Wednesday, March 30, 2011

the cog wheel tramway of Trieste

The Tranvia di Opicina (locally "Tram de Opcina") is a 5.175 km long tramway in the Italian city of Trieste with the particularity that the trams overcome the steepest section of the line -- with gradients of 26% -- with the help of a funicular. The tram is operated by Trieste Trasporti as line 2 and connects the port of Trieste with the suburb of Opicina (340 metres altitude). It is the last remaining line of the former Trieste tram network.

The Tranvia di Opicina was commissioned on 9 September 1902 and in July 1906 an extension  was opened to the government railway station of Opicina. The steep section was first overcome by a cog wheel railway over which two locomotives pushed the tramcars with a speed of about 8 km/h of the rack rail. On the adhesion sections the tramcars managed a speed of 15 km/h.

Due to an increasing number of passengers and the limited capacity of the cog wheel section this was dismantled in 1927 and replaced by the funicular, which began on 26 April 1928. In 1978 the funicular was replaced; the new cars did not have a box-shaped structure like the pioneers, but only a small cabin for the operator. In 2005 the funicular railway cars were again replaced; the latest generation of funicular had no cabin anymore, because the system is now remotely controlled by the drivers of the trams. Further, the overhead contact line was dismantled on the steep section.

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