landmark funicular railway in the Bunker Hill district of Downtown Los Angeles, California. It has two funicular cars, Sinai and Olivet ....

 in Los Angeles. The funicular closed in 1969 and was reinstalled in 1996 using separate cables for each car which were winched on separate winch drums in the station at the top. The winch drums were connected to the drive motor and the service brake by a gear train. The system failed because of gear train breakage, causing a fatal accident in 2001. The funicular was then closed until 2010.

History




The oldest funicular is the Reisszug
Reisszug
The Reisszug is a private funicular railway providing goods access to the Hohensalzburg Castle at Salzburg in Austria...

, a private line providing goods access to Hohensalzburg Castle at Salzburg
Salzburg
-Population development:In 1935, the population significantly increased when Salzburg absorbed adjacent municipalities. After World War II, numerous refugees found a new home in the city. New residential space was created for American soldiers of the postwar Occupation, and could be used for...

 in Austria. It was first documented in 1515 by Cardinal Matthäus Lang, who became Archbishop of Salzburg. The line originally used wooden rails and a hemp
Hemp
Hemp is mostly used as a name for low tetrahydrocannabinol strains of the plant Cannabis sativa, of fiber and/or oilseed varieties. In modern times, hemp has been used for industrial purposes including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food and fuel with modest...

 haulage rope, and was operated by human or animal power. Today steel rails, steel cables and an electric motor have taken over, but the line still follows the same route through the castle's fortifications.

The first railway in England with wooden rails was probably made for James Clifford, lord of the manor of Broseley
Broseley
Broseley is a small town in Shropshire, England with a population of 4,912 . The River Severn flows to the north and east of the town. Broseley has a town council and is part of the area controlled by Shropshire Council. The first iron bridge in the world was built in 1779 to link Broseley with...

. He was working coal mines there by 1575 and had a waggonway delivering coal to barges on river Severn
River Severn
The River Severn is the longest river in Great Britain, at about , but the second longest on the British Isles, behind the River Shannon. It rises at an altitude of on Plynlimon, Ceredigion near Llanidloes, Powys, in the Cambrian Mountains of mid Wales...

 by 1606. This is after the first record of a railway in England, the Wollaton Wagonway
Wollaton Wagonway
The Wollaton Wagonway , built between October 1603 and 1604 in the East Midlands of England by Huntingdon Beaumont in partnership with Sir Percival Willoughby, is currently credited as the world's first overland wagonway and is therefore regarded as a significant step in the development of...

, but seems to be earlier.

In the 18th century funiculars were used to allow barge traffic on canal
Canal
Canals are man-made channels for water. There are two types of canal:#Waterways: navigable transportation canals used for carrying ships and boats shipping goods and conveying people, further subdivided into two kinds:...

s to ascend and descend steep hills. An early example were the three inclined planes
Canal inclined plane
An inclined plane is a system used on some canals for raising boats between different water levels. Boats may be conveyed afloat, in caissons, or may be carried in cradles or slings. It can be considered as a specialised type of cable railway....

 on the Tyrone Canal in County Tyrone
County Tyrone
Historically Tyrone stretched as far north as Lough Foyle, and comprised part of modern day County Londonderry east of the River Foyle. The majority of County Londonderry was carved out of Tyrone between 1610-1620 when that land went to the Guilds of London to set up profit making schemes based on...

 that were in use as early as 1777. They were used primarily in the early 19th century, especially during the height of the canal-building era in the 1830s in the United States. Such railways operated by allowing water in feeder canals at the top of the plane to drive a turbine
Turbine
A turbine is a rotary engine that extracts energy from a fluid flow and converts it into useful work.The simplest turbines have one moving part, a rotor assembly, which is a shaft or drum with blades attached. Moving fluid acts on the blades, or the blades react to the flow, so that they move and...

, raising or lowering a canal barge along a steep slope.

Examples of hydropower
Hydropower
Hydropower, hydraulic power, hydrokinetic power or water power is power that is derived from the force or energy of falling water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. Since ancient times, hydropower has been used for irrigation and the operation of various mechanical devices, such as...

 inclined plane railroads in the United States included the Morris Canal
Morris Canal
The Morris Canal was an anthracite-carrying canal that incorporated a series of water-driven inclined planes in its course across northern New Jersey in the United States. It was in use for about a century — from the late 1820s to the 1920s....

 in New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

 connected the Delaware River
Delaware River
The Delaware River is a major river on the Atlantic coast of the United States.A Dutch expedition led by Henry Hudson in 1609 first mapped the river. The river was christened the South River in the New Netherland colony that followed, in contrast to the North River, as the Hudson River was then...

 with the Passaic River
Passaic River
The Passaic River is a mature surface river, approximately 80 mi long, in northern New Jersey in the United States. The river in its upper course flows in a highly circuitous route, meandering through the swamp lowlands between the ridge hills of rural and suburban northern New Jersey,...

 using 23 planes, as well as a series of locks along the gentler gradients. The Allegheny Portage Railroad
Allegheny Portage Railroad
The Allegheny Portage Railroad was the first railroad constructed through the Allegheny Mountains in central Pennsylvania, United States. It was a series of 10 inclines, approximately long, and operated from 1834 to 1854...

, part of the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal, built in 1834 with ten planes as the first railroad across the Allegheny Mountains
Allegheny Mountains
The Allegheny Mountain Range , also spelled Alleghany, Allegany and, informally, the Alleghenies, is part of the vast Appalachian Mountain Range of the eastern United States and Canada...

 of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, was steam powered.

Modern funicular railways operating in urban areas date from the 1860s. The first line of the Funiculars of Lyon
Funiculars of Lyon
The Funiculars of Lyon is a network of funicular railways in Lyon, France. Of the five lines once in existence, only the two routes on the Fourvière hill remain in operation, with the rest of the network now either closed, converted to road vehicle use, or integrated within the Lyon underground...

 (Funiculaires de Lyon) opened in 1862, followed by other lines in 1878, 1891 and 1900. The Budapest Castle Hill Funicular
Budapest Castle Hill Funicular
The Budapest Castle Hill Funicular or Budavári Sikló is a funicular railway in the city of Budapest, in Hungary. It links the Adam Clark Square and the Széchenyi Chain Bridge at river level to Buda Castle above....

 was built in 1868/9, with the first test run was on 23 October 1869. The oldest funicular railway operating in Britain dates from 1875 and is in Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

One of the most famous funiculars was the Great Incline of the Mount Lowe Railway
Mount Lowe Railway
The Mount Lowe Railway was the third in a series of scenic mountain railroads in America created as a tourist attraction on Echo Mountain and Mount Lowe, north of Los Angeles, California. The railway, originally incorporated by Professor Thaddeus S. C. Lowe as the Pasadena & Mt. Wilson Railroad Co...

 in Altadena, California
Altadena, California
Altadena is an unincorporated area and census-designated place in Los Angeles County, California, United States, approximately from the downtown Los Angeles Civic Center, and directly north of the city of Pasadena, California...

, designed by Andrew Smith Hallidie
Andrew Smith Hallidie
Andrew Smith Hallidie was the promoter of the Clay Street Hill Railroad in San Francisco, USA. This was the world's first practical cable car system, and Hallidie is often therefore regarded as the inventor of the cable car and father of the present day San Francisco cable car system, although...

 of San Francisco cable car
San Francisco cable car system
The San Francisco cable car system is the world's last permanently operational manually operated cable car system, in the US sense of a tramway whose cars are pulled along by cables embedded in the street. It is an icon of San Francisco, California...

 fame. The Mount Lowe Railway combined its funicular, raising passengers 2,800 feet (859 m) up the steep side of Mount Echo (elevation 3500 ft or 1067 m), with electric narrow-gauge trolley systems at each end (the Rubio Canyon line was standard-gauged after being acquired by Henry Huntington's Pacific Electric Railway
Pacific Electric Railway
The Pacific Electric Railway , also known as the Red Car system, was a mass transit system in Southern California using streetcars, light rail, and buses...

). The Incline had three grade changes, the lower end at 62% easing to a 48% at the top, and the cars were designed to adjust to the grade changes for the comfort of their passengers. It had three rails to reduce the width of the formation and the materials required, though a complicated cable routing system was needed at the passing track.
The eastern United States had several incline railways, most engineered by the Otis Elevator Company of Yonkers, NY (today a subsidiary of UTC in Connecticut). Perhaps the best example was the Mount Beacon Incline Railway
Mount Beacon Incline Railway
The Mount Beacon Incline Railway was a popular tourist attraction in Beacon, New York, USA, and the neighboring Town of Fishkill. It operated for much of the 20th century, providing sweeping views of the Hudson Valley and efforts continue to restore it today....

 in Beacon, NY, the steepest funicular Otis built in the northeast. It had an average gradient of 64+%, a maximum gradient of 74% and operated for over 75 years. It was destroyed by fire in 1983 and a not-for-profit society is currently working toward its restoration.

The funicular on Mount Vesuvius
Mount Vesuvius
Mount Vesuvius is a stratovolcano in the Gulf of Naples, Italy, about east of Naples and a short distance from the shore. It is the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted within the last hundred years, although it is not currently erupting...

 inspired the song Funiculì, Funiculà
Funiculì, Funiculà
"Funiculì, Funiculà" is a famous Neapolitan song written by Italian journalist Peppino Turco and set to music by Italian composer Luigi Denza in 1880. It was composed to commemorate the opening of the first funicular cable car on Mount Vesuvius. The 1880 cable car was later destroyed by the...

, composed in 1880. That funicular was wrecked repeatedly by volcanic eruptions and abandoned after the eruption of 1944.

World





Fløibanen
Fløibanen
Fløibanen is a funicular in Bergen, Norway which runs up the mountain of Fløyen. It is one of Bergen's major tourist attractions and one of Norway's most visited attractions. Over 1 million passengers a year have used it over the past few years. Fløibanen was officially opened on 15 January 1918...

 is a funicular in Bergen
Bergen
Bergen is the second largest city in Norway with a population of as of , . Bergen is the administrative centre of Hordaland county. Greater Bergen or Bergen Metropolitan Area as defined by Statistics Norway, has a population of as of , ....

, Norway which runs up the mountain of Fløyen. It is one of Bergen's major tourist attractions and one of Norway's most visited attractions.

Hong Kong's Peak Tram
Peak Tram
The Peak Tramway is a funicular railway in Hong Kong, which carries both tourists and residents to the upper levels of Hong Kong Island. Running from Central district to Victoria Peak via the Mid-Levels, it provides the most direct route and offers good views over the harbour and skyscrapers of...

 was one of the first funiculars in Asia, opened in 1888, maximum grade 48%, 1.4 km, and is still a daily transport for many people today.

Another funicular in Asia is located on Penang Hill
Penang Hill
Penang Hill is a hill resort comprising a group of peaks in Penang, Malaysia. It is located in Air Itam, which is from the city centre of George Town. The hill stands out prominently from the lowlands as a hilly and forested area...

, Penang
Penang
Penang is a state in Malaysia and the name of its constituent island, located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca. It is bordered by Kedah in the north and east, and Perak in the south. Penang is the second smallest Malaysian state in area after Perlis, and the...

, Malaysia. Located 6 km from George Town
George Town, Penang
George Town was voted as one of the best cities in Asia by Asiaweek, ranked 6th in 1998 and 9th in 2000. More recently, George Town has improved a notch to rank as the 9th most liveable city in Asia in a survey of 254 cities worldwide according to an international location ratings survey by , an...

, Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera) is one of the most popular destinations in Penang. Penang Hill is actually a complex of hills and spurs and the highest point is Western Hill which is 830 meters (2730 ft) above sea level. The most convenient way up to Penang Hill is by means of a funicular railway which is in Air Itam
Air Itam
Air Itam is a town in Penang, Malaysia. The famous Kek Lok Si Temple and Penang Hill are situated there. A famous Chinese secondary school, named Chung Ling High School, is located in Jalan Air Itam. The State Mosque, or Masjid Negeri, is also located there...

. There is a tunnel which measures 258 feet (78.6 m) long and 10 feet (3 m) wide starting at steepness of 35 feet (10.7 m) high, which is the steepest tunnel in the world. The funicular train leaves every 30 minutes and can carry up to 80 passengers. One way tickets cost RM4. It takes about half an hour to the top. The funicular train does not go straight to the summit and will pass several small stations, where the locals will alight. There are also some small hotels and guesthouses on this stretch. During holiday seasons, the wait for this ride can take as long as 1 hour.

Valparaiso
Valparaíso
Valparaíso is a city and commune of Chile, center of its third largest conurbation and one of the country's most important seaports and an increasing cultural center in the Southwest Pacific hemisphere. The city is the capital of the Valparaíso Province and the Valparaíso Region...

, Chile has 15 funiculars, the oldest dating from 1883. Some of them are inside the historic quarter which has been declared a World Heritage area by Unesco. Many are currently in disrepair and have been shut down by municipal authorities. There has been recent controversy regarding five of the elevators in the downtown area, where there have been protests about safety and operation. The Polanco Elevator, perhaps the most unusual, had been closed for repairs to the structure and recently re-entered service.

The Scenic Railway at Katoomba Scenic World
Katoomba Scenic World
Katoomba Scenic World is a popular privately owned tourist attraction located at the southern end of the town of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia, about 100 kilometers west of Sydney. Scenic World is home to a number of attractions, of which the most famous is the Katoomba...

, Blue Mountains, Australia (which supports multiple tourist attractions such as the Skyway and Cableway), claims to be the world's steepest passenger carrying funicular railway, with a maximum incline of 52 degrees or 128% , with a total incline length of 310 Metres and a vertical lift of 206.5 M in a horizontal distance of 243.4. The railway is on the old mining track

The Great Incline of the Mount Lowe Railway
Mount Lowe Railway
The Mount Lowe Railway was the third in a series of scenic mountain railroads in America created as a tourist attraction on Echo Mountain and Mount Lowe, north of Los Angeles, California. The railway, originally incorporated by Professor Thaddeus S. C. Lowe as the Pasadena & Mt. Wilson Railroad Co...

 (above right) had multiple grades with cars that adjusted to the variations. The gentlest grade was 48%, the steepest 62%.

The Niesenbahn in the Swiss
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 Kander
Kander
The Kander River in Switzerland is a tributary of the Aar River. It is 44 km long and has a watershed of 1,126 km². It flows into Lake Thun ....

tal is the longest continuous-cable funicular in Europe. In Lugano
Lugano
Lugano is a city of inhabitants in the city proper and a total of over 145,000 people in the agglomeration/city region, in the south of Switzerland, in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, which borders Italy...

, a funicular connects the city centre with the above train station of SBB-CFF-FFS
SBB-CFF-FFS
Swiss Federal Railways and SFR are not in official use) is the national railway company of Switzerland headquartered in Bern. Formerly a government institution, it is since 1999 a special stock corporation with all shares held by the Swiss Confederation or the Swiss cantons...

 and Ferrovia Lugano-Ponte Tresa
Ferrovia Lugano-Ponte Tresa
The Lugano–Ponte Tresa Railway is a local railway line in Canton Ticino in Switzerland. The line links the town of Lugano with Ponte Tresa, and is long. It has a gauge of , and is electrified on the overhead system at 1200 volts DC.The FLP is the last working line of a network of three...

.

In Poland the most popular is the Gubałówka Hill Funicular
Gubałówka Hill Funicular
The Gubałówka Hill Funicular is located in Zakopane, Poland and ascends the Gubałówka mountain. It is operated by PKL, Polish Cable Lines or Polskie Koleje Linowe.-Description:...

, operated by Polish Cable Lines (Polskie Koleje Linowe, PKL).

Water-powered funiculars include the Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway
Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway
The Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway is a water-powered funicular railway joining the twin towns of Lynton and Lynmouth on the rugged coast of North Devon.-Origins:...

 in North Devon
Devon
Devon is a large county in southwestern England. The county is sometimes referred to as Devonshire, although the term is rarely used inside the county itself as the county has never been officially "shired", it often indicates a traditional or historical context.The county shares borders with...

, England; the CAT Funicular at the Centre for Alternative Technology
Centre for Alternative Technology
The Centre for Alternative Technology is an eco-centre in Powys, mid-Wales, dedicated to demonstrating and teaching sustainable development. CAT, despite its name, no longer concentrates its efforts exclusively on alternative technology, but provides information on all aspects of sustainable living...

 in Gwynedd
Gwynedd
Gwynedd is a county in north-west Wales, named after the old Kingdom of Gwynedd. Although the second biggest in terms of geographical area, it is also one of the most sparsely populated...

, Wales; the Nerobergbahn
Nerobergbahn
The Nerobergbahn is a funicular railway in the city of Wiesbaden, Germany. The line links the city with the Neroberg hill to its north, where visitors may view a panorama of the city....

 in Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden is a city in southwest Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse. It has about 275,400 inhabitants, plus approximately 10,000 United States citizens...

, Germany; and Bom Jesus funicular
Bom Jesus funicular
The Bom Jesus funicular is a funicular located in Bom Jesus do Monte, city of Braga, Portugal.The funicular was built in 1882 by Niklaus Riggenbach and is the oldest in the Iberian Peninsula....

 in Braga
Braga
Braga , a city in the Braga Municipality in northwestern Portugal, is the capital of the Braga District, the oldest archdiocese and the third major city of the country. Braga is the oldest Portuguese city and one of the oldest Christian cities in the World...

, Portugal (the oldest, still working, in the world).

The Great Orme Tramway
Great Orme Tramway
The Great Orme Tramway is a cable-hauled gauge tramway in Llandudno in north Wales.This is Great Britain's only remaining cable operated street tramway and one of only three surviving in the world . It takes passengers from Llandudno Victoria Station to just below the summit of the Great Orme...

 is the only cablehauled tramway still operating on British public roads. It runs from Church Walks in Llandudno
Llandudno
Llandudno is a seaside resort and town in Conwy County Borough, Wales. In the 2001 UK census it had a population of 20,090 including that of Penrhyn Bay and Penrhynside, which are within the Llandudno Community...

. It first opened on 31 July 1902 and runs on a daily basis from late March to late October taking visitors to the summit of The Great Orme
Great Orme
The Great Orme is a prominent limestone headland on the north coast of Wales situated in Llandudno. It is referred to as Cyngreawdr Fynydd in a poem by the 12th century poet Gwalchmai ap Meilyr...

, climbing a mile of track to the summit complex at a height of 679 ft (207)m. There are panoramic views of the Welsh mountains and as far as the Isle of Man, Blackpool and the Lake District. There is a exhibition of the history of this funicular tramway at the half-way station.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has two operational funiculars, called "inclines". The Monongahela Incline
Monongahela Incline
The Monongahela Incline, built by John Endres in 1870, islocated near the Smithfield Street Bridge in Pittsburgh. It is the oldest continuously operating funicular in the USA. It is also one of two surviving inclines from the original 17 passenger-carrying inclines built in Pittsburgh starting...

 travels between the top of the Mount Washington
Mount Washington (Pittsburgh)
Mount Washington is a neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's south city area. It has a zip code of 15211 and has representation on Pittsburgh City Council by both the council members for District 3 and District 2 .It is known for its steep hill overlooking the Pittsburgh skyline, which was...

 hillside to Station Square
Station Square
Station Square is a indoor and outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment complex located in the South Shore neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States....

 at the base of the mountain along the Monongahela River
Monongahela River
The Monongahela River is a river on the Allegheny Plateau in north-central West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania in the United States...

. It serves as a tourist attraction and mass transit system. The Duquesne Incline
Duquesne Incline
The Duquesne Incline is a inclined plane railroad, or funicular, located near Pittsburgh's South Side neighborhood and scaling Mt. Washington. Designed by Samuel Diescher, the incline was completed in 1877 and is long, in height, and is inclined at a 30 degree angle...

 connects Duquesne Heights
Duquesne Heights (Pittsburgh)
Duquesne Heights is a neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's south city area. It has a zip code of 15211, and has representation on Pittsburgh City Council by the council member for District 2 ....

 with the lower elevations of Pittsburgh.

Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

, (Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

), has four funiculars. The Chiaia Funicular was built in 1889, followed within two years by the Funicolare of Montesanto (Montesanto Funicular), and after some years by Central Funicular and Mergellina. The most famous funicular in Naples was the Mount Vesuvius Funicular (1880–1944), the first railway track in the world built on an active volcano
Volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

, and destroyed various times by Vesuvius eruptions. Partially modified to became a rack railway
Rack railway
A rack-and-pinion railway is a railway with a toothed rack rail, usually between the running rails. The trains are fitted with one or more cog wheels or pinions that mesh with this rack rail...

 in its last section, it was destroyed by eruption in 1944. Its worldwide fame was because the Neapolitan song Funiculì Funiculà was dedicated to it.

The Johnstown Inclined Plane
Johnstown Inclined Plane
The Johnstown Inclined Plane is a funicular in Johnstown, Cambria County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. The incline and its two stations connect the city of Johnstown, situated in a valley at the confluence of the Stonycreek and the Little Conemaugh Rivers, to the borough of Westmont on Yoder...

 (built 1890) in Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Johnstown is a city in Cambria County, Pennsylvania, United States, west-southwest of Altoona, Pennsylvania and east of Pittsburgh. The population was 20,978 at the 2010 census. It is the principal city of the Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Cambria County...

 in the United States claims to be the world's steepest vehicular inclined plane at 70.9%. In addition to passengers, it can carry one automobile in each direction. Chattanooga, Tennessee is home to the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway
Lookout Mountain Incline Railway
The Lookout Mountain Incline Railway is an inclined plane railway located along the side of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in the United States. Passengers are transported from St. Elmo's Station at the base, to Point Park at the mountain summit, which overlooks the city and the...

 (built 1895) that travels from the base to the top of Lookout Mountain
Lookout Mountain
thumb|right|See seven statesLookout Mountain is located at the northwest corner of the U.S. state of Georgia, the northeast corner of Alabama, and along the southern border of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Lookout Mountain, along with Sand Mountain to the northwest, makes up a large portion of the...

, and claims to be the steepest funicular in the world with a maximum grade of 72 percent.

In addition to the historic Angels Flight
Angels Flight
Angels Flight is a landmark funicular railway in the Bunker Hill district of Downtown Los Angeles, California. It has two funicular cars, Sinai and Olivet ....

 and Mount Lowe Railway
Mount Lowe Railway
The Mount Lowe Railway was the third in a series of scenic mountain railroads in America created as a tourist attraction on Echo Mountain and Mount Lowe, north of Los Angeles, California. The railway, originally incorporated by Professor Thaddeus S. C. Lowe as the Pasadena & Mt. Wilson Railroad Co...

, Southern California
Southern California
Southern California is a megaregion, or megapolitan area, in the southern area of the U.S. state of California. Large urban areas include Greater Los Angeles and Greater San Diego. The urban area stretches along the coast from Ventura through the Southland and Inland Empire to San Diego...

 has two more recently constructed funicular railways. Six Flags
Six Flags
Six Flags Entertainment Corp. is the world's largest amusement park corporation based on quantity of properties and the fifth most popular in terms of attendance. The company maintains 14 properties located throughout North America, including theme parks, thrill parks, water parks and family...

 Magic Mountain in Valencia, California
Valencia, California
Valencia is an affluent planned community located in the City of Santa Clarita, California and Los Angeles County, California, U.S. in the northwestern corner of the Santa Clarita Valley, adjacent to Interstate 5. In 1987, it was one of the four unincorporated communities that merged to create the...

 has a funicular which takes guests up the Mountain from an area near the park entrance to a station near the Ninja
Ninja
A or was a covert agent or mercenary of feudal Japan specializing in unorthodox arts of war. The functions of the ninja included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, and assassination, as well as open combat in certain situations...

 coaster entrance. It was called "Funicular" for many years, introducing thousands of people to the word, but is now known as the "Orient Express" to fit in with the Far Eastern theme at the top of the Mountain. The Pacific Palms Resort in the City of Industry, California
Industry, California
Industry is an industrial suburb of Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Valley region of Los Angeles County. Home to over 2,500 businesses and 80,000 jobs, but only 219 residents at the 2010 census - down from 777 residents as of the 2000 United States census - the city is almost entirely industrial...

, formerly the Industry Hills Sheraton Resort, utilizes a funicular to transport golfers and their carts. The 400 feet (121.9 m) line runs from the 9th Green of the "Ike" Course and 18th Green of the "Babe" Course to the St Andrews Station, a replica of a Scottish station that houses concessions and eating areas with spectacular views of the two hillside courses. The railway was installed in 1979 as part of a 650 acres (2.6 km²) brownfield reclamation project that transformed a collection of hills containing a former refuse dump into a resort, convention and recreation center. The funicular was devised as a perfect solution for transporting golfers among the steep and dramatic terrain of the demanding and highly regarded golf courses. The railway is currently not in operation, but remains fully intact awaiting necessary maintenance until it can once again ferry golfers up the 33% grade overlooking the San Gabriel Valley and San Bernardino Mountains
San Bernardino Mountains
The San Bernardino Mountains are a short transverse mountain range north and east of San Bernardino in Southern California in the United States. The mountains run for approximately 60 miles east-west on the southern edge of the Mojave Desert in southwestern San Bernardino County, north of the...

.

The Falls Incline Railway
Falls Incline Railway
The Falls Incline Railway, originally known as the Horseshoe Falls Incline is a funicular railway in the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. It is located beside Niagara Falls at the Horseshoe Falls. The line was built in 1966 for the Niagara Parks Commission by the Swiss company Von Roll...

, originally the Horseshoe Falls Incline, at Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls
The Niagara Falls, located on the Niagara River draining Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, is the collective name for the Horseshoe Falls and the adjacent American Falls along with the comparatively small Bridal Veil Falls, which combined form the highest flow rate of any waterfalls in the world and has...

, Canada gives access to hotels above the falls.

Private funiculars



Private funiculars on steep sections provide easier access from the street to a house than steep paths or steps. They are common in hilly cities like Wellington, New Zealand. They are often called cable cars or lifts (elevators), but have a small car for two to four people permanently attached to a cable from a winch. The car runs on an inclined pair of rails (beams) or a single rail at a low speed (0.3 to 1.0 metres/second). In Quebec City, Canada, the Old Quebec Funicular
Old Quebec Funicular
The Old Quebec Funicular is a funicular railway in the Old Quebec neighbourhood of the city of Quebec in Canada. It links the Haute-Ville to the Basse-Ville , which includes such sites as the ancient Notre Dame des Victoires church, the historic Petit Champlain district, the port, and the Musée...

 has been operating since 1879, connecting the Haute-Ville (Upper Town) to the Basse-Ville (Lower Town). Larger and faster models may give access to commercial buildings. Examples are USA, NZ, Legal requirements (NZ).

Smallest funicular


The smallest funicular in the world is the Fisherman's Walk Cliff Railway
Fisherman's Walk Cliff Railway
The Fisherman's Walk Cliff Railway, or Southbourne Cliff Railway, is a funicular railway located in Southbourne, a seaside suburb of the English seaside resort of Bournemouth...

 in Bournemouth
Bournemouth
Bournemouth is a large coastal resort town in the ceremonial county of Dorset, England. According to the 2001 Census the town has a population of 163,444, making it the largest settlement in Dorset. It is also the largest settlement between Southampton and Plymouth...

, England, at a length of 128 feet (39 m).

The smallest funicular in Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

 is in Zagreb
Zagreb
Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Croatia. It is in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb lies at an elevation of approximately above sea level. According to the last official census, Zagreb's city...

 with a length of 66.0 m.

The smallest funicular in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 is the Ferata Gran Risa located in La Ila in South Tyrol
South Tyrol
South Tyrol , also known by its Italian name Alto Adige, is an autonomous province in northern Italy. It is one of the two autonomous provinces that make up the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. The province has an area of and a total population of more than 500,000 inhabitants...

, with a length of 66.7 m.

The smallest funicular in Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 is located in Lucerne
Lucerne
Lucerne is a city in north-central Switzerland, in the German-speaking portion of that country. Lucerne is the capital of the Canton of Lucerne and the capital of the district of the same name. With a population of about 76,200 people, Lucerne is the most populous city in Central Switzerland, and...

. It serves the guests of the 100 year-old hotel "Montana" and is of the same age as the hotel. One single cabin shuffles between the top station and the bottom station at the lake-promenade (length: 85 m). The travel time for both directions is 60 seconds.

See also



  • Aerial tramway
    Aerial tramway
    An aerial tramway , cable car , ropeway or aerial tram is a type of aerial lift which uses one or two stationary ropes for support while a third moving rope provides propulsion...

  • Cable car
    Cable car
    A cable car is any of a variety of transportation systems relying on cables to pull vehicles along or lower them at a steady rate, or a vehicle on these systems.-Aerial lift:Aerial lifts where the vehicle is suspended in the air from a cable:...

  • Cable car (railway)
    Cable car (railway)
    A cable car or cable railway is a mass transit system using rail cars that are hauled by a continuously moving cable running at a constant speed. Individual cars stop and start by releasing and gripping this cable as required...

  • Cable ferry
    Cable ferry
    A cable ferry is guided and in many cases propelled across a river or other larger body of water by cables connected to both shores. They are also called chain ferries, floating bridges, or punts....

  • Canal inclined plane
    Canal inclined plane
    An inclined plane is a system used on some canals for raising boats between different water levels. Boats may be conveyed afloat, in caissons, or may be carried in cradles or slings. It can be considered as a specialised type of cable railway....

  • Elevator
    Elevator
    An elevator is a type of vertical transport equipment that efficiently moves people or goods between floors of a building, vessel or other structures...


  • Funiculì, Funiculà
    Funiculì, Funiculà
    "Funiculì, Funiculà" is a famous Neapolitan song written by Italian journalist Peppino Turco and set to music by Italian composer Luigi Denza in 1880. It was composed to commemorate the opening of the first funicular cable car on Mount Vesuvius. The 1880 cable car was later destroyed by the...

  • Grade (slope)
  • Gravity railroad
    Gravity railroad
    A gravity railroad or Gravity railway is a railroad on a slope that allow cars carrying minerals or passengers to coast down the slope by the force of gravity alone. The cars are then hauled back up the slope using animal power or a stationary engine and a cable, chain or one or more wide, flat...

  • Kaprun disaster
    Kaprun disaster
    The Kaprun disaster was a fire that occurred in an ascending railway car in the tunnel of the Gletscherbahn 2 railway in Kaprun, Austria, on 11 November 2000. The disaster claimed the lives of 155 people, leaving 12 survivors from the burning car...

  • List of funicular railways
  • Mountain railway
    Mountain railway
    A mountain railway is a railway that ascends and descends a mountain slope that has a steep grade. Such railways can use a number of different technologies to overcome the steepness of the grade...


  • Public transport
  • Rack railway
    Rack railway
    A rack-and-pinion railway is a railway with a toothed rack rail, usually between the running rails. The trains are fitted with one or more cog wheels or pinions that mesh with this rack rail...

     (Cog railway)
  • Reaction ferry
    Reaction ferry
    A reaction ferry is a cable ferry that uses the reaction of the current of a river against a fixed tether to propel the vessel across the river...

  • Ski lift
    Ski lift
    The term ski lift generally refers to any transport device that carries skiers up a hill. A ski lift may fall into one of the following three main classes:-Lift systems and networks:...

  • Slope car
    Slope car
    A is a small automated monorail, or a fusion between monorail, people mover, and rack railway. It is a brand name of Kaho Manufacturing. Since this mode of transportation is relatively unknown, it lacks widely accepted generic name, other than the simple "monorail". The system, however, is...



External links