|Line length||0.55 km (0.34 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in)|
The Mergellina Funicular (Italian: Funicolare Mergellina), is a funicular railway line that forms part of the public transport system for the city of Naples, Italy. Opened in 1931, the Mergellina Funicular was the fourth, and most recent, cable railway opened in Naples.
The Mergellina Funicular connects five stations: Manzoni station, Parco Angelina station, San Gioacchino station, San Antonio station, and Mergellina station. Unlike Naples' other three funicular lines which all reach Vanvitelli, the Mergellina line is located on its own, farther to the northwest, and runs uphill from the marina at Mergellina Sanazzarro to Manzoni, where Line 6 of the Naples Metro can be reached by a short walk.
Mergellina Funicular was the most recently constructed of Naples' four funicular railways. In the early 20th century, urban expansion had begun to see Naples spreading outwards, including towards the northwestern hills, and new residential neighbourhoods were being constructed on Posillipo hill. In order to facilitate easier access into the area, construction was commenced on the Mergellina Funicular in the late 1920s, and it first opened for service on 24 May 1931.
The line did not experience any of the delays or problems of the other three, and it was up to full operation immediately, continuing to operate without problem through World War II, and for much of the immediate post-war period. It was not until the early 1980s that the line began to experience problems. The age and constant use of the engines and carriages had begun to take their toll, and the Mergellina line soon began to experience regular disruptions to service. Whilst the line was popular, it was not generating enough revenue for the scale of overhaul that was required, and its operators transferred management over to regional authorities.
Modernisation work commenced in May 1985, with new electronic and mechanical components, operations and controls, and transmissions and safety systems installed. The work proceeded without any problems, and the overhauled Mergellina Funicular was reopened to the public on 16 January 1986 after just seven months of closure. The line was again briefly closed between May 1989 and March 1990 for an overhaul to the rail and traction systems, in time for Naples to play a role as a host city during the 1990 FIFA World Cup.
In 1999, the Campania Regional Management Committee transferred management of the Mergellina Funicular to Azienda Napoletana Mobilità (ANM - Neapolitan Mobility Agency), who were by then responsible for running all four funicular lines in Naples. As with the other three lines, ANM was replaced as the operator on 1 February 2001 by Metronapoli, who began a process of better integrating the various elements of rail transport within Naples, creating better interchanges and connections. ANM took over Metronapoli in November 2013, thereby again becoming the Mergellina Funicular's operator.
The Mergellina Funicular carries a quarter of a million passengers annually, with an average of 3,200 passengers on workdays, and 2,000 on weekends and holidays, making it the least used funicular line in Naples. From the top to bottom the line is 570 metres (1,870 ft) long, and ascends 147 metres (482 ft) in altitude, at an average gradient of 16%, although one section is as steep as 46%. The carriages travel at an average speed of 3.5 metres per second (11.48 ft/s), and the entire route takes seven minutes. Each train can carry 60 passengers at a time, giving a total capacity of 480 passengers per hour in each direction.
- Official site of the Metropolitana di Naples (in Italian)
- Urbanrail.net Naples rail website
- Railways and metro station of Naples (in Italian)