The hilly terrain of Naples led to the early and repeated adoption of funiculars as a solution to the southern Italian city’s transit needs. And although it was not the city’s first, or second, or even third cable railway line, the Funicolare Centrale has gone on to become one of the world’s most regularly used and heavily trafficked funiculars.
The Funicolare Centrale was opened on October 28, 1928. Two years of construction were required to build the line that facilitated the increasingly heavy traffic between the elevated Piazza Vanvitelli and the lower precincts of central Naples. Preceded by the Chiaia and Montesanto funiculars (as well as the Mount Vesuvius funicular, which was eventually destroyed in the 1944 eruption), the Funicolare Centrale was immediately popular, saving many thousands of pedestrians a toilsome daily climb.
The line serves fours stations and runs a length of 1270 meters (4167 feet), over which it completes a total elevation change of 170 meters (558 feet). Each train has a capacity of 450 passengers; with a total trip time of roughly five minutes, the Funicolare Centrale transports about 28,000 passengers each weekday and 10,000 on weekends and holidays, for a grand total of approximately 10 million passengers annually.