In 2019 I decided to visit all the funicular railways in Britain. There are thirteen of them in ten towns (three towns have two). I stayed at a hotel in London and set out each day as early as I needed to get to my assignment and back. On these pages I describe my experiences including many things besides funiculars.
For those not familiar with my inspiration for the title— All the Stations was a project undertaken by Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe in 2017 to visit all 2,563 stations in Great Britain. See their web page for that and followup adventures.
I'm afraid that was a very bad influence on me. Geoff in particular. He has visited all the London Underground stations in the shortest time (16 hours 20 minutes, in 2013), has run all 56 of the park runs in Greater London, and has counted the steps to the platforms of tube stations (letting us know that some signs have the wrong count). I have to say it: I get it. I would do things like that myself. I suppose I could do All the Stations in New Jersey. I might like to be able to say that I did that... so far, not enough to do it. But it calls to me. It's an excuse to see places I have no other reason to visit. It's good to see new places. I think that's what Geoff and Vicki wanted to do.
What happened in real life is that I wanted to take a couple of weeks off, get away from my work, my family, and my usual life, all that, everything, and so I went to a foreign land where I could set myself a new goal, viz, to wit: all the funiculars *.
The asterisk is there because I made up my own rules about which ones need to be visited before I can say "all". There is no official list of funiculars. These are my requirements:
1 — It has to be a funicular: an inclined railway with two cars that counterbalance each other. The weight of the car going down helps pull the other car up.
2 — It has to be accessible at both ends from a public area. This knocks out any that are within amusement parks and the like. I want those that anyone can walk up to, at either end, and pay for a ride. It's all right if they are seasonal.
The object: focus. I had a Britrailpass. I could ride on any train. I could go anywhere. That's too much for me to take! It's overwhelming! I have to have a plan. All the Funiculars? It's as good as anything. The plan took me to many wonderful places that I don't think I would ever have seen if I was not doing this. See below.
I have read plenty of articles complaining about British railway and bus service. But to me, accustomed to American conditions, I can't believe how good they have it. That's why I have come to England a dozen times (and Wales, this time). Yes, there are some places that are very inconvenient unless I drive a car... on the wrong side of the road... which I am afraid to do. But that hardly matters. There are so many places I can reach that I would need another lifetime before I run out of destinations.
All the Funiculars* were visited in June and October 2019. Certainly the railway and bus schedules will change over time, but I think my travel times remain good examples of what is possible for routing and travel time in the near future. Some times will be faster. Do check schedules and your sanity before you attempt to replicate any of this.