Fenelon Place Elevator - Dubuque's Operating Funicular Railway
Top to bottom, the funicular railway is 189 feet tall and 296 feet long. We visited the elevator during a stop in Dubuque a few years back and decided it's finally time to shed a little light on this unique and interesting place!
|It is quite short, and quite steep, although I'm unsure if the website's claims of being the shortest and steepest scenic railway are truly accurate.|
I've been on one other funicular in my lifetime, the other one being the Orient Express at Six Flags Magic Mountain, now known as the "Honda Express". This one has far better views and is much steeper, although the Magic Mountain one saves you a bit of uphill walking, so there's that.
|From the top of the bluff, you can see three states, several bridges, and many of the interesting sites Dubuque has to offer!|
|The view going up is fantastic, and somewhat unnerving at the beginning for someone who's afraid of heights.|
The completion of the elevator thus took what was a 30 minute walk or ride uphill into a matter of a few minutes.
In 1884, the elevator burned down but was rebuilt. Another 1893 fire that occurred during a recession would shut the original elevator down once again, before neighbors who had come to rely on it would band together to rebuilt it again.
|At the top, one can see the entire ride, and the transfer track in the middle which allows for one car to go up the track with the same power as another car uses to go down.|
|View from the cable car nearing the top|
It was at this point as well that they installed the current three rail with a fourth rail bypass in the middle to allow for the operation of two (funicular) counterbalanced cars, one going up and another going down.
|Traveling downward just before the transfer track.|
|The first second of the ride can be a little jarring, but it is otherwise perfectly tame and should be fun for the whole family.|
|View upon exiting after having gone up and down the ride.|