Friday, 27 June 2014

Unique Funicular on Mt. Tsukuba

Funicular Momiji of the Tsukuba-san Cable Railway Line
As I mentioned before, Mt. Tsukuba is the scenic sightseeing spot in the Tokyo metropolitan area. This mountain has twin peaks, namely Nyotai-san (Female Summit) and Nantai-san (Male Summit). The female summit (877m above sea level) is 6 meters taller than the male one. Both peaks have means of transportation for access. They are the aerial tramway to the female summit and the funicular to the male summit.

The funicular, Tsukuba-san Cable Railway, was opened in 1925. Connecting Miyawaki and Tsukuba-sancho stations, the route length is 1,634m. The height difference between the highest and the lowest points of the route is 495m. The track gauge is 1,067mm.

The present two vehicles, namely Wakaba and Momiji, were manufactured by Daiei Sharyo in 1995. The body colors are green (Wakaba) and red (Momiji). Each vehicle can accommodate up to 106 passengers. They are operated every 20 minutes. The travel time between the two stations is 8 minutes.

This funicular line has several features. Firstly, the track is curved to the west. So, the two terminals differ in orientation at an angle of 90 degrees. Secondly, there is a tunnel mid-way on the route. It was a difficult task to burrow hard rock in the 1920s. Thirdly, an overhead catenary is not used for electric power supply in the vehicles, since such strong direct current causes adverse effects on the observation work at the national magnetic observatory near Mt. Tsukuba.

Mt. Tsukuba Cable Railway... it is a unique funicular in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

Funicular Aoba of the Tsukuba-san Cable Railway Line