14 amazing funiculars from around the world

14 amazing funiculars from around the world

Categories: History | Society | World

Funiculars are not only one of the most impressive types of transport in terms of panoramas opening from the windows, but also allow you to organize the transportation of people and goods along the steepest routes. We will tell you about the fourteen most amazing lifts.

14 amazing funiculars from around the world

14 amazing funiculars from around the world

At the turn of the XIX-XX centuries, trips in the Rust Belt area in Pittsburgh were carried out on inclined railways, which, in the absence of safe ordinary roads, served to transport goods and residents. Today, only two of Pittsburgh's legendary funiculars are still in operation. Both of them ascend to the summit from the south side of Mount Washington. These are the super-cool 193-meter " Monongiela "(1870) — the oldest funicular in the United States, as well as the 242-meter" Duckweather " (1877), which was restored by local residents after closing in early 1960. Both are owned by the City of Pittsburgh, but Duckweesn is run by a non-profit organization. Both funiculars are listed on the US National Register of Historic Places. Now these vehicles attract quite a lot of tourists, especially the "Duckweather", which leads to a small museum, a souvenir shop and an observation deck at the very top of Mount Washington. Most residents of Pittsburgh can show you many ways to admire the "Steel City". But to see it in all its glory, you will have to ride an old funicular at a speed of 10 kilometers per hour to climb to the top of Mount Washington. Even acrophobics can stand it.

14 amazing funiculars from around the world

Those who have been to the colorful Chilean city of Valparaiso can say that without a funicular you will not be able to get to the observation deck of "Paseo 21 de Mayo". This crazy bohemian paradise by the sea has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2003. There are many inclined railways in the city, skirting the neighborhoods located on steep slopes. Despite the fact that there are almost 30 funiculars in Valparaiso (most of them appeared in the 1890s and early 1900s), only a small part of these famous "ascensores" (elevators) are actively used now. Many of them have been declared a national treasure. So which one should I choose? Let's stop at the funicular "Artillery" (1893). It is not the oldest (the first were "Concepcion" and "Cordillera") and not the longest in the city (the round trip lasts only 80 seconds), nevertheless, it has become the best place for photos in Valparaiso. Perhaps this popularity is due to the brightly painted wooden cars or the fact that the "Paseo 21 de Mayo" offers the best view of the city. Unfortunately, it seems that the "Artillery" will soon fail, but there are other alternatives besides it.

14 amazing funiculars from around the world

The bright and pretentious center of Los Angeles is not famous for its funiculars, here you will find only "Flight of Angels" (1901) — the last inclined railway of the city, which once had a lot of them. Built on a steep but short slope, it connected Hill and Olive Streets in Bunker Hill, the central district of Los Angeles. In 1969, after 68 years of service, the 90-meter funicular and its two cars "Sinai" and "Olivet" were dismantled to make way for the ongoing reconstruction of the area. Almost 30 years later, in 1996 ,the "Flight of Angels" was finally remembered and restored near its former location. And then the problems began: in 2001, as a result of an accident on a funicular, a person was killed, several others were injured. After an investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board found that the reason for this was failures in the new transportation system. 

In 2010, when Sinai and Olivet restored and replaced the faulty system, the Flight of Angels resumed work. In 2011, it was briefly decommissioned for restoration work, and then in September 2013, it was closed again indefinitely after one of the cars derailed (this time no one was killed). Meanwhile, Los Angeles was forced to restore the lift again, and it remains to be seen when the iconic railway will welcome passengers again. After the last closure, the Los Angeles Times published an article in which it reported the following: The Flight of Angels is one of the few remaining funiculars in the country, it is a historical landmark of the city. In 1901, people went up and down for pennies. Today, a trip of one minute and four seconds is still cheap — 50 cents. As long as it's safe, let's keep driving."

14 amazing funiculars from around the world

Although most of the funiculars from our list offer unique views that can be observed while climbing the mountainside, in the case of the "Carmelite" everything is different. This completely hidden underground inclined railway has earned the honorary title of the smallest metro in the world. The "Carmelite" is the only underground transport in Israel. The tunnel through which the traffic goes is laid in Mount Carmel. Its construction was started in 1956, in 1959 the first passengers were accepted. From 1986 to 1992, a large-scale reconstruction was carried out, after which the funicular was reopened. There are four cars (two for each train) and six stations on the line. The upper station "Gan A-Em" is located at an altitude of 274 meters above sea level. "Kikar-Paris" is the lower station, where the depot and repair shops are located. The trip along the "Carmelite" from top to bottom takes about eight minutes.

14 amazing funiculars from around the world

The 850-meter funicular "Fleibanen" transports visitors to the top of Fleien — one of the seven mountains surrounding the Norwegian city of Bergen. Many people would like this short (8 minutes) trip up with three stops along the way to last forever. Views from the panoramic windows of two cars (blue and red) with glass ceilings, they simply defy description. If the weather allows and there is enough time, be sure to rent a canoe to swim around the Skumakerdike ("Shoemaker's Ditch"). Grab a hiking map and take a walk along the forest paths or have a snack on traditional Norwegian seafood dishes in the restaurant at an altitude of 300 meters above sea level.

14 amazing funiculars from around the world

The Fourth Street Elevator, also known as the Fenelon Elevator, was built because one rich guy really wanted to go home for lunch, but he couldn't spend 30 minutes every time on a ride in a horse cart to get there. The house of J. K. Graves (a banker and former senator) was located on the top of a steep cliff, and from 1882 he began to travel back and forth in a kind of funicular. Although the fare has increased significantly since then, the funicular is still working. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

14 amazing funiculars from around the world

If you are planning to visit the third largest city in Italy with a hilly landscape, be sure to take a ride on the Metropolitana di Napoli and on one of the four famous funiculars — "Chiaia" (1889), "Montesanto" (1891 ), "Central" (1928) and "Mergellina" (1931) — or on all in turn. Due to the chaotic landscape of the city and constant congestion, most residents prefer to ride the Central Funicular, which connects the four most important stations. This is the busiest and largest (1,219 meters) inclined railway. Augusteo is just over a 4-minute drive from Fuga Square at the station in Chichi Vomero. Speaking about the funiculars of Naples, it is worth mentioning the Vesuvius funicular, built in 1800, which has ceased to exist (guess why).

14 amazing funiculars from around the world

An hour and a half drive east to Cumbria County airport, you will find "the steepest transport route in the world". With a total length of 273 meters, the system's spacious cable cars lead up the slope of Yoder Hill at an incredibly steep angle (70.9 degrees), reaching a mark of more than 487 meters. During major floods in 1936 and 1977, the path was used for its intended purpose — for evacuation from the city. The rest of the time, it is very popular among tourists — a round trip costs $4.

14 amazing funiculars from around the world

Dubbed" America's Most Amazing Mile, "Lookout Mountain (1895) stretches just over a kilometer from the Chattanooga St. Elmo Historic district to the top of Lookout Mountain. Those who are afraid of heights can close their eyes during the entire 15-minute trip up and down, but this is simply inexcusable, given the picturesque panoramic view that opens from the windows of the 42-seat car. Considering that a round trip costs $15, this technical miracle is used only by tourists. The funicular is especially popular with visitors interested in the American Civil War, who want to get to the Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Park.

14 amazing funiculars from around the world

The 108-meter Montmartre funicular in the 18th arrondissement of Paris is one of the most recognizable funiculars in the world and carries more than 2 million passengers a year. In 1991, the system became fully automatic and began to attract visitors with its ultra-modernity. The Montmartre funicular is considered part of the Paris metro system and is an alternative to the 300-step staircase leading to the Sacre Coeur Catholic Church. The current "Montmartre" is no longer a funicular in the traditional sense, but an inclined elevator, given that it now operates independently, without using an inclined lifting technology with counterweights, as classic funiculars do. The entire trip takes 90 seconds.

14 amazing funiculars from around the world

The "Nizenbahn", a funicular in the Oberland region of the Swiss Alps, connects the village of Melenen with the top of the "Swiss Pyramid". It is neither the oldest funicular in Switzerland (the oldest is the Gisbach, opened in 1879), nor the steepest (its maximum angle of inclination is 68 degrees, while the Helmerbahn reaches 106), but it is the Nizenbahn that is the longest — 2.2 kilometers. Next to this funicular, the longest staircase in the world has been built, which consists of 11,767 steps.

14 amazing funiculars from around the world

Delivering tourists to Victoria Peak (1364 meters), this tram-funicular begins its journey from the site next to the Hong Kong Park. It plays the role of an attraction for tourists, a trip on which costs about $5 in both directions. At the terminal station there is a shopping and entertainment center with many restaurants with viewing platforms. The trip to the" Tower Peak " — the very top of Victoria Peak — takes 15 minutes, during which the funicular covers a distance of 3 kilometers at an angle of up to 45 degrees.

14 amazing funiculars from around the world

The Wuppertal suspension Road with a length of 1448 meters is a tram monorail system on overpasses. This is one of the oldest monorails. Most of it passes over the Wupper River at an altitude of 12 meters, and the train moves along it with a maximum speed of 60 km / h. Nowadays, the entire system has been modernized, but tourists are offered a ride on a real Kaiserwagen-the train on which the emperor was transported in 1900. There is also a second cable car in Dresden, but this time it is on the ground. It leads from the Kernerplatz square to the Weisser Hirsch quarter. Along the 547-meter-long path, the funicular passes through two tunnels, and the maximum slope of this road is only 29 degrees.

Keywords: History | Transport | Tram | World | Society

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