Funicular Railways in Chongqing

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A funicular railway is a railway that operates on a steep slope, in which the carriages are pulled by a rope. Generally there are two carriages. The rope goes from one carriage up the track and around a drive wheel at the top, then down the track and is attached to the other carriage. So when one carriage is going up the track the other is coming down. The two carriages pass at the midpoint. There may be two separate tracks side by side or a single track with a central passing section with points. The weights of the two carriages balance each other so that the only energy needed is the energy to raise the excess weight of the contents going up over the contents coming down.

Funicular railways are often used to bring tourists to the tops of hills where there is a good view - for example in Salzburg or Hong Kong. They are also used where two parts of a city are at different heights - in Istanbul, the district of Beyoglu which is the centre of the modern city is on a plateau and is high above the sea where ferries connect it to other parts of the city. Two underground funicular railways transport huge numbers of commuters every day, one to the south end of Istiklal Street and the other to Taksim Square.

A cable car (except for the San Francisco ones) is a form of transport where a cable extends horizontally across a wide gap and a carriage hangs out of the cable. The cable is moved to move the carriage.

Chongqing has one or possibly two cable cars - there's the Yangste Cable Car which I've been on, and possibly one across the Jialing River as well.

Chongqing also in the past had three funicular railways. Two of these, the first and second listed here, are definitely no longer in existence, but I'm not sure about the third one. The tracks of it are still clearly visible on recent satellite photos but the railways themselves may have closed down.

1. Lianglukou - Caiyuanba

Click here

This had two carriages that look like modified Volkswagen minibuses, painted light blue with white roofs, no glass in windows. This railway was replaced in the 1990s by the modern Escalator, the longest one in China.

2. The Wànglóngmén Funicular

Wànglóngmén Funicular Railway, Yuzhong District. (The word lanche with cup on a, macron on e, means cable car or funicular railway.)

In one old shot, it is a really fancy old one going down to the river. In a picture from 1983, it looks like an orange version of the Lianglukou cable car, with what looks like Volkswagen minibuses, again with the river in the background. (The river would not be in the background of a shot of the Lianglukou cable car).

According to an article in 2015, it was built in 1944 and was Chongqing's first funicular. It was dismantled in 1993 when Binjiang Road was built, but there was talk of rebuilding it in 2015. I can't find Binjiang Road exactly, but Binjiang Park is on the south side of the peninsula, on the banks of the Yangste, and there is a large dual carriageway running along beside the river called Changjiangbinjiang Road - it may be this one.

Click Here

3. The Chaotianmen Enormous Funicular

A huge one with four parallel tracks. Carriages are wide and are painted yellow, with a blue bit underneath. This is on the Wikipedia Chongqing page as "Chongqing Funicular" without any location given. Both Bing Maps and Baidu Maps satellite views clearly show the four parallel tracks but it is not clear whether the carriages are still there. It is on the Jialing River at Chaotianmen, just 330m from the point which marks the confluence of the Jialing and the Yangste rivers. Once you know where to look, you can see it on GoogleMaps satellite view as well although it is in the shadow of a large building.

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