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.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Peter White / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Firefly Forest, Husky Club, Turnip Toss

    Frustration at the Australian Open, a light show in London, Republic Day parade rehearsals in India, snow cover in Yosemite Valley, anti-government protests in Peru, and much more

  • Yannick Gouguenheim / Ocean Art

    Winners of the 2022 Ocean Art Underwater Photo Contest

    Some of the top images from the 14 categories of underwater photography in this year’s competition

  • Toby Melville / Reuters

    2023 Lunar New Year Celebrations

    People around the world ushered in the Year of the Rabbit with displays of fireworks, family get-togethers, temple visits, and street festivals.

  • Emmanuel Dunand / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Epiphany Dips, Pet Blessings, Chicken Feet

    A theater festival in Chile, horses leaping through flames in Spain, a Russian missile strike in Ukraine, a green field in Saudi Arabia, and much more