Secret Wonders of Public Transit?


San Francisco’s Municipal Railway has one line (Market Street) that uses vintage streetcars from all over the world. Very cool! Streetcars | Market Street Railway


Never been, but I love the l-o-n-g name of the train station in Wales, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

For more info, go to Llanfairpwllgwyngyll – Travel guide at Wikivoyage


Thank you for the Iowa shout out! It’s a fun little ride up the funicular, the views are gorgeous, and you can see the neighboring state of Illinois at the top!


The “Personal Rapid Transit” in Morgantown WV. I’m surprised this hasn’t been replicated all over the world - it’s such a simple concept. Small cars, several stops, on an 8.7 mile continuous loop.


Ascensore Montegellato in Genoa - a multi mode underground lift in which a cart enters the steep hill side horizontally and then comes to a halt deep underground. A jolting chorus of whirring gears and cables heralds the transition to vertical movement and the cart ascends the last leg a la Willy Wonka.


I have had the opportunity to travel on a lot of cool systems like the Euro-train but the most unique was the Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) installed at West Virginia University in 1975. I used it during my time as a student and then some. It consisted of a small driver-less vehicles zooming around on semi-enclosed concrete tracks. A really forward looking system considering the date. What’s more amazing is that it is still in use to this day.

Wikipage: Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit - Wikipedia


Not sure if this qualifies as public transit but on a visit to Trondheim, Norway we encountered the Trampe Bicycle Lift. Basically it’s steam driven (I believe) chain that runs underground on a steep hill. Attached to the chain and sticking up out of the ground are multiple “pedals”. You would ride your bike up to one of these pedals, place your foot on it while remaining seated on your bike, and it would then propel you and your bike up the hill - ingenious!


What a great, unintentional, gift from Hubby and a forward-thinking Mom.

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When I was a student at Pittsburgh’s Art Institute (1973 - 1975), I rose on the Monongahela Incline, one of TWO funiculars to get up to the top of Mount Washington. It’s a great place to view Pittsburgh’s wonderful downtown. I found a picture of it to share.


There are a number of street elevators in (hilly) Bilbao.
They are accessed from what looks like a normal shopfront in the street, but when you enter there’s just a lift (or two) at the back.
They have long passageways connecting the top of the lift shaft to the surrounding hill.
(I haven’t been for a while so not sure if any/all are still operating)


I have a few transport loves. I am one of the people who really love the cable car system in London - great views, higher than the Eye, you can get to it by boat (fantastic tourist day) and then go on a ride trip. I am not sure it is a great addition to the London Transport system but fun. The creaky wooden trams in Oslo are fantastic too - trams in town and funicular out of town. And the lift in Brussels Elevator to the Sky Brussels | Spotted by Locals - saves so many sore legs. But I am looking forward to the new fully automated and driverless 4minute railway between Luton Airport Parkway and the Airport. Coming soon and it looks really smart.

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The Roosevelt Island Tram in NY City. Commuted on it for 3 years and never got bored.


The Elephant Express in Zimbabwe is an open rail car that runs from Dete Station to southern Hwange N. P. You can see lots of wildlife along the way on the trip that takes up to 3 hours


Several years ago we were visiting Lake Como, and gad done the tour boat. Walking away from the lake we saw the funicular. Como to Brunate. A straight up trip to a beautiful little village. As we exited the small local church organist was practicing for the weekend.
The music was beautiful, but the view of the alps was spectacular!


Dinky Line at Princeton University, in NJ. 2.7 miles long with one car on standard gauge track and one stop. Supposedly shortest rail line in USA.


The New Orleans street car! The St. Charles Ave. line is on the National Register of Historic Places. The cars are still the original green and are utterly lacking in air conditioning, but that’s how it should be. For $1.25, you can ride from Riverbend (where the Mississippi bends to form the bottom of the crescent of New Orleans) all the way to Canal Street right next to the French Quarter and pass through all the Uptown and Garden District mansions along the way. The newer lines have red cars (and air conditioning). I found a pic for you._Charles_Streetcar_New_Orleans


Somehow I’d never seen the PRT in Motown, or at least paid attention until I was in town for a show about a month ago and my buddy there pointed it out. Super neat.

I think I’ve only ridden the Mon Incline once @alanrogers250 despite having been here for practically all my life. Last week one of them (Duquesne maybe) pooped the bed in the middle of the run on an 80° day and it was reportedly just a bit stuffy by the time they got them moving again. What I really enjoy is seeing the remnants of the other inclines that are long gone. Great example at the end of 21st street on the south side.

Johnstown is home to what was reportedly once the world’s steepest funicular.

Since I’m getting good at slightly bending the spirit of threads, my personal favorite wonder of public transit is seeing a 20 ton bus on a lift for maintenance. Katherine Eagan Kelleman (CEO of PAT transit) and one of the guys that work at a garage tweeted a few pics at my request. Both of these buses are 20+ tons.

I get very conscious of what I’m doing when I’m under a 3600 lb. Jeep on two jack stands. That blows my mind.

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Sometimes normal public transit systems can be a wonder. My wife and I lived on the Isle of Wight for a month and used their double-decker bus system to facilitate a hike around the 90+ mile circumference of the island and get around the island for volunteer work and other adventures.
But the best part was interacting and observing the locals who used the system in their daily lives. School kids used it to get to school, parents to get to work, and tourists to see the island.
The funniest encounter was a young girl in her school uniform coming back from school with her father. We overheard her clearly ask, “Daddy, did you know that mummy has another baby in her tummy?”
One of the wonders of any public transit system is connecting with local life.


The funicular in Bergen, Norway takes you to a fabulous view of the fjord below, ‘Norwegian Woods’ and a collection of carved trolls that are scattered through the wooded area.
I also loved the funicular in Llandudno, Wales, the Great Orme Tramway that takes folks to the top of the Great Orme, a limestone headland in the north of Wales.


Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway in Southwest England. In continuous operation since 1890 and water powered. How environmentally friendly is that? Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway - Wikipedia