So I live in Switzerland and there is lots of funiculars in my country. Most of those were built between 1890 and 1930, and for most of those the line is on the ground most of the time, there is bridges only where necessary, just like a regular train line.

The Moléson - Plan-Francey funicular is very particular in that not only it was built much more recently (in the late 1990s), but also the line is basically a huge bridge, the funicular never stands on the ground.

I think this is very weird and should have made the line much more expensive to build for no reason at all. Why is this line built on a giant bridge rather than on the ground with bridges only where necessary? Bridges would have made sense in order to make the line straighter (and thus shorter/faster), but the line is not even straigt anywhere !

  • Video of the funicular here.

  • Detailed photos and technical explainations about the funicular here

funicular picture from www.remontees-mecaniques.net

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    $\begingroup$ Do wild or farm animals live along the path of the track? An elevated track would eliminate the possibility of either a cow or deer on the track. My other thought is establishing pillars for the track might be cheaper, easier & quicker than having to do a lot of cut & fill work in the undulating topography. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Commented Nov 7, 2018 at 16:33
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    $\begingroup$ How deep does the snow get in winter, and does the train still run? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 7, 2018 at 23:28
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    $\begingroup$ I'd agree with Fred, though, in that your assertion that "have made the line much more expensive" needs some backup. Materials/construction technology moved on, to the point where this may have been the cheapest method - especially when you include the cost of time, as well as materials... $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 7, 2018 at 23:30
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    $\begingroup$ ^So, if it were on the ground, it'd be a problem to clear the snow from the tracks? (at least in the late 90's) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 8, 2018 at 9:21
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    $\begingroup$ in addition to environmental consideration of wildlife, snow accumulation, and the cost earth work to generate an acceptable profile versus spaced out footing and piers already mentioned, one might considered ease of construction and quality control. Manufacturing components in a factory setting has much higher quality control for part than field manufactured components. Due to the high quality control, you get faster construction which can reduce labour costs. The price of steel would be another thing to look at. you would really need to do a cost benefit analysis including life cycle $ $\endgroup$
    – Forward Ed
    Commented Nov 15, 2018 at 4:48


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