Funicular dos Guindais
|Funicular dos Guindais|
The funicular, with the Ponte Dom Luís I and Douro River in the background
|Line length||281 metres (922 ft)|
|No. of tracks||Single track with passing loop|
The Funicular dos Guindais, or Guindais funicular railway, is a funicular railway in Porto, Portugal. The original line was constructed in 1891 but closed just two years later after a serious accident. As part of a larger initiative to improve the transport infrastructure of Porto, it was re-modelled and re-opened on 19 February 2004. The line runs down a steep cliff from Batalha (on the higher ground of central Porto) to the quayside at Ribeira.
The funicular is single track, with a central passing loop, is 281 metres (922 ft) long, and descends 61 metres (200 ft). The upper 90 metres (295 ft) are in tunnel, and the section of the line below the passing loop has a markedly steeper gradient than the upper section. The two vehicles have a capacity of 25 persons each, and operate at a maximum speed of 5 metres per second (16.4 ft/s). Because of the variation in gradient along the line, the cars have self-levelling equipment which keep the car floor horizontal irrespective of the track gradient.
Although the journey is short at approximately 3 minutes, after emerging from the tunnel at the top, descending passengers are given a panoramic view including the Dom Luís I Bridge, the quaysides of Ribeira and Cais de Gaia, the multitude of port wine lodges and traditional port boats on the Gaia side of the Douro River, and of course the river itself. Once at the bottom, tourists can either walk across the bridge on foot, join a river cruise or enjoy the restaurants and bars of Ribeira.
The service is also used by locals and commuters wishing to get from Ribeira and Cais de Gaia to the metro or train at São Bento without climbing the steep hill on foot. It runs from 8am to 8pm on weekdays, with services running until midnight on weekends and holidays. It is owned by the Porto Metro company and accessed using the Andante ticket, allowing a trip on the funicular to be combined with a journey on the Porto Metro and selected bus routes.