Definitions and technical points

Some technical points

At the beginning of the railway transportations, the tracks were quite horizontal, but quickly arrived the necessity for the trains to use inclined areas . To solve this problem, the cog wheel trains were used for the long distances with multiple curves. But this system is limited for inclines with medium gradients. But for small distances with big gradient and small sinuosity another system was used: the funicular traction. With this system, the vehicle is pulled by a cable during the rising, and only guided during the descent. The cable is moved by a fix power unit which can be of different kinds.

In this magazine we will only speak about funiculars and cable railways (vehicles guided by rails). So it will exclude another kind of cable transportation which are the aerial cableways.

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(the red circle is a power unit, the white circle is a passive pulley)
Conterbalanced / one cabin is heavier than the other one
Conterbalanced / one cabin is heavier than the other one /
one cable for the tension
Classical Funicular: one cabin is pulled, the other one is guided
Only one cabin, sometimes also called lift
Only one cabin and a conterweight
Only one cabin but the power unit is at the lower station
Two cabins independant or coupled
Modern Funicular: same as classical Funicular but with a cable for the tension
Same as modern Funicular but with the power station at the bottom
One cabin, one cable for the tension and the engine in the middle
Two half sections and the power unit between the two sections
Cable car / APM (Automated People Mover)
System Agudio / the power unit is into the cabin
Cable to help normal train to climb an incline track
The cabin is suspended to the rails
Cabin on rails pulled by aerial cable
One cabin, one loop cable, engine at the top
One cabin, one loop cable, engine at the bottom
Movable Boat carrier
Reversible monocable


One track with a siding (2-4-2)
Two tracks with 3 rails, a siding, one track (3-4-2)
Two tracks with 3 rails and a siding (3-4-3)
Single track
Two parallel tracks
Two parallel tracks and a siding
typvoie7.gif Rollers (no rails)
On cables (Telefuni)


In use
Project or Under construction
Converted into a cog wheel train


Water counterbalanced
Water counterbalanced
Additional method
Water counterbalanced
Subtractive method
Human or Animal
Petrol, gazoline
gravity Gravity


Industrial (private)
Industrial (with special visits)