CHONGQING, CHINA: The lift used to deliver people to and from the Chaotianmen ferry in Chongqing. The city of Chongqing is one of the fastest-growing urban centres on the planet. It is changing ferociously rapidly, its economic growth is astounding and it is attracting hordes of people looking for riches but it is also suffering from high pollution and a huge income gap. It is by some measures already the worlds largest city, with 32 million inhabitants, although most are peasants who live within newly redrawn municipal limits. (Photo by Alessandro Rizzi/Getty Images)
Moving people and freight up and down steep terrain has always been a difficult problem, and beginning in the 1860s, the funicular railway became a solution that has been tried in hundreds of locations around the world
Circa 1890: Passengers travelling up the grand viaduct at Murren, Switzerland on a steep funicular railway. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
One part elevator, one part streetcar, these counterbalanced cable railways have been built on mountaintops for tourists, on hillsides for mines, along rivers to reach ports, and in cities for public transport.
The barrel-shaped carriages of a new funicular line are seen on the illuminated track before the opening ceremony near the Alpine resort of Stoos, Switzerland 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann – RC1DB9DBDBD0
Each unique setting provides its own set of challenges, and funicular designs are rarely standardized.