Montmartre Funicular

The Montmartre Funicular (French: Funiculaire de Montmartre) is an inclined transport system serving the Montmartre neighbourhood of Paris, France, in the 18th arrondissement. Operated by the RATP, the Paris transport authority, the system opened in 1900; it was entirely rebuilt in 1935 and again in 1991.

Montmartre Funicular
Stations 2
Operator(s) RATP
Rolling stock 2 cabins
Ridership 2 million journeys per year
Opened 13 July 1900
Line length 0.108 km (0.067 mi)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (

4 ft 8+12 in)

The system is a funicular in name only. Its formal title, the Montmartre Funicular, is a vestige of its earlier configuration, where its cars operated in a counterbalanced, interconnected pair, always moving in opposite directions in concert, thus meeting the definition of a funicular. The system now uses two independently operating cars that can each ascend or descend on demand, qualifying as a double inclined elevator,[1][2][3] retaining the term funicular in its title as a historical reference.

The system carries passengers between the base of Montmartre and its summit, accessing the nearby Sacré-Cœur basilica and paralleling the adjacent staircases of Rue Foyatier. The 108 m (354 ft) cars climbs 36 m (118 ft) in under a minute and a half and carry two million passengers a year.

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Constructed by the Schindler Group, the system with electrical traction entered service on 1 June 1991. It has two cabins with sixty places each which travel on two separate, parallel tracks using the international standard gauge of 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in). It has a capacity of 2,000 passengers per hour in each direction. A trip in either direction, which covers a vertical distance of 36 m (118 ft) over a track distance of 108 m (354 ft), takes less than 90 seconds and climbs or descends a gradient as high as 35.2% (a little steeper than 1:3).

The technology of the Montmartre line differs from a funicular in that it uses independently operating cars more related to standard up-down elevators, each equipped with its own counterweight. Again, a funicular’s cars are by definition arranged in counterbalanced, interconnected pairs, moving in concert. The Montmartre system now allows each car to function independently, with its own hoist and cables. advantages of this arrangement include the ability of one car to remain in service during maintenance of the other. Also, both cabins can ascend simultaneously (usually, more passengers use the system to ascend than to descend), where cars of a funicular always travel in opposite directions.[4]

The see-through stations were designed by architect François Deslaugiers and the cabins were designed by Roger Tallon, who also designed the carriages of the TGV Atlantique. The cabin roofs are partly glazed, allowing a view during transit.[4]

One of the cabins taken from the level of its wheels

The system operates daily from 6 am until 12.45 am, transporting 6,000 people a day, or around 2 million annually.[5]

The lower station is located between the Place Saint-Pierre and the Place Suzanne-Valadon, and the upper one on the Rue du Cardinal-Dubois.

The first, water-driven Montmartre funicular

The Paris city government voted to construct the Montmartre transport system in 1891. Initially, operation was subcontracted to Decauville through a concession that ended in 1931.[6] Thereafter, the Société des transports en commun de la région parisienne (STCRP) took control, and this was nationalized together with the Compagnie du chemin de fer métropolitain de Paris (CMP) to form the Régie autonome des transports parisiens (RATP), which continues to operate the funicular today.

The original system in contrast to the current system was, in fact, a funicular with twin counterbalanced and interconnected cars. In the case of the Montmartre design, a system of onboard water bladders of 5 m3 (180 cu ft) could be filled or emptied to move the cars and to compensate for passenger load. In 1935, the system was converted to electricity. The system was completely rebuilt by the RATP in 1990–1991, as dual independently operating inclined elevators.

The system was shut down after a minor accident during tests by the RATP in December 2006. It reopened in July 2007.

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