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Freezing funicular

Pic of the Week: 27 November 2019

A funicular tram in a snowy mountain forest

A funicular tram plying the route between Starý Smokovec and Hrebienok mountain in Slovakia’s High Tatra range in winter.

The Carpathian chain of mountains dominates the geography of eastern Central Europe. The High Tatra mountain range, along with the Southern Carpathians, are the only parts of it that have an alpine character. The 15 highest of them are all in Slovakia and have summits between 2,547 and 2,655 metres (8,356-8,711 feet) high.

The Tatras straddle the border of Slovakia and Poland and form Europe’s first cross-border national park. Slovakia’s Tatra National Park was established in 1948; Poland’s followed six years later in 1954.

Starý Smokovec, at the bottom of this funicular (cable-driven) tramway, is a popular ski resort in Slovakia. The Hrebienok end is 247 metres (810 feet) higher up and 1,937 metres (1 mile 358 yds) away, giving the line an average 14.8% (slightly steeper than 1 in 7) gradient.

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