Secret Wonders of Public Transit?


I almost forgot that Lisbon has an escalator now as well, I think since last year…


Live in the town right next door, if you want to visit I wouldn’t get your hopes up, it’s just a normal station with it’s name plastered everywhere with loads of coach trippers. However if you do visit make sure to go check out the abandoned monument to the marquess of Anglesey, the lions hidden underneath the britania bridge over the Menai straits, and the hidden treasures in plas newydd. Llanfairpwll has lots of wonders but it’s name is not one


I have fond memories of that funicular in Bergen, if it’s the same one I’m thinking of. Many moons ago (the early 1970’s) I was staying in a youth hostel at the top of the mountain accessed by the funicular. It seemed to be located in the middle of a natural conservation area or preserve of some sort. I remember very clearly that although the hostel was modern, beautiful, and well maintained, there were no indoor toilets, only outhouses in order to be environmentally-friendly. In the middle of the night I had to pee (lucky I was much younger then and getting up in the night to pee was a rare occurrence, as opposed to now!) I stumbled around the place looking for the loo when the night watchman found me and was very stern in Norwegian that I was not going to find an indoor toilet on the premises. He then had to unlock the doors to the hostel to let me outside to the latrines. It was embarrassing and inconvenient, but it didn’t deter me from returning there some years later during my extended honeymoon. The views from the mountain top and the sense of being surrounded by this glorious natural environment was amazing. If they had to eschew indoor toilets to keep things that pristine, that was ok by me.

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It’s been quite a long time now (15+ years?) since I had the opportunity to travel through Japan. While I was there I stopped at a town called Hakone in between Tokyo and Kyoto - it’s up in the mountains and known for both its local woodworking and its natural hot springs, but what I remember most about my stay there was taking the Komagatake Ropeway up to a mountaintop shrine with really breathtaking views on all sides (including Mt. Fuji). While I’m not a particularly religious individual, it was hard not to feel something akin to transcendence there.

If Hakone isn’t on your list of things to see, for the ride up the ropeway alone, I strongly recommend making a stop there.


In most cases, I wouldn’t classify funiculars and aerial tramways (sometimes called cable cars) as public transit (with some important exceptions) but I am still very much a sucker for these things. It seems that they always take one to special places! And I take them whenever they are available to me. I especially liked the aerial tram in Cape Town that ascends to Table Mountain. The gondola of this one is special in my opinion, because there are no bad views from it, regardless of how many people they stuff in there, because the floor of the thing revolves around 360 degrees as you travel up the mountain. It’s a bit dizzy-making, but fair. Also fun is the funicular near the Cape of Good Hope that goes up the mountain to a now defunct lighthouse that used to watch over the ships rounding the Cape in the treacherous waters where the South Atlantic meets the Indian Ocean. Another fav is the Barcelona aerial tram that swings out from the Barceloneta peninsula, over the bay (a little scary being suspended so high over the water for most of the way) and up to the castle on Mont Juic. Views are pretty spectacular.

The Table Mountain gondola, nearing the bottom of its run. Table Mountain is now considered one of the New 7 Wonders of the Natural World.

The view of Lion’s Head from Table Mountain. Cape Town visible far below.
The building housing the mechanicals that run the aerial tramway. serious cable thickness, man!

A dassie, a small herbivore endemic to the mountain. One of its closest relations is the elephant!

The Flying Dutchman funicular near the Cape of Good Hope, its name an allusion to the ghost ship that sails forever without reaching port, the myth dating from the 17th century Dutch East India Company. Not exactly a reassuring name for a transit vehicle!


Here’s the funivia, or aerial cable car, in San Marino. It runs between the city of San Marino up at the top of the country down to the lower city of Borgo Maggiore. It’s just a quick little ride, but it’s an easy way to get between the two places.


You,Eric… with your delightful embracing the subject write, made me feel, like hopping on the next plane from Holland ,to visit NY, again!
Well, who knows, I might in near future…and take that trip with tram , moving above the waters. Ofcourse…want to walk, where once upon a time trains would rattle by, and now the greenies are there. By the way, fell in love with Brooklyn, it felt to me like small villages attached in harmony. Liefs, from Holland , kitty arendse

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The small city of Roanoke, VA has a cute free trolley downtown.

Star Line Trolley


Definitely on my bucket list!


There’s also a street elevator in Lisbon, Portugal called the Elevador de Santa Justa.

Santa Justa


Don’t know if it qualifies as public transit but the Battambang bamboo railway in Cambodia is a lot of fun - see ‘Bamboo train’ back on tracks in Battambang , National, Phnom Penh Post - I have been on the old one - lots of fun especially when the opposing ‘cars’ meet on the single track :):grinning:

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almost forgot the one in my backyard - Peterborough (Ontario) Lift Lock
see- Peterborough Lift Lock - Wikipedia
and then there’s Big Chute Marine Railway - see Big Chute Marine Railway - Wikipedia
if you go to either , do it an canoe

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Forgot that one. Did it as a teenager.


I’ve never been there, but I’m fascinated by the Pyongyang Metro system in North Korea.


In Telluride and surrounding communities, folks take ski lift gondolas all year long. The town is only a couple of dozen blocks, so there’s not much room for cars. You park outside town and ride over the mountain and down into town.

The trip down allows you to see the entire town, enclosed in its steep walls.

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There is also one of these in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It runs from the train station and national bus station to the local bus terminal downtown and back.

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Very Orwellian , seems that you can’t even escape the ubiquitious “dear leaders” even on the metro

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I can think of two metro stations which are incredible and that I would love to upload to the atlas , but unfortunately I never took pictures of them and there is a total lack of any creative commons images.

One of them is a station called “Carpetana” on the Madrid metro system , Spain. When they were building the tunnel they found the remains of several extinct prehistoric animals including a kind of mammoth. They built a mini museum showing the bones at the station with a diorama and a model mammoth.


The other one is a station called “Talisman” on the Mexico city metro system , Mexico. Back in the 70’s they also found the remains of a baby mammoth , but this one was an entire skeleton. It’s on display in its entirety in a pit with a glass lid at that station and is pretty awesome but definitely not as well cared for or displayed as the one in Madrid .



That’s wild. And so cool!

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Glad you liked it , I guess the construction of subway tunnels must be pretty good for paleontological finds , they can be fascinating on so many levels

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