Text and photos by Michel AZEMA
The tramway Trieste - Opicina is one of the most attractive railway in the world and certainly the only one of its kind!
<-- The siding of the funicular section. The orange car is pushing the tramway car up to Vetta Scorcola station.
The tramway was built in 1902 to link the center of Trieste, at the see level, to Opicina which is at quite 5 km to the north near the Slovenian border but at 339,5 m above the see. To climb up to the Opicina hill, the tramway was first used with a rack section between Piazza Scorcola and Vetta Scorcola. So, since 1902 to 1928 the Trenovia Trieste - Opicina was a cog-wheel tramway but this configuration had the disadvantage to be too slow for the traffic and too expensive. In 1928 the rack was removed and a funicular section was built at the same place with two special cars used to push and retain the tramway cars. This configuration has the advantage to increase the traffic and to be more economic because the necessary energy is very small. The energy of the descending cars is used for the ascending ones. The only constraints is that the tramway cars must be synchronized, they must arrive at the same time at the lower and upper stations of the funicular.
Description of the line. (Map of the line)
The tramway starts at Piazza Oberdan in the center of Trieste, reaches Piazza Scorcola with a one-way track in the middle of the street shared with the automobile cars.
<-- Piazza Scorcola. The pushing car is waiting the tramway (note the ‘cul-de-sac’ track and the tramway arriving at the background).
At Piazza Scorcola the pushing car of the funicular is waiting for the tramway on a special ‘cul-de-sac’ track. The tramway doubles the funicular and joins the track above it, the manual shifting is operated and the tramway moves gently back close by the pushing car. When the two tramway cars are ready at each station the funicular starts.
<-- Piazza Scorcola. The tramway is joining the funicular track (note the cable which is not stretched, thus the tramway wheels are able to pass over it).
From Piazza Scorcola to Vetta Scorcola the line has a maximum gradient of 26%. It is a one-way track from the lower station to the siding. After the siding the second half of the funicular section has two tracks.
At Vetta Scorcola the tramway retrieves its liberty and a normal one-way track up to Obelisco which is the highest point of the line.
The line continues down to Opicina on a special track beside the road.
The tramway arrives at Obelisco station.
Copyright © 1996 by Michel Azéma, Paris (France) E-Mail: contact