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Fløibanen, Bergen, Norway

Fløibanen is a funicular in Bergen, Norway which runs up the mountain of Fløyen. It is one of Bergen’s major tourist attractions and one of Norway’s most visited attractions. Over 1 million passengers a year have used it over the past few years. Fløibanen was officially opened on 15 January 1918. The idea to build transport to Fløyen was put forward in 1895 by John Lund, a member of the Norwegian legislature. Work to build Fløibanen started in 1914. The line was ready in 1918. Today the company is owned 44% by the municipality of Bergen, the rest spread on various private interests. A certain percentage of the yearly profits are invested to finance the next generation of cars, this will likely happen sometime after year 2030. The cars and machinery were last totally renewed in September–November 2002.

Two cars, each with room for approximately 80 passengers, operate between the centre of Bergen and Fløyen throughout the year. The length is 850m and the height difference is 300m. Fløibanen is a narrow gauge railway, with a gauge of1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3?8 in).

Each car is named and individually painted – Blåmann is blue, whilst Rødhette (equivalent to Little Red Riding Hood in English) is red. The cars were named by the winners of a naming competition.

The trip takes approximately seven minutes with stops at all stations, and 3 min. 20 secs. non-stop. Service travel speed is either 4 or 6 m/s depending on traffic load. Typically, 6 m/s is selected when there are eight or more departures per hour, including two calling at all stations.

The funicular operates a basic schedule with departures every 30 minutes from opening until 10 o’clock, then every 15 minutes until 20:30 when half-hour service resumes until closing. All departures call at all stations, except weekends and summers. At those times all stations are only served at half-hour intervals, providing time for maximum four direct services per half-hour with dwell times of two minutes or less. To achieve this extra staff is employed to assist passengers though fare gates and with prams/strollers and/or wheelchairs.

The funicular is fully wheelchair-accessible at the bottom and top stations only. Small, manual wheelchairs may be carried on and off the funicular by staff at the intermediate stations. Electric wheelchairs up to 900 mm wide enjoy full access to both the funicular and the facilities at Fløyen.

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