Definition of funicular in English:



  • 1(of a railway, especially one on a mountainside) operating by cable with ascending and descending cars counterbalanced.

    • ‘So, in April 1884, they opened the first of a series of funicular railways, or elevadores, to tackle the gradients.’
    • ‘Start from the car park under Cairn Gorm, with its new funicular railway, which is still the cause of much debate.’
    • ‘I could have descended the hill by funicular railway, only there seemed little point queueing to squeeze myself into an overcrowded carriage for the one minute journey.’
    • ‘A few yards into the trees we came to a single bright-yellow car of a funicular railway.’
    • ‘A group of architects will this week unveil their visions for the future of Edinburgh's Royal Mile - including pedestrianisation, trams and a funicular railway.’
    • ‘Take the funicular railway up Penang Hill, past the old colonial-style bungalows, to see the magnificent views from the top.’
    • ‘If you opt for the mountain's new, controversial funicular railway, then you are probably going to find yourself trapped inside a glass visitors' centre, barred from even setting foot on Cairngorm.’
    • ‘First, it required a metro back into town (nearest metro stop just over a kilometre away) then a train out north, then a tram up a very steep hill, then a funicular railway to the top.’
    • ‘A ride on the oldest funicular railway in Asia, to the Victoria Peak, commonly known as the Peak, was spectacular.’
    • ‘Those inside the funicular railway, trying to make their way up to the 3029m summit station of the glacier, are likely to have been keen young skiers and snow-boarders.’
    • ‘The Government decision means the green light for major work to refurbish Pier Hill and provide a new link through a lift or funicular railway from the High Street to the seafront.’
    • ‘Cairngorm is hoping the £15m funicular railway, which opened last year, will help open the mountain to leisure pursuits other than skiing.’
    • ‘The big news this year is, of course, the opening of Cairngorm's high-speed funicular railway, a facility that, as far as skiers is concerned, is long overdue.’
    • ‘The enormous growth of tourism in the Alps means funicular railway and cable car operators seek to transport far more visitors than their operations were originally intended for.’
    • ‘He left because he was alarmed at the environmental damage being done by the 1.2 mile funicular railway being built to within 500 feet of the Cairngorm summit.’
    • ‘A funicular railway scales the mountain to the jumping-off point for the sledge run, which winds five kilometres downhill back to the railway terminus.’
    • ‘In the other direction from Poncebos, a bizarre (and ecologically controversial) funicular railway tunnels through the rock up to the sleepy village of Bulnes.’
    • ‘Requiring a more convenient mode of transportation, the idea of a railway was broached in 1897, but it wasn't until 1924 that the funicular railway to the top of Flagstaff Hill was built.’
    • ‘As the heat fades from the Italian summer, now's the ideal time to find out why, by taking advantage of the local airport and catching the funicular railway up to Bergamo's medieval citadel.’
    • ‘It is built on seven hills and sits around a beautiful harbour in the quaintly named Puddefjord, best viewed from the funicular railway that takes you more than 1,000 ft above the city.’
  • 2Relating to a rope or its tension.


  • A funicular railway.

    • ‘That presents no problem in Bergen: there is a funicular in the dead centre of the city rising up the nearest hill to walking trails which double up for cross country skiers in winter.’
    • ‘The funicular would suddenly stop, and you would look down and see the village miles below.’
    • ‘Engineers have built funiculars and incline railways for underground travel, too, such as into caves or mines.’
    • ‘This one is the hardest to find of the three funiculars but is the most interesting.’
    • ‘And there are almost as many domestic tourists reaching every nook and cranny of the country by a seamless transport system, its elements being trains - cogwheels, funiculars included - cable cars, buses and trams.’
    • ‘Dozens of funiculars are billed as the world's shortest, steepest or shortest-and-steepest railway.’
    • ‘That evening we dined at a mountain restaurant at Sunegga which can be reached only after a steep ride in a funicular.’
    • ‘This page lists some of the funiculars, inclines, and counterbalances that have operated in Northern California.’
    • ‘Other types of funiculars may utilize only one passenger car that is hoisted up and down the hillside or mountain.’
    • ‘The Red Cross said the rest were trapped inside the narrow two - carriage funicular at Kitzsteinhorn, south west of Salzburg.’
    • ‘The Tyrolean summer funiculars take you right in there - right into the heart of the exciting Tyrolean Mountains.’
    • ‘The ride itself ‘on one of the widest funiculars in the world’ takes seven minutes with a single upload of 120 standing passengers, whisking its clients from 2,100 feet to Ptarmigan Station at 3,600 feet.’
    • ‘The £15 million funicular has also soaked up a large proportion of the taxpayers' money available for supporting Highland developments.’
    • ‘Tourism minister Mike Watson was under pressure last night to scrap restrictions on the new Cairngorm mountain railway which prevent walkers getting on or off the funicular at the top of the mountain.’
    • ‘Monday The Mountaineering Council of Scotland adds to the furore over the controversial Cairngorm funicular which already has many skiers and conservationists up in arms.’
    • ‘He believes, however, that the funicular will plague the Westminster government and the Scottish Executive for years to come, particularly at election times.’
    • ‘The two other funiculars in Lisbon are Bica and Lavra.’
    • ‘Adams said more than 16,000 people had used the funicular in May and only 5% of them had objected to the system.’
    • ‘Just one day earlier things were very different, with hordes of skiers and snowboarders snaking back into the car park, queuing for a trip on the brand new funicular that opened on Christmas Eve after years of planning and controversy.’
    • ‘The resulting funicular depends on the depth of masonry above the voussoirs at the crown of the arch.’
    • ‘The 11 th-century Hohensalzburg Fortress, overlooking the Salzburg, affords amazing views and if you can't face the walk, its 1892 funicular will take you to the top in no time.’
    • ‘They drew the inspiration from the inauguration of the first funicular of Mt. Vesuvius.’
    • ‘The funicular runs coincide with the Line A and Line B minibus rides into and from the old town centre.’
    • ‘Is it conceivable that the funicular will impact on Hayes's tourist traffic?’
    • ‘Craving solitude we flock to the hills in droves; in search of the unspoilt we scar their slopes with tarmac and funiculars.’
    • ‘Mountaineers who have not used the funicular will not be allowed into the centre.’
    • ‘Although the official line is that the funicular will benefit the other ski areas by increasing the number of tourists who come to the Highlands, there are barely-concealed anxieties that it could monopolise an already shrinking market.’
    • ‘These funiculars are listed on the World Monument Watch list of endangered heritage.’
    • ‘After brunch in one of the many small cafes selling sweet potato snacks, dried donut cakes and biscuits, we make our way over the bridge, past the llama rides and into the throng of people waiting for the next funicular.’
    • ‘Admission to the Railroaders Memorial Museum includes access to Horseshoe Curve, which has a small museum and a funicular from there to the tracks of the curve.’
    • ‘As with the case of the Cairn Gorm funicular debacle, this Scottish Executive obviously sees development as a higher priority than conservation: yet another manifesto promise out the window.’
    • ‘Between lakes and mountains, this unusual funicular railway you to explore the Jura landscape.’
    • ‘Because cars are not allowed in the District, this funicular is the best way to get up there.’
    • ‘Visit the Cable Car Museum to see how the funicular helped in the development of this city.’
    • ‘The first idea to build a funicular is more than 100 years old, from the time when cities like Graz, Zagreb or Budapest realised a similar solution.’
    • ‘Apart from cliffside funiculars, it is the oldest working cable tramway in Britain.’


Mid 17th century (in the sense ‘of or like a cord or thread’): from Latin funiculus (diminutive of funis ‘rope’) + -ar.