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2 images of funicular railways: one says Castle Rock Mountain Railway and Park, other says Lookout Mountain Park Funicular
Golden’s Funiculars–one on Castle Rock and one on Lookout Mountain

As you may know, Golden used to have two funicular railroads. The first was built in 1912 on Lookout Mountain. The second was built in 1913 on South Table Mountain.

Here’s something you don’t normally see in Golden History Moments: pictures of other places. I had an email from a reader who was confused by a sentence she found online about the Castle Rock Railway: The funicular railway had two railcars, one on each side of the mountain.

single and double track configurations at funiculars in Iowa, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and California
Funicular Track Configurations

She didn’t think the “one on each side of the mountain” sounded right (and she was right). So I sent some pictures of Golden’s funiculars and some modern-day funiculars–see the photos above.

Funiculars (also called incline railways) come in pairs. One car goes up as the other goes down. Some are set up with a pair of rails used by both cars, with a passing area in the middle. The Castle Rock Funicular was built that way. The Lookout Mountain Funicular had three rails, so each car had one of its own and they shared the one in the middle–again, with a passing area in the middle.

There are still a few funiculars left in the U.S. Of those, the ones in Los Angeles, Dubuque, Chattanooga, and Altoona are set up with passing lanes. The Pittsburgh and Johnstown railways were designed so the “going up” car and the “going down” car–each has its own pair of rails–no passing area required.

Why do I have all this arcane knowledge? I wrote a book about Golden’s funiculars* several years ago, then started traveling the country and visiting the ones that still remain.

* Funiculars of Golden Colorado is available at the Railroad Museum and the Golden History Museum.