We begin our investigations at Gare St Paul in Lyon, France.
This station is located in the "Old Town" near the River Saône.
If we were to go and peer into the darkness, we might see ...
... a motor scooter and a road sign. Odd? If we look from the other end we can see right through.
Monsieur Cornillon saw a need for transport from Lyon, up the hill and on to the Cemetery. The funicular was the first stage and built in tunnel.
The tunnel was weak and subject to failure and the whole project was a financial disaster. The top station was near the tower ...
The Tour Métallique de Fourvière ("Metallic tower of Fourvière") is a steel framework tower which bears a striking resemblance to the Eiffel Tower, which predates it by three years. With a height of 85.9 metres and weight of 210 tons, the "metallic tower" was built between 1892 and 1894.
During the Exposition universelle of 1914 it had a restaurant and a lift capable of taking 22 people up to the viewing gallery. Although used as an observation tower until November 1, 1953, nowadays it serves as a television tower and is not accessible to the public. At 372m, it is the highest point in Lyon.
The people of Lyon have been known to claim that their tower is higher that that built by Gustave Eiffel in Paris. But that's measuring from sea level! By that spurious definition it is indeed 50 metres "higher" than its Parisian cousin!
But at its base you needed to change from funicular to a tram (on the left in the "tower" picture above) to get the the Cemetery. The construction of this short line involved a substantial (and expensive!) viaduct and girder bridge.
Lyon had FIVE funicular railways of which two are still working, both in the Old Town and connecting with Metro route "D" at Saint Jean..
The Saint Just line is very modern ...
... whereas the Fourvière line is run as a "Heritage" service using refurbished older stock.
Interestingly (?) the Fourvière line terminates just along the road from the historic but closed funicular plus tram route!