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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.
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
CML's collapse followed the discovery last September of structural problems on the funicular's concrete support beams, which have kept it out of action since.
The funicular takes you to the vantage point at the top of Fl[degrees]ien Mountain, 320m above sea level.
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.
The Citta Alta is a walled medieval city on a hilltop and it is linked to the lower and more modern Citta Bassa by road and by a funicular train.
The seeming simplicity of construction, the prominence of wood, stucco and fieldstone and the absence of any obvious 'techy' bits other than the automatically adjusted external louvres shading the roof and the funicular providing the only access, is not what many might expect of Piano.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise's (HIE) plans to get the Cairngorm funicular railway repaired and back in service were the focus of business leaders yesterday.
Leo Allison, 40, was on Saltburn's funicular with his wife, daughter and friends when it slammed into the cabin at the top.
The empty roller-coaster cars are hauled to the top of the track by the riders themselves, who sit in an adjoining funicular vehicle.
He said yesterday: ``We had some snow appear, but unfortunately gusts of up to 100 mph, forced us to close the funicular at 1 pm.''
The aerial railway - a funicular - would take visitors to Harlech from almost sea level to the top of the town,alongside its historic castle.
The eaterie - which is situated next to the pounds 15million funicular railway and visitor centre - has already been booked for a sports award dinner and a wedding.