Bom Jesus funicular
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The Bom Jesus funicular (Portuguese: Elevador do Bom Jesus) is a funicular located in Bom Jesus do Monte, city of Braga, Portugal. Operated by the Brotherhood of Bom Jesus do Monte, it connects Uptown Braga to the Shrine, spanning a gap of over a hundred meters in height, and follows a route parallel to the Stairs of Bom Jesus, it ending at the highest point, next to the statue of Saint Longinus.
It is the oldest funicular in the world moving by water counterbalancing, loading water into the car at the top of the hill, which weighs it down so it descends to the bottom, at the same time drawing the lighter, drained car up the hill, where the process starts all over again.
The funicular track is 274 metres (899 ft) long and descends / rises 116 metres (381 ft), giving an average gradient of around 42%.
It was built on the initiative of the Braga entrepreneur Manuel Joaquim Gomes (1840-1894) with the aim of replacing the row of the Horsecar in Braga (rail vehicles pulled by horses), which originally stretched to the sanctuary and had to have his draw complemented by oxen up the steep hill on the busiest days.
The project was designed by Swiss engineer Niklaus Riggenbach. Work began in March 1880, with Portuguese engineer of French descent Raul Mesnier du Ponsard supervising the work. The inauguration took place on March 25, 1882. Its success was such that in the same year Mesnier was invited to design and install a series of funiculars and cable lifts in the Portuguese capital Lisbon, some of which are still in operation today.
- Length: 274 metres (899 ft)
- Height: 116 metres (381 ft)
- Steepness: 42%
- Journey time: 2.4 to 4 minutes
- Cars: 2
- Capacity: 38 passengers per car
- Track gauge: 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge
- Traction: Water ballast
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