Great Orme Tramway – Llandudno, Wales - Atlas Obscura

Llandudno, Wales

Great Orme Tramway

One of the few surviving street funiculars in the world. 

This unusual funicular is the United Kingdom’s only surviving cable-operated street tramway, and one of the few street-running funiculars in the world.

The line is actually made up of two sections. Each part is a separate funicular, so passengers must change cars at the halfway station. The upper section runs on its own dedicated track off the road, whereas the lower section runs right along the street. 

The tramway was built in 1902 to ferry passengers and freight to and from Llandudno, Wales, and the summit of the Great Orme, a 679-foot-tall limestone headland that currently forms part of a nature reserve.

Originally, there were seven cars: three for freight and four for passengers. The historic passenger cars, which were each named after a local Welsh saint, are amazingly still in use today. But as for the freight cars, those were deemed uneconomical and were retired from service in 1911.

At one time, the Tramway was used to cart coffins to the Halfway Station for burial at St. Tudno’s Churchyard. Unfortunately, the company that owned the tramway didn’t show any financial mercy toward the bereaved. Mourners were charged full fare, plus an equivalent of 12.5 pence for transporting the coffin.