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Related to funicular: Funicular polygon, funicular hernia


1. a railway up the side of a mountain, consisting of two counterbalanced cars at either end of a cable passing round a driving wheel at the summit
2. relating to or operated by a rope, cable, etc.



a cable-drawn, hoisting and conveying system for moving passengers and freight for short distances up steep grades. Funiculars are used in cities and resort centers as well as in mountainous regions. The use of the funicular as a form of passenger transport was first proposed in 1825, with the first installations opening in 1854 in Genoa, Italy, and Sommerein, Austria.

A funicular may be described as a hoist with cars that are connected by cable to a power-driven winch; the cars move between upper and lower stations along an inclined railway. The winch and its drive are usually located at the upper station. Carrying passengers, freight, or both, a funicular may use one car, which alternately ascends and descends, or, more often, two cars, which are fastened to opposite ends of a cable and move counter to each other, the weight of one counterbalancing that of the other.

Two-car funiculars have either a double track, with a separate path for each car, or a single track with a siding halfway up the run. Passenger cars are built so that the floor remains nearly horizontal regardless of the inclination of the track (usually less than 35°C). Freight cars, which transport such materials as timber and rock, are designed more simply than passenger cars, and the stations are equipped for loading and unloading operations.

The safety features of funicular cars include emergency brakes, warning devices, communications gear, and block signal systems, all of which may be used to coordinate operations between the upper and lower stations and bring cars to a halt if an emergency arises.

Intermittent operations, lengthy periods required for loading and unloading, speeds of less than 3 m per second, and the inability to travel complex routes limit the use of funiculars, which generally handle no more than 600 persons per hour. In the USSR, funiculars are used in Odessa, Kiev, Tbilisi, and Sochi.



References in periodicals archive ?
The riders then walk from the foot of the funicular track to the top of the hill, to enjoy their ride down the roller- coaster track.
The Billingham family were travelling on the Saltburn funicular railway, inset right, when it crashed.
We will be working closely with the engineers that restored the funicular, and will be able to give a more precise answer then.
The funicular principle was set out in the 1750s by a Scottish lawyer called Michael Menzies, and as with all such brilliant inventions was surprisingly simple.
Plans and pictures were sent by e-mail to Swiss consultants Doppelmayr, in Geneva and Zurich, with experience in repairing funicular and Alpine railways.
A steep challenge for the Tune Team as they are asked to find suitable "lift" music for the funicular railway at Machynlleth's Centre for Alternative Technology.
Cairngorm reported booming business despite high winds, with the controversial pounds 15million funicular, opened last month, proving a success.
One man was fatally injured and seven other people were hurt when a cable apparently snapped on the historic Angels Flight funicular in downtown Los Angeles at lunch time Thursday, sending one car hurtling down Bunker Hill into the second car.
Contract notice: Service cableway funicular Bulnes, Cabrales, during the period between 11.
The wreckage of an aircraft was discovered yesterday on Cairngorm Mountain, just over half a mile from the Funicular Railway.
5million funicular railway helped slash losses by a third from pounds 1.
Forty years on, the White Lady chairlift, and its 'feeder' chairlift from Coire Cas car park, have gone, and in their place, appropriately from this December, will be the UK's only high-speed funicular railway.