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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
The Penang Hill funicular railway can be traced back to the 1890s when visitors and residents used ponies, horse carriages and doolies to go up the hill.
The BilbaoCard provides visitors with free transport on the Metro, funicular railway, la Salve Elevator and tram, as well as discounts on attractions, restaurants, shops and performances.
SIGHTSEEING - The views from the top of the funicular railway in Bergen are amazing but there are too many sights worth seeing to narrow it down to just one.
The collapsed cliff next to the East Cliff funicular railway
2000: At least 150 skiers, many of them children, die in an intense fire on board a funicular railway DEMI Moore, US actress, 1962, above KURT Vonnegut Jr, US writer, 1922 GEORGE S Patton, US general, 1885 DIED NED Kelly, Australian criminal, 1880 YASSER Arafat, Palestinian leader, 2004, above NAT Turner, American rebel slave, 1831
The ystanbul Metropolitan Municipality announced that many transport services in ystanbul were cancelled, such as the metro, tram and funicular railway systems and the Marmaray line, which links the city's Asian and European sides via an undersea commuter train line.
I know this because I witnessed the closure of Cairngorm's funicular railway PEAKVIEWING...
This year, top marks go to the Eden Project in Cornwall, the SS Great Britain in Bristol, the Cairngorm Funicular Railway and the Ski Centre in Aviemore, praised for its "brilliant" instructors.
2000: Skiers die in train tunnel inferno AT least 150 people are feared to have died in an intense fire on board a funicular railway in Austria.
He also examines a waterpowered mechanism that operates the UK's oldest funicular railway at Saltburn-by-the-Sea.
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BRIDGNORTH CLIFF RAILWAY Castle Terrace, Bridgnorth, Shropshire 01746 762052 Since 1892 it's been the oldest and steepest inland electrical funicular railway in Britain and travels up the sandstone cliffs linking the High and Low Towns of Bridgnorth, with great views.