back to article Extreme trainspotting on Britain's highest (and windiest) railway

The world's highest railway is the Xining-Golmud-Lhasa railway at 5,068m (16,627ft) above sea level and running 815km (506 miles). As much a political piece as a transport corridor, the line was designed to fuse China with Tibet – the country the People's Republic invaded and annexed in 1950. Britain's highest railway is …

  1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    "ascends more than 2km (1,500ft)"

    I think the maths may have gone a bit awry here

  2. Florida1920
    Headmaster

    1,097m (3,599ft)

    That's barely off the ground. The Mount Washington cog railway in New Hampshire climbs from 2000 ft ASL almost to 6280 feet. The weather on Mount Washington is pretty fierce, too. The highest non-cyclonic wind speed measured on Earth, 231 mph, occurred at its summit. Winter temps can go into the minus 40s, Celsius and Fahrenheit.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Washington_Cog_Railway

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Washington_(New_Hampshire)

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

      I've got steers grazing on hills higher than that.

      I must admit, though, I do like the highlands. Even the dumbed-down, sissified, touristy bits like the one described.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

        Don't mind me, I'm just waiting for the post from someone from Texas so I can properly understand how insignificant the UK's mountains are.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

          Don't worry, Texas doesn't have any real mountains to speak of.

          1. defiler Silver badge

            Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

            "Don't worry, Texas doesn't have any real mountains to speak of."

            Steepest bit of Texas I was was the on-ramp onto the I610...

          2. fnj

            Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

            @jake - Guadalupe Peak in Texas is 2667 m.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          post from someone from Texas

          The highest point in Texas is about 2,667 meters above sea level.

          But that's a cute little hill you got there. We would call it a speed bump here.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: post from someone from Texas

            I'd call that "highest point in Texas" more properly New Mexico, along with the rest of the Guadalupes. And all of the rest of the Trans Pecos, come to think of it.

            1. Captain DaFt

              Re: post from someone from Texas

              "highest point in Texas"

              Some would argue (mostly from Arkansas) That the highest point in Texas is the sign that says, "You are now leaving Texas".

              FWIW, I've been to Texas, and still can't understand how someplace so far south can get so freakin' cold in the winter!

              1. spacecadet66

                Re: post from someone from Texas

                The first time I ever visited Texas, it was Houston in January and I hadn't brought a jacket. Because Texas is warm, right?

                Nobody had told me about the Blue Northers: winds that start up around the Arctic Circle and blow due south down the prairies of Canada and the USA. They keep most of their strength because, as the Texans say, there's nothing to slow them down along their route except a couple of barbed-wire fences.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: post from someone from Texas

                FWIW, I've been to Texas, and still can't understand how someplace so far south can get so freakin' cold in the winter!

                Depends where in Texas. I think this winter in San Antonio maybe it got below freezing twice.

                And that's because I live in the far northwest corner where it's colder than the rest of the city.

        3. Florida1920

          Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

          Texas

          Highest elevation in Texas: 8,751 feet (2,667 m). As John Denver noted, to get really high you have to go to Colorado. Or elsewhere in the West. Driving the back roads around the western U.S., it's not unusual to cross passes at elevations exceeding 9000 feet (~3000 m). The roads are well maintained, but rock falls and avalanches are unpredictable.

          Granite Pass, Wyoming, In April

          Avalanche Shed on the Million-Dollar Highway

        4. wayne 8 Bronze badge

          Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

          Texas is not known for its elevation changes.

        5. Tinslave_the_Barelegged

          Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

          > I'm just waiting for the post

          "I can drive for hours and still be in my own property."

          "Yes, I had a car like that once...."

          (Age of gag unknown, but truth eternal)

        6. Slow Joe Crow

          Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

          Texas only has hills, the real mountains are the Rockies and the Cascades. So expect somebody from Colorado to talk about how tiny your mountains are.

    2. IDoNotThinkSo

      Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

      Maybe, but this is a UK website.

      You could go up to the Jungfraujoch on a train if you want steep cog railways, to a height of 3454m, but we aren't in Switzerland either.

      The weather in the Cairngorms is Oceanic rather than Continental, so the temperatures are slightly less extreme than in the US. I suspect there are actually more days of terrible weather in the Cairngorms than on Mount Washington, and they are spread throughout the year.

      I don't think a few mph of windspeed either way makes much difference if you are out in it (although the anemometer on the railway actually measured 194mph in 2009).

      Two climbers died on Cairngorm at a height of only 2400ft or so on a main path because they were unable to make the last few hundred yards to the car park into a wind-storm. Due to the oceanic nature of the environment, snow is often thawed and then refrozen into ice, which makes finding shelter extremely difficult.

      Anyway, the expensive train set on Cairngorm is a bit of a white elephant, but an amusing one. I would normally walk up, though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

        "You could go up to the Jungfraujoch on a train if you want steep cog railways, to a height of 3454m, but we aren't in Switzerland either."

        There is another underground station at a similar height, above the resort of Saas Fee. It is at the top of the underground funicular Metro Alpin. The Mittelallalin station claims to be 3,456m and also featured a London Transport Underground station name sign when I was there decades ago.

      2. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

        "The weather in the Cairngorms is Oceanic rather than Continental, so the temperatures are slightly less extreme than in the US. I suspect there are actually more days of terrible weather in the Cairngorms than on Mount Washington, and they are spread throughout the year."

        It depends exactly what you mean by "terrible", but I wouldn't bet on it. Mount Washington has hurricane force winds on nearly 1/3 of days throughout the year as well as having snow fall year-round, and being much taller obviously temperatures tend to be a lot lower. Scotland can have some fairly miserable weather at times, but it nowhere in Britain is in the same league as places that get the really extreme stuff.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

          Since American's have seen fit to belittle our mountain, I'd just like the bring up the subject of their utterly shit President.

          So, to all American's who like to weigh in and proclaim everything you have is bigger and better, just remember, you've got a orange haired fuck witted cuntbubble for a President.

          And we don't.

          1. fandom

            Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

            "And we don't."

            But then you voted for Brexit, pretty much the same mindset.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

            "you've got a orange haired fuck witted cuntbubble for a President."

            Yeah! We got Thatcher-Lite instead!!!

          3. spacecadet66

            Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

            This is one competition I'd have been happy to let the Brits win. Unfortunately, while you May have a very strong candidate for "most bullshit world leader," we're holding a Trump card.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

            "Since American's have seen fit to belittle our mountain"

            Well, if you consider a shade over a 1,000 meters a mountain.

            Does it drive a Porsche to compensate for its shortcomings?

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Orange haired fuck witted cuntbubble

            Ours IS bigger and better. He's the biggest and best fuck witted cuntbubble there is, and makes Teresa May and Boris Johnson look like Roosevelt and Churchill by comparison!

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Orange haired fuck witted cuntbubble

              Now, now. Don't point & laugh at folks afflicted with dementia. It may be you someday.

          6. Florida1920

            Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

            Since American's have seen fit to belittle our mountain, I'd just like the bring up the subject of their utterly shit President.

            So, to all American's who like to weigh in and proclaim everything you have is bigger and better, just remember, you've got a orange haired fuck witted cuntbubble for a President.

            And we don't.

            And yet. And yet. Such luminaries as W.H. Auden, Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock, and more recently Christopher Hitchens and John Oliver have chosen to emigrate here. Yes, Kevin Spacey has gone the other way. I've been to the UK. It's a nice place to visit.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

              If you want you can take Trump, we will give him to you. The only provision is you can't send him back.

          7. Updraft102 Silver badge

            Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

            And the fact that he provokes such reactions is just why he was elected.

          8. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

            you've got a orange haired fuck witted cuntbubble for a President.

            I'd ask you not to remind us, but he's hard to ignore.

            He doesn't bother me so much as the realization that roughly half of my fellow voters thought (and I use the term extremely loosely) that electing him President would be a good idea.

          9. Oh Homer
            Joke

            Re: "orange haired fuck witted cuntbubble"

            Yes, but he's a yuuuuge orange haired fuck witted cuntbubble. The best sort of orange haired fuck witted cuntbubble.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

      It is high for the UK. Yes we know that everything is bigger , better, badder and kicks more ass in the USofA but this is rather closer to home and us Brits don't have to endure the TSA and HSA to get to it which given the current uncertainty about travel with anything more than your money and passport is a huge bonus.

      I know the Mt Washington railway and have been to the top as I spent two years living in Manchester (N.H.)

    4. Alan J. Wylie

      Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

      The Mount Washington cog railway in New Hampshire climbs from 2000 ft ASL almost to 6280 feet

      There's a Cog Railway up Pikes peak: 14,115 ft (4302m)

      1. I am the liquor

        Re: There's a Cog Railway up Pikes peak

        Not the best way to ascend Pike's Peak though. An 875bhp Peugeot 208 would be a little more exciting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y20CLumT2Sg

        1. Alan J. Wylie

          Re: There's a Cog Railway up Pikes peak

          An 875bhp Peugeot 208 would be a little more exciting

          To bring this thread back onto a computing topic:

          Audi’s Robotic Car Climbs Pikes Peak

    5. ckm5

      Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

      I've hiked up Mt. Washington a number of times, stopping for some time to ski at Tuckermans. It's a strange feeling coming up to the top and finding a bunch of tourists in a parking lot....

    6. E 2

      Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

      I do respect 231 MPH, but seriously: -40 degrees?

      I live in Calgary, Canada. Minus forty in the winter is par for the course here.

    7. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Mt Washington Cog Railway

      ...and, it's STEAM engines! And between base (around 3000 ft) and 6280 ft, both boiling point and grade of the track changes, so the engineers have their hands full.

    8. Dave Lawton
      Alien

      Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

      Is this the mountain/cog railway described in Julian May's Intervention ?

      If it is, how close are the descriptions please ?

      Inquiring minds wish to know.

  3. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    Damn it, I wish I could still see.

    The views must be breath taking, awe inspiring, & spectacular.

    The descriptions only make me wish all the harder I could go & see them for myself.

    1. jmarked

      Re: Damn it, I wish I could still see.

      That will definitely makes more people and aspiring enthusiasts reach the height easier.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Due to the changes in gradient on the route up the mountain, the angle of the floor of the funicular seemed barely ever to be level when I went up it. Also, the queues were huge, because it's the only major lift up the mountain from the base, and the tows from the bottom were closed due to there only being a thin covering of snow when I was there.

    The impact on the mountain of the ski resort is almost certainly less than that of any of the major ski resorts I've been to in europe. Apart from the funicular, it's all T-bars and button tows and no chair lifts or cable cars, so the amount of construction on the mountain is a lot less. As for wildlife, it's the only place I've seen a Ptarmigan (the bird, not the top station), but that might be because I probably make less noise skiing down a mountain than when I'm walking. It also seems to be closed due to bad weather more often than the european resorts...

    Saying that, I had a great time spending 3 days skiing there, and my kids skied without complaining in winds only just below the threshold of the level at which they close the resort. (I've never spent so much time skiing in goggles rather than sunglasses.) My recommendation would be to stay at the Cairgorm Lodge Youth Hostel, which is out of town, (book a taxi from the station, because there aren't many in town) but on the route for the buses to and from the resort. I went there a couple of years ago, they were friendly and the food was pretty good.

  5. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Thank you, El Reg

    That sounds absolutely beautiful. Does anyone want to Adopt An American for a couple weeks? Pretty please?

    Anyway, thanks for continuing Geek's Guide.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Adopt An American

      On today of all days?

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Thank you, El Reg

      Gene, take it from another Yank and just go. Ignore all the anti-American nonsense here on ElReg. It doesn't really exist when you've got your feet on the ground. Nice place to visit if you stay out of big cities. They even almost speak English!

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Thank you, El Reg

        Ignore all the anti-American nonsense here on ElReg

        If you stop electing aggressive ignoramuses, we'll stop making jokes about the cousins. Possibly.

        1. Simon Harris Silver badge

          Re: Thank you, El Reg

          "If you stop electing aggressive ignoramuses..."

          I don't think that we're in a position to throw stones at the Americans any more!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Thank you, El Reg

        "Gene, take it from another Yank and just go. Ignore all the anti-American nonsense here on ElReg. "

        It's OK, the Americans we don't like are the ones the Americans who have passports don't like either.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Thank you, El Reg

          I don't mind Americans, couldn't eat a whole one though.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Thank you, El Reg

            "I don't mind Americans, couldn't eat a whole one though."

            Who could? A Texan, maybe ....

            There's also the line about what a certain American eats, but that got Colbert into trouble so i won't repeat it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reasonable compromise

    "visitors to the top station are not allowed to venture out on to the mountainside unless accompanied by a ranger on a guided walk. You can book tours via the railway's main site. Scotland's access laws do give visitors the legal right to walk up the mountain and explore it on their own accord, however, so those hoping to see the environment up close and personal can give their legs a good stretch if they're feeling fit!"

    A better one would have been not to put a ski resort in there in the first place, mind. The combined impact from those is huge. It's not just the slopes, but the transport network needed to accommodate visitors and suppliers getting there and the inherent impact of large concentrations of people staying at the same place at the same time.

    1. IDoNotThinkSo

      Re: Reasonable compromise

      I'm not particularly a fan of ski resorts, but the impact of Cairngorm ski area is fairly limited in comparison to the entire mountain range. Without tourism, Speyside would struggle.

      You won't meet many people on Beinn a' Bhuird, for instance, even in the summer.

    2. John 110

      Re: Reasonable compromise

      "the transport network needed to accommodate visitors and suppliers"

      Pfft! Have you been there? Network.. (giggles to self)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Reasonable compromise

        > Pfft! Have you been there? Network.. (giggles to self)

        Yeah fair point, it was more of a general comment on the nature of ski resorts and I was thinking of the monstrosities one finds in the Alps. I have never been to this place--actually, I didn't even know it existed!

        And yes, I do use ski resorts occasionally for skiing (the rest of the time I go up the same way I come back down: on skis, bicycle or trainers).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reasonable compromise

      A better one would have been not to put a ski resort in there in the first place, mind.

      Great idea!

      Keep the proles in nice high density cities, and leave the rest of the country to nature. Presumably we'll be banning overseas skiing holidays (and indeed holidays in general) to continue saving the planet.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Reasonable compromise

        "Presumably we'll be banning overseas skiing holidays (and indeed holidays in general)"

        yep. No Freedom of Movement for you, sir, you voted against cheap air fares, easy travel, stuff like that.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Reasonable compromise

        "Keep the proles in nice high density cities, and leave the rest of the country to nature. Presumably we'll be banning overseas skiing holidays (and indeed holidays in general) to continue saving the planet."

        I do wonder sometimes if we go a bit OTT at times on preservation in the UK. I mean, taking photos so individual rocks and stones can be put back in place? Likewise the numbers of listed buildings, some of which really, really just need to be pulled down. Don't get me wrong, I'm a lifetime member of the National Trust, but really, some conservationists seem to have a dream of banning all human development of any kind, possibly humans in general, so that nature and heritage can be preserved at any cost.

        The countryside used to be littered with stone built windmills so now the remaining ones must be preserved. But try to put a modern windmill in place and those same conservationists are putting on their objectors hats in droves.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Reasonable compromise

          > I mean, taking photos so individual rocks and stones can be put back in place?

          I do not know the specifics of this place, but for locals certain landscape features may have huge significance. At the very least, there is an emotional attachment.

          I remember on such case in southern Europe. Some maintenance was being done on a minor road and they moved a small rock, the size of a washing machine¹, a few metres away to make space for sand or whatnot. Turned out that the rock in question was a pilgrimage point for one of the local villages. Questions were asked in Parliament and resignations demanded.

          ¹ Or perhaps of a dishwasher? It's been a while. Could have been tumble drier sized, even.

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Reasonable compromise

          No, I don't think the UK goes overboard. I've been to a restored castle in Spain which had brickwork, parquet, and air conditioning.

          Just a little bit more work put into it and it would have made some nice studio flats in an up-and-coming area.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Reasonable compromise

            "No, I don't think the UK goes overboard. I've been to a restored castle in Spain which had brickwork, parquet, and air conditioning."

            I was thinking more along the lines of listed 60's concrete tower blocks rather than medieval castles :-)

            One or two, as reference for later generations on what not to do, but not many more than that.

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: Reasonable compromise

              Glen Fell?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Reasonable compromise

                > Glen Fell?

                Don't know. Hope he didn't get hurt though.

    4. Yesnomaybe

      Re: Reasonable compromise

      "A better one would have been not to put a ski resort in there in the first place, mind."

      In my opinion, the place is perfect for development. It is basically a barren wasteland. Not much good for anything else.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Reasonable compromise

        Golf course?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reasonable compromise

      It is. I've been up there 2 times. First before there was the railway. We walked from Aviemore up and back.

      Second time 3 years ago with both kids "just" from the parking place.On the top station after toilet break and something to eat our wee lass (then 9) went back through the forbidden door outside (they held it open for her). Some student tourist group from the railway wanted to go too, and were stopped.

      When they complained they were told: "You either pay a ranger or you pay with sweat. She earned the right to go there the hard way and walked up" Then they were shown the entry book with her name in and got some pointed remarks about suitable footwear and clothing. I was sitting at the side trying not to choke from laughing.

      The ranger tour requirement protects the typical sandal tourist from themselves aside from the environment.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Reasonable compromise

        > You either pay a ranger or you pay with sweat

        Yeah I quite liked that part. Personally, I'm of the opinion that if you make it excessively easy to go to nature, people start losing appreciation for it (or rather, you get *that* sort of tourist). Sweating and panting your way up is three quarters of the fun. Also, the approach shouldn't be too easy either, and the more treacherous the road that leads there (if there is one) the better. It goes without saying, but to complete the picture hostile locals are most welcome.

        Thankfully there are still some places in Europe where you have to walk with all your gear for eight-ten hours just to get to the start of a climbing route. Sadly this is becoming increasingly uncommon.

        1. Tinslave_the_Barelegged

          Re: Reasonable compromise

          > you get *that* sort of tourist

          My wife once worked at the local visitor centre here in the North West Highlands. Most of the land is community owned here, and loch fishing costs just £5 a day, at any loch over an area of nearly 200 sq.km, literally hundreds of lochs. Some bloke fully kitted in tweeds came in in the morning to but a day ticket, and returned that evening demanding his money back. He claimed he was diddled because he could not fish any of the lochs from his car. So yes, *that* type of tourist.

  7. MJI Silver badge

    2 attractions now

    I will have to go.

    Strathspey Railway and this mountain one.

    Stuff skiing, bring on the trains

    1. EddieD

      Re: 2 attractions now

      You should really add in the West Highland Line - from Tyndrum to Mallaig there is really very little else in the UK that can compare with it for sheer beauty...regardless of whether you get the Jacobite Express from Fort William onwards.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: 2 attractions now

        Pity no blue 26, 27 or 37 anymore

        I should be embarrased as the last time I travelled by train in Scotland it was push pull 47s and I went to Kings Cross behind The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers.

        Currently planning a trip up there starting from Glasgow going to Inverness but it is around 700 miles.

  8. Fonant
    Thumb Up

    Guided walks highly recommended

    The guided walks initially feel like a brazen way to fleece tourists, but having been on one I'd heartily recommend them. The guides really know their stuff, point out lots of things you'd otherwise miss, explain about the fragility of the local environment, and tell some good stories!

  9. Your alien overlord - fear me

    In the Cairngorns and no mention of the wildlife park? Not every day is a skiday !!!

    1. Gobhicks

      @ YAOFM

      Second that re the Highland Wildlife Park. Feeding time for the tigers involves hanging hunks of meat from the trees, well worth seeing. Once when we were there we had to lock ourselves in our cars because a wolf had escaped from its enclosure, which was awesome. And the snow monkeys are soooo adorable.

  10. WibbleMe

    There's a graident train that goes to the top of MT Snowden 1,085 m in Wales

    1. EddieD

      The Snowdon train deserves its own article, it's such a fascinating mechanical achievement in its own right e.g. the carriage isn't physically coupled to the engine, in case the engine derails and drags it down the mountainside...as happened on the opening day of the railway...

  11. Mr Humbug

    What is the gauge?

    "a gauge of more than two metres (6'6")"

    6'6" is only 0.2148 of a double decker bus, or just under two metres

    1. Mike Richards

      Re: What is the gauge?

      Brunel would approve of that sort of gauge, although he'd almost certainly want the train to go at 100mph and be powered by rockets.

      1. Flatpackhamster

        Re: What is the gauge?

        He was lucky to be born when he was. If he'd tried a single engineering project in the 21st century he'd never have got started what with raging ecomentalists wanting to protect the Vicious Murdering Sandfly (there are only two places in the whole of the UK where they nest and suck human blood, you know) and Elven Safety Committees demanding everybody wear three safety vests and insurance companies wanting a waiver every time somebody bites in to an apple.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What is the gauge?

          "If he'd tried a single engineering project in the 21st century he'd never have got started what with raging ecomentalists wanting to protect the Vicious Murdering Sandfly"

          Well, first of all there was a lot of difficulty getting early railways approved because landowners were worried about trains setting fire to fields - not that unrealistic in the early days with burning lumps of coal frequently being omitted by engines - and then there was Dr. Dionysius Lardner being paid by the coaching firms to tell people speeds in excess of 30mph would be fatal.

          But what helped railways was that even in the early years they were much, much safer than horse transport. And cheaper. The problem with a lot of modern projects, like HS2, is that the benefits are not nearly as compelling as those of the original railways. That isn't because of H&S costs but because more of the country is built over, meaning more expensive stuff has to be destroyed, and the speed gain isn't of the order of 10 to 1 over the previous form of transport (canals around 3mph; coaches were faster but also very expensive indeed and couldn't carry much.)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What is the gauge?

        "Brunel would approve" And go through a tunnel to the top.

  12. Korev Silver badge
    Coat

    More please

    The Geek's Guides are great - keep 'em coming.

    Pint for the author ->

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More please

      Great but I didn't see how much it weighs or how much power it used - you have to be a specialist train geek but missing content for concrete construction geek, or the power consumption geek or even the rare latin named plant geekery left to another guide.

      There could be a whole series without even finding somewhere else to go!

      :)

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: More please

        "Great but I didn't see how much it weighs or how much power it used [...]"

        Article says: "A pair of 500kW motors (housed in the top station) drive the 15-tonne carriages that are held aloft by 93 support columns. A diesel generator provides back-up in the case of a power failure and the railway can comfortably function on a single motor should one fail."

    2. Korev Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: More please

      This time an actual pint for the author...

      ...And a vague promise to look at the icons more carefully

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More please

      > Pint for the author ->

      Do you carry pints in the pockets of your coat?

      Oh! just happy to see me...

  13. FlossyThePig

    Choo Choo!

    "...the Xining-Golmud-Lhasa railway...As much a political piece as a transport corridor..."

    We're getting one of them, it's called HS2.

    1. Flatpackhamster

      Re: Choo Choo!

      Bringing Birmingham 20 minutes closer to London is essential for London. Just like Crossrail is essential for London. Don't you know London is the only part of the UK which matters?

      1. Chris Miller

        Re: Choo Choo!

        Bringing a new station, that's 15 minutes from any onward rail connections, in Birmingham 20 minutes closer to London is essential for London.

        FTFY

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do you even metric

    A few wonky conversions in this article, but "kmph" is the most amusing. I believe most of the world has agreed on km/h.

    1. jake Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Do you even metric

      km/h? How provincial. The enlightened amongst us use f/f (furlongs per fortnight).

      The firkin has been tapped for your enjoyment.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Do you even metric

      > "kmph" is the most amusing. I believe most of the world has agreed on km/h.

      What is wrong with Kilomiles per hour?

  15. JaitcH
    Happy

    Greece and VietNam, Too

    There is a funicular railway in downtown Athens - the Mount Lycabettus Funicular Railway with the cars at exceptional angles.

    Another is located further west, near Patras, that connects to one of the best known monasteries in the Northern Peloponnese is the Moni Megalou Spileou (Monastery of the Great Cavern). It is reached by a 3 km hike from Zahlorou, the mid point on the Diakofto-Kalavrita railway.

    This funicular terminates at Kalavrita (Greek: Καλάβρυτα) Elevation: (883m / 2897feet) where, tourists will observe, a church with two clocks, one giving the real time and the other the time when there was a massacre of all the males on 1943 December 08. (See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacre_of_Kalavryta)

    VietNam had a funicular railway from Da Lat down to Phan Rang/Thap Cham on the coast, Unfortunately, when times were tight after defeating the Americans, the rolling stock and engines were sold off for hard currency.

    But we have a new funicular in Ba Na Hills, Vietnam, also well known for its Ba Na Hills cable car. Cable cars are the latest fad in VietNam with almost any mountain tempting cable car builders.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Greece and VietNam, Too

      Humans truly are lazy bastards, aren't we?

      What ever happened to walking? I blame the Nintendo Generation ...

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Whatever happened to walking

        In Hong Kong we have an outdoor escalator going from the centre of town up to the base of the Peak.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Whatever happened to walking

          "outdoor escalator going from the centre of town up to the base of the Peak"

          That sounds terrifying. I picture the passenger at the top falling and taking out everyone below like dominoes. That would be spectacular! But sad, very sad.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Greece and VietNam, Too

        > What ever happened to walking?

        Walking? Why walk when you can run. :-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Greece and VietNam, Too

      > But we have a new funicular in Ba Na Hills, Vietnam

      Nae hills? What you want a funicular for then?

  16. Beornfrith

    Thank you for the kind words and at least one offer of a pint. I did have to end up leaving out a few other things and local sights from the article but the very nature of this region is that you can list interesting places to visit almost ad infinitum - certainly if you start counting natural places!

  17. Annihilator
    Stop

    Brakes

    "Of crucial importance from a safety perspective there are three distinct braking mechanisms in place to stop a runaway scenario."

    I can attest to the sturdiness of the brakes on this thing. During the descent while standing at the front window admiring the view, there was cause for the system to stop. To say my face greeted the window with a resounding *THWACK* would be an understatement.

    Great holiday though.

  18. GrapeBunch Silver badge

    [Mountain icon]

    Let's face it, "mine is bigger than yours" is a hollow victory when the Himalayas and Andes are not heard from. Here in British Columbia, we have Waddington as our most dire mountain, though in global comparison its 4,019 m (13,186 ft) is wimpy. But it does make up for its short stature in other ways. I doubt that, on this date in 2117, anybody will be writing about a funicular, whether real or planned, on this monster. More flavour here. Thanks to EL REG for allowing us to enjoy technologies recreationally.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: [Mountain icon]

      > But it does make up for its short stature in other ways

      Bad temper?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: [Mountain icon]

      > Let's face it, "mine is bigger than yours" is a hollow victory when the Himalayas and Andes are not heard from.

      I suppose it puts things in perspective when Kilian Jornet ran up the Everest twice in the same week, and here we are the rest of us taking a funicular for a couple thousand feet. :'-(

  19. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    I used to live around there, did my driving lessons around there through the July snow.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > I used to live around there, did my driving lessons around there through the July snow.

      I read that a few times as *diving* lessons and was thinking, how nails can you get?

  20. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Always work with Doppelmayr, single Mayr just doesn't cut it.

    Seriously, these guys are the gold standard when it comes to stuff like that. I guess if you'd really want to, they'd build you that rocket-powered cable car mentioned above.

  21. earl grey Silver badge
    Pint

    Thank you

    Liked this a lot. Reminded me to go look up some info on the five inclines they used to have in Cincinnati that i saw the remnants of maybe 45 years ago. Brakes be a good think when you read about those old systems.

  22. fnj

    Texas

    There are 27 counties in Texas each reaching an elevation of at least 1000 m.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Texas

      There may very well be 27 counties with elevations over 1000m in Texas (I can't be arsed to count) ... HOWEVER, the high plains hardly count as mountains, now do they? Unless, of course, you consider stepping out of your house in Amarillo (1,099m) "mountain climbing".

      There are some 64 actual peaks over 1,000m in Texas. They are all trans-Pecos, and most folks consider that part of the world to be part of New Mexico, not Texas.

  23. Sergey 1

    Restrictions to protect wild life

    You can walk up along the rails and on to the summit - no problem.

    But that same person making half way up by the train can't :-/

    Also, that rule doesn't allow paragliders and hanggliders use the train to get up and take off from the top station. And these guys won't even touch the nature after they take off.

  24. Stuart21551

    "Xining-Golmud-Lhasa railway at 5,068m (16,627ft) above sea level and running 815km (506 miles)"

    Foundations firmly firmed into the firmament formerly known as permafrost, IIRC -

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