That Escalated Quickly: Putting the Fun in Funiculars

Moving people and freight up and down steep terrain has always been a difficult problem, and beginning in the 1860s, the funicular railway became a solution that has been tried in hundreds of locations around the world. One part elevator, one part streetcar, these counterbalanced cable railways have been built on mountaintops for tourists, on hillsides for mines, along rivers to reach ports, and in cities for public transport. Each unique setting provides its own set of challenges, and funicular designs are rarely standardized. Gathered here for your enjoyment, if you are so inclined, is a collection of images of some of these varied and intriguing steep railways.

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