Saturday, November 05, 2011


"A funicular, also known as an inclined plane or cliff railway, is a cable railway in which a cable attached to a pair of tram-like vehicles on rails moves them up and down a steep slope; the ascending and descending vehicles counterbalance each other."

So says Wikipedia. Seems funicular is an oft abused term. Its meaning is very narrow. Now, I wonder if these ever so cute trams in Lisbon meet the definition?

This one photographed by Herman Silbiger clearly does not. It appears to be a normal electric tram.

This rather interesting photo by Peter Ehrlich shows tracks that appear not to have any counterweight mechanisms.

This can't be one either. Can someone pass me a gun and I'll take out a few graffitists.

Oh, this one, by Pedro M, is a good possibility.

Might that be one going up and the other down. We may well have a funicular. Photo also by Pedro M.

They are rather cute, aren't they. Pedro M.

It must feel a bit odd if they ever sit on level tracks. Pedro M.

All I really wanted to do was show you this gorgeous little thing. I'm not sure who took the photo.

So who has been to Lisbon? It looks very nice. Now facts? You want facts? Oh. Well, it is a funicular, it opened in 1892 and climbs and descends Rue de Bica in Lisbon, distance 245 metres. You can see a one minute You Tube video of it here. Lads being lads the same all over the world like to indulge in risky behaviour.


  1. Ouch! It takes cojones, it does, doing something like that.
    Fascinating stuff, thanks Andrew.

  2. I don't think the first one is a funicular, where's the pully system, it's not in the road and neither on the tracks.

    I've been to Lisbon, and it's a great way to travel up those steep hills.

  3. Hello Andrew:
    Fascinating. As you say, they must look rather strange on level ground. We have something very similar up to the Castle in Buda, quite apart from the cog wheel railway which is, of course, entirely different.

  4. Such cute little trams, er, cable cars!
    I've never been to Lisbon, but I once worked with a girl who came from there. I helped her with her English.

  5. Narrow hilly streets and little room (nor evidence of) cars. Lisboa looks fascinating.

  6. Awesome ride indeed, i also like the polished stainless steel tram in the last photo :-).

  7. I know nothing of funiculae (sorry, just HAD to dream up a sentence for that word!!) but LOOOOVE the tram in the last shot! Although strangely reminiscent of Arnie in 'Predator'??!!

  8. FruitCake, I worry about his hand being used for a brake.

    JayLa, I will have a look and may post about it in the future.

    They are cute little things River. I hope you did not teach the Lisbon lass any bad words.

    Does to me too Victor, and pretty cheap I think as well. At the bottom of hill is a large body of water.

    Windsmoke, I bet it takes some keeping clean, and graffiti free.

    Red, that song was going through my head too. I missed that Arnie movie, in fact I've missed all of his.

  9. I looooooved Lisbon and its steep narrow streets and amazing views. I've always said I'd love to live there. Love those pics you've shared.

  10. Maybe instinctive Fen, but from a single simple tram photo, I picked up the Lisbon looked pretty nice.