Secret Wonders of Public Transit?


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


I was about to make the same post! Glad to see you have this one covered already. When I lived in Pittsburgh I loved riding these.


Oregon City, Oregon has a municipal elevator!

Oregon City Municipal Elevator - Wikipedia


Chattanooga Tennessee, Lookout Mountain Incline


Green River Ferry, Mammoth Cave National Park Kentuckygreen_river_ferry_mammoth_cave_national_park-2


I’ve done the same thing on the Metro in Paris. Pretty cool.


Yes, great perspective. Thank you.


I love the Dinky!


My dad was born and raised in Wuppertal! So I did a double-take when I saw the lead picture of the wonderful train that most people have never heard of, in an otherwise forgettable “gritty” industrial city.

I have many childhood memories of taking the Schwebebahn from the city centre to the zoo (the romantic last stop on the line). An elephant once travelled on the Schwebebahn, but got scared and jumped out into the river below. The elephant was fine!

@dmfcoaching - I used to live there! I attended nearby Bangor University. It’s indeed a mouthful, and referred to as Llanfair-P-G in conversation.

My contribution for a noteworthy transportation method is the regular scheduled flight between the two Scottish islands of Westray and Papa Westray. It’s the shortest scheduled flight in the world, at approximately one minute. But far from being frivolous, it’s essential for the communities on these very isolated islands, to do things like go shopping, to the school, to the doctor, etc.


Steepest incline in the world is in Johnstown, Pennsylvania (USA). It has a 70.9% grade. I grew up near there. It is a fun ride. Johnstown is, by the way, about 65 miles east-southeast of Pittsburgh.

Of course Johnstown is more famous for its 1889 and 1977 floods than its incline.


This crazy elevator that never stops was worth searching out. Not at all scary, we saw a woman using a cane manage quite well. City Hall employees use it as a matter of course, but there were a few other tourists who’d sought it out.


haha I’m very interested in hearing more about this elephant story…


Atlas Obscura :heart: Paternosters!

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My old man once told me about how he crossed the Rio Grande de Loíza (Big Loiza River) once using the transporting service at the time called “El Ancón de Loíza” (I assume Ancón means Big/Huge Anchor):

(Source: Pinterest)

Basically, it was a raft for vehicles to cross from the town of Loíza to San Juan. Supposedly it was active since the 1700s. It no longer exists as you may have guessed, since they built a bridge that crosses over.

However, according to this site there’s currently a project to rescue that feel of crossing in a raft (Is in Spanish and for some reason some vowels are replaced with x’s):

Hope it succeeds cause I would like to experience it.