1 Kiev Funicular Railway that is Here Since 1905

Kiev Funicular Railway that is Here Since 1905

Posted on April 3, 2014 by tim

For more than 100 years, the citizens and guests of Kiev have actively used the funicular railway that connects Podol with the Upper Town. this unusual and unique transport system allows you to go up or down the Vladimir hill quickly.

The Kiev funicular was opened in 1905. Soon this unusual transport system will be 109 years old. This is the most classic photo shot of the funicular railway:

The length is 222m, the gradient – 18-20 degrees.

It takes at about 3 minutes to get from one station to another.

The elevation difference between the upper and lower station is 75 m

The upper part of the route is located on a reinforced concrete viaduct:

The Kiev funicular uses the balance wheel mechanism with two non-motorized cabins, securely connected to a cable thrown over a pulley, which is located at the upper station. The downward motion of one of the cabins leads to a symmetric upward motion of another cabin, and the cabins meet in the center point of the track. In such a system, the engine which drives the pulley, only uses energy to move the weight difference of two differently filled passenger cabins and on overcoming the frictional forces.

The cable that connects the cabins, laid between the support rails in a special system of direct and oblique blocks that provide routing of the cable along the route:

The cable is changed every few years. Its condition is monitored periodically and the thickness and other parameters are measured.

The railway meeting uses the “Abt switch”. Its mechanism is that the out rail tracks are solid, and internal are disconnected  to pass over the cable.

The outer cabin wheels follow the solid rail by using both flanges of the sides of the wheels, each cabin follows its rail and depends on the side of the movement at the switch. The second half of the cabin wheels don’t have flanges, but have a wide surface and just roll on the rail.

There is an emergency brake of a wedge-shaped type on each cabin. It is automatically activated when the speed goes over 9 km/h, or by pressing the brake pedal, which is under the feet of the operator in the wagon. The operation of this brake is checked periodically.

The width of the funicular track is 1200 mm.

For each funicular the cabins are designed individually because the steepness of the slopes, their length, width and the dimensions of the rail cars are different everywhere.

The cabins of Kiev’s funicular have letters “L” and “R”, that means the “Left cabin” and the “Right cabin”, if you look at them from the Upper station.


The electricity network powers the indoor lighting and compressors that are needed to operate the doors and emergency brake.

Each cabin can hold 100 people, 30 of them can be seated.

An operator opens and closes the doors, confirms their departure by radio, controls the movement and, if necessary, may activate the emergency brake and evacuate passengers.

Funicular station buildings have become normal in Kiev’s landscape.

This is how they look after the reconstruction in 1984.

The interior design of the lower station, decorated with metal arches and stained-glass windows.

The platforms look like stairways.

While the lower station design has changed many times, the upper station has never been changed.

The entrance to the upper station has a small diorama showing the history of the funicular and the surrounding countryside.

The upper station.

In the round window, the operator oversees the funicular operations.

The funicular operator’s place.

Automatic mode is used usually.

Rated speed is 7,2 km/h.

Under the operators workplace is a room with a traction drive with the main brake. Also there are two motor-compressors.

 The pulley with the cable that is holding th cabins. On both sides of the pulley there are huge brake pads. In the foreground you can see two traction motors of 100 kWt.

From the opposite side of the room the both sides of the cable come on the pulley. 

The brake pads are actuated pneumatically. The pads, using heavy weights, are pressed into the pulley and the cabins stay in the locked position. To let the cabins begin to move, compressed air goes into the cylinders and they release the pads.

The funicular transports 10 – 15 thousand passengers daily. There is often a long queue on weekends and holidays.

The decision to build a new carrier rack, replace the lighting system, fencing and cars, as well as the upper and lower repair stations was made in 2008. The new reconstruction will become the fourth in the history of Kiev’s funicular, but when it will begin is still unknown.


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One Response to “Kiev Funicular Railway that is Here Since 1905”

  1. tony says:

    Did Putin put the kabash on you site or are you just playing dead?

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