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15 Scenic Images of Funicular Railways from Around the World

Themed Collections

12 October 2017

Posted by Tim Boddy

Ah the funicular railway - not just a mode of transportation in a Wes Anderson film, but a practical (and often beautiful) way of getting up a steep incline for those in many cities.

Derived from the Latin word funiculus, the humble funicular railway saw a huge boom in urban areas, particularly in Europe, from the 1860’s onwards as industrialisation took over. The oldest funicular railway operating in the UK dates from 1875 and is in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. They had existed prior to this in some form for hundreds of years before, but mostly as a means of transporting goods (and not people) up and down steep hills.

As well as their practical use for inhabitants of a city, they offer tourists a unique experience while providing frequently wonderful views of the town/city below, and surrounding area. The tram-like vehicles are often resplendent in their own right, with quaint designs much like that of… yes, a Wes Anderson film.

Many different types exist; from water-powered funicular railways such as the gorgeous Bom Jesus do Monte near Braga, to the lengthy Fløibanen in Bergen, Norway - a 2,789-foot funicular that whisks visitors to the top of Mount Fløyen. Here are some of our favourite images of funicular railways in stunning locations found across the globe.

Funicular railway with fog, Lombardy, Lake Como, Brunate, Italy.

Funicular railway with fog, Lombardy, Lake Como, Brunate, Italy. Read less

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Giuseppe Maresca

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Fløibanen funicular railway with view of Bergen from Mount Fløyen, Bergen, Norway.

Fløibanen funicular railway with view of Bergen from Mount Fløyen, Bergen, Norway. Read less

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robertharding

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Funicular Train in Ellmau, Austria.

Funicular Train in Ellmau, Austria. Read less

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Stephen B

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The funicular railway runs across the alpine meadows, Muottas Muragl, Samedan, Canton of Graubunden, Engadine, Switzerland.

The funicular railway runs across the alpine meadows, Muottas Muragl, Samedan, Canton of Graubunden, Engadine, Switzerland. Read less

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robertharding

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Hungerburgbahn, hybrid funicular railway, Lowenhaus station by Zaha Hadid, Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria.

Hungerburgbahn, hybrid funicular railway, Lowenhaus station by Zaha Hadid, Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria. Read less

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Carlos Sanchez Pereyra

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Another view of the funicular railway at Lombardy, Lake Como, Brunate, Italy.

Another view of the funicular railway at Lombardy, Lake Como, Brunate, Italy. Read less

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Giuseppe Maresca

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Funicular railway below hill top town, Montecatini Alto, Tuscany, Italy.

Funicular railway below hill top town, Montecatini Alto, Tuscany, Italy. Read less

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robertharding

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The historic public funicular railway surrounded by foliage in Bergamo, Italy.

The historic public funicular railway surrounded by foliage in Bergamo, Italy. Read less

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Frank Bach

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Funicular railway, named Ascensor El Peral, leading up a hill in Valparaiso, Chile.

Funicular railway, named Ascensor El Peral, leading up a hill in Valparaiso, Chile. Read less

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Jess Kraft

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Funicular at San Cristobal Hill (Cerro San Cristobal), Barrio Bellavista (Bellavista Neighborhood), Santiago, Chile.

Funicular at San Cristobal Hill (Cerro San Cristobal), Barrio Bellavista (Bellavista Neighborhood), Santiago, Chile. Read less

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robertharding

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Funicular railway track in Muerren, a famous Swiss skiing resort.

Funicular railway track in Muerren, a famous Swiss skiing resort. Read less

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Alexander Chaikin

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A prime example of a very ‘Wes Anderson’ cable car on the Castle Hill, Budapest, Hungary.

A prime example of a very ‘Wes Anderson’ cable car on the Castle Hill, Budapest, Hungary. Read less

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Aleksandrs Tihonovs

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View of the Bica Funicular, Lisbon, Portugal.

View of the Bica Funicular, Lisbon, Portugal. Read less

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robertharding

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View of the Santa Marta favela (slum community) showing the funicular railway, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

View of the Santa Marta favela (slum community) showing the funicular railway, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Read less

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robertharding

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Calcada da Gloria street at night in Lisbon, Portugal.

Calcada da Gloria street at night in Lisbon, Portugal. Read less

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Artur Bogacki

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