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Trasporto del Vesuvio. Vesuvius Transport

 

History and eruptions      Vesuvius Transport      On Vesuvius      Views of Vesuvius

 

Access by foot, horseback or sedan chair

 

Initially Vesuvius had to be climbed on foot, on horseback or by being carried by sedan-chair.

Before the funicular the sedan chair was the most comfortable means of transport.

 

Vesuvius 1854. Salita al Vesuvio (Climbing Vesuvius) by Giacomo Lenghi.
Hand-coloured lithograph showing people climbing the sides of a volcano, some being dragged by ropes around their bodies, one woman in a chair on poles.
Neapolitan, from the Raccolta di Costumi Napoletani, published 1854.
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London, inventory number E.820-1937.

Vesuvius 1854. Salita al Vesuvio (Climbing Vesuvius) by Giacomo Lenghi.

Hand-coloured lithograph showing people climbing the sides of a volcano, some being dragged by ropes around their bodies, one woman in a chair on poles.

Neapolitan, from the Raccolta di Costumi Napoletani, published 1854.

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London, inventory number E.820-1937.

 

Vesuvius 1858. Salita al Vesuvio (Climbing Vesuvius) by P Mattei.
Initially Vesuvius had to be climbed on foot, on horseback or by being carried by sedan-chair.

Vesuvius 1858. Salita al Vesuvio (Climbing Vesuvius) by P Mattei.

 

Vesuvius 1880. Descending on foot. 1880 drawing by Luigi Palmieri.
See Palmieri L., 1880. Il Vesuvio e la sua storia. Milano: Tipografia Faverio, page vii.

Vesuvius 1880. Descending on foot. 1880 drawing by Luigi Palmieri.

See Palmieri L., 1880. Il Vesuvio e la sua storia. Milano: Tipografia Faverio, page vii.

 

Vesuvius August 27, 1904. A tourist is carried on a sedan-chair. 
Before the funicular this was the most comfortable means of transport.
Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer
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Vesuvius August 27, 1904. A tourist is carried on a sedan-chair. Before the funicular this was the most comfortable means of transport.

Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

 

Funicular

 

The first funicular cable car on Mount Vesuvius opened in 1880.

"Funiculi, Funiculà", a famous Neapolitan language song with lyrics by journalist Peppino Turco set to music by composer Luigi Denza, commemorates its opening.

Watch Andrea Bocelli sing Funiculi, Funiculà on YouTube

Hear The great Italian tenor Giuseppe di Stefano sing Funiculi, Funiculà

 

The funicular ran, with interruptions, from 1880 until it was destroyed by the March 1944 Vesuvius eruption and never rebuilt.

See https://www.identitainsorgenti.com/storie-dimenticate-bruciati-anche-i-resti-della-funicolare-del-vesuvio-ecco-la-sua-storia/

 

Funicular construction

 

Vesuvius Funicular. 1874 sketches of the project for the railway from Naples to Vesuvius.

 

Vesuvius Funicular railway. View from the summit in April 1880 presumably before testing and inauguration.
Sketch from L’Illustration, Samedi 24 Avril 1880.

Vesuvius Funicular railway. View from the summit in April 1880 presumably before testing and inauguration.

Sketch from L’Illustration, Samedi 24 Avril 1880.

 

Vesuvius Funicular 1880. Carriage design. 1880 drawing by Luigi Palmieri.
See Palmieri L., 1880. Il Vesuvio e la sua storia. Milano: Tipografia Faverio, page iii.

Vesuvius Funicular 1880. Carriage design. 1880 drawing by Luigi Palmieri.

See Palmieri L., 1880. Il Vesuvio e la sua storia. Milano: Tipografia Faverio, page iii.

 

Vesuvius 1880. End view of carriage design. 1880 drawing by Luigi Palmieri.
See Palmieri L., 1880. Il Vesuvio e la sua storia. Milano: Tipografia Faverio, page v.

Vesuvius 1880. End view of carriage design. 1880 drawing by Luigi Palmieri.

See Palmieri L., 1880. Il Vesuvio e la sua storia. Milano: Tipografia Faverio, page v.

 

Around 1870 the financier Ernest Emmanuel Oblieght had the idea of ​​building a funicular on Vesuvius.

In 1878 he obtained land licenses and land leases for thirty years.

The local community was to be paid an annual fee plus a tax on every passenger.

The project, drawn up by engineer Olivieri, foresaw two directions along which flowed several carriages weighing each of 5000 kg pulled by steel cables thanks to 45 hp steam engines.

It was a monorail system. The cost of the work, which was completed in 1880, amounted to 435,000 lire.

On May 25th, before the official inauguration, the commission for testing was held in Naples and on June 6th 1880, around 5 pm, the Vesuvius funicular was inaugurated.

Senator Piedimonte, president of the company operating the line, the mayor of Resina and the mayor of Naples took part in the toast.

On 10 June 1880 the funicular, directed by Enrico Treiber, was opened to the public, thus starting the regular service.

 

Vesuvius Funicular railway. Inauguration du chemin de fer funiculaire du Vésuve, le 6 Juin 1880.
Sketch by M. Lazzaro from front cover of L’Illustration: Journal Universel, Samedi 19 Juin 1880.

Vesuvius Funicular railway. Inauguration du chemin de fer funiculaire du Vésuve, le 6 Juin 1880.

Sketch by M. Lazzaro from front cover of L’Illustration: Journal Universel, Samedi 19 Juin 1880.

 

 

The early life of the funicular line on the Vesuvius

 

A round trip with guides from Naples to the summit by horse carriage and funicular cost about a pound, a high figure for the time.

In 1886 Oblieght ceded the funicular railway, in financial difficulty, to the French Société Anonyme du Chemin de fer funiculaire du Vésuve.

With the advent of the new company it proceeded with the renewal of the rolling stock.

Technically the funicular consisted of two separate tracks, one for each of the two counterbalanced cars.

The new cars, which seated 8, were introduced in 1889 and were named 'Etna' and 'Vesuvio'.

The new management however continued to have little success, due to the difficult accessibility to the funicular from Naples and the pressing extortion requests of local guides, who set fire to a station, they cut the cables and pushed a carriage down the ravine.

Despite good trade the running costs and concession fees were too high. and by the 1887 season the line seemed likely to close.

John Mason Cook (son of Thomas Cook) initially provided money to keep the system going to carry his tourists, and in 1888 bought the funicular concession outright.
John Mason Cook, who succeeded his father Thomas who died in 1892, came to an agreement with the guides on the sums to be paid for each passenger transported.

 

The funicular in the first half of the twentieth century


The new light railway, partly rack railway, built in 1903 on the Pugliano stretch (Resina) - San Vito  - Observatory-Vesuvius (Lower Station) contributed to double the number of tourists transported to the crater, thanks to the proximity of the station di Pugliano with the Resina station of the Naples-Pompei-Poggiomarino railway.

This led the company to demolish the old plants and build a new funicular, with electric motors instead of the old and expensive steam engines, a new metre gauge funicular with normal single track and a central passing loop (replacing the old monorail as this elderly system was overwhelmed by the increase in traffic); more new capacious carriages entered service. The line thus rebuilt went into operation in September 1904. To cater for this expanded trade, Thomas Cook also had a hotel called the Hermitage built at Eremo, about halfway along the electric railway's route.

But the blossoming of technology at the beginning of the century was overshadowed by a tremendous eruption, that of 1906.

On 7 and 8 April 1906 the lower and upper station, the equipment, the machinery, the two funicular cars were destroyed; everything was buried under a 20-30m high ash blanket.
Although the railway as far as the hotel was quickly dug out, the funicular had to wait.

In a short time the damages to the electric railroad were repaired, while only in 1909, according to the project of the engineer Enrico Treiber, the works for a new funicular were ended.

The funicular reopened in 1910.

A landslide occurred March 12, 1911 at the upper station caused a new interruption of the funicular, which reopened February 3, 1912 after retreating the mountain station about 80 metres.

In 1927 Thomas Cook ceded the concession to the Ferrovia e funicolare vesuviana Società Anonima Italiana, a company controlled by Cook itself.

 

Vesuvius Funicular. 29th November 1926 notice of meeting to discuss transfer of ownership.

Vesuvius Funicular. 29th November 1926 notice of meeting to discuss transfer of ownership.

 

The plant remained in operation until 1944, when Vesuvius erupted.

 

The funicular, already under the control of the allies since 1943, suffered irreparable damage and was never rebuilt.

 

Funicular Recovery Projects

According to Identità Insorgenti:

In 1988 the Campania Region commissioned the funicular recovery project, benefiting from the funds provided for the World Cup.

Once the project was approved and the permits were obtained, tenders were launched to purchase the cars.

The architect Nicola Pagliara, already known for other similar projects, won the tender for the design and construction of a new funicular for Vesuvius.

The cost of the work amounted to thirteen and a half billion lire.

The consortium of companies awarded the contract, had a deadline: deliver the work within 450 days, halfway through September 1991, after having obtained all the necessary permits and authorizations.

In December 1992 the first group of tourists would have had to take a seat in the car and reach a height of 1,162, that is, on the edge of the crater.

At the inauguration, Pavarotti was to sing Funiculi Funiculà.

However, after several months, the works stumbled over a series of quibbles, chief amongst them the encroachment of a few metres into the territory of the Municipality of Torre del Greco.

The two cars that were built lie, in spite of the money that was spent, in the depot of a transport company in Pollena Trocchia (NA).

The mountain station is located, dismantled, in a warehouse in Avellino.

The tracks, however, were lent to another funicular, that of Montesanto in Naples, then under renovation.

There was a commitment to return everything, in coin, at the time of the completion of the Vesuvius funicular.

The disputes, however, resulted in the suspension of work and it has never been restarted.

See https://www.identitainsorgenti.com/storie-dimenticate-bruciati-anche-i-resti-della-funicolare-del-vesuvio-ecco-la-sua-storia/

 

Vesuvius Funicular railway. 19th Century photo by Giacomo Brogi (1822-1881) no. 5231.

Vesuvius Funicular railway. 19th Century photo by Giacomo Brogi (1822-1881) no. 5231.

 

Vesuvius Funicular railway. 19th Century photo by Giorgio Sommer (1834-1914) no. 2522.

Vesuvius Funicular railway. 19th Century photo by Giorgio Sommer (1834-1914) no. 2522.

 

Vesuvius Funicular railway. 1880-1890 photo of the lower station and the track up to the summit.
Photo title at bottom is "8121 Vesuvio. Ferrovia funicolare. G. Sommer – Napoli”. 
The handwritten note says "Vesuv Eisenbahn".
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, inventory number P1981.400 (Public Domain).
See https://sammlungonline.mkg-hamburg.de/de/object/8121-Vesuvio.-Ferrovia-funicolare/P1981.400/mkg-e00135742

Vesuvius Funicular railway. 1880-1890 photo of the lower station and the track up to the summit.

Photo title at bottom is "8121 Vesuvio. Ferrovia funicolare. G. Sommer – Napoli”.

The handwritten note says "Vesuv Eisenbahn".

Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, inventory number P1981.400 (Public Domain).

See https://sammlungonline.mkg-hamburg.de/de/object/8121-Vesuvio.-Ferrovia-funicolare/P1981.400/mkg-e00135742

 

Vesuvius Funicular railway, c. 1890. Stazione Inferiore (Lower station) Photo by Giorgio Sommer (unnumbered).

Vesuvius Funicular railway, c. 1890. Stazione Inferiore (Lower station) Photo by Giorgio Sommer (unnumbered).

 

Vesuvius Funicular railway at the lower station, 1880-1889. One of the two original 1880 cars named Etna and Vesuvio which seated 8 people.
There was a longitudinal wooden sleeper on the top of which was carried a single rail. 
The cars had a double flanged wheel at each end which ran on this rail. 
In addition, there were two angled rails, one fixed to each side of the sleeper at its base. 
The cars had wheels mounted from their floors which engaged on these side rails and kept the cars upright. 
Each track had two continuous cables carried on pulleys which were fixed to each side of the car.
These cars were replaced in 1889 by new cars with 10 seats, also named Etna and Vesuvio, as part of renovations by John Mason Cook.
Stereoview photo by Giorgio Sommer.

Vesuvius Funicular railway at the lower station, 1880-1889. One of the two original 1880 cars named Etna and Vesuvio which seated 8 people.

There was a longitudinal wooden sleeper on the top of which was carried a single rail.

The cars had a double flanged wheel at each end which ran on this rail.

In addition, there were two angled rails, one fixed to each side of the sleeper at its base.

The cars had wheels mounted from their floors which engaged on these side rails and kept the cars upright.

Each track had two continuous cables carried on pulleys which were fixed to each side of the car.

These cars were replaced in 1889 by new cars with 10 seats, also named Etna and Vesuvio, as part of renovations by John Mason Cook.

Stereoview photo by Giorgio Sommer.

 

Vesuvius Funicular railway. An original 1880 car at the lower station, 1880-1889. 
Photo title at bottom is 8124 Vesuvio Stazione inferiore, G. Sommer Napoli. 
The handwritten note says “Bahn auf den Vesuv”.
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, inventory number P1981.399 (Public Domain).
See https://sammlungonline.mkg-hamburg.de/de/object/8124-Vesuvio-Stazione-inferiore/P1981.399/mkg-e00135741

Vesuvius Funicular railway. An original 1880 car at the lower station, 1880-1889.

Photo title at bottom is 8124 Vesuvio Stazione inferiore, G. Sommer Napoli.

The handwritten note says “Bahn auf den Vesuv”.

Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, inventory number P1981.399 (Public Domain).

See https://sammlungonline.mkg-hamburg.de/de/object/8124-Vesuvio-Stazione-inferiore/P1981.399/mkg-e00135741

 

Postcard showing the Vesuvius Funicular car Etna. Not dated, but with interesting handwritten note on rear -
“The original 1880 Funicular had 2 cars ETNA and VESUVIO”.  Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.
This is one of two new cars, also named Etna and Vesuvio, but seating 10 people, introduced in 1889 as part of renovations by John Mason Cook.

Postcard showing the Vesuvius Funicular car Etna. Not dated, but with interesting handwritten note on rear -

“The original 1880 Funicular had 2 cars ETNA and VESUVIO”.  Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

This is one of two new cars, also named Etna and Vesuvio, but seating 10 people, introduced in 1889 as part of renovations by John Mason Cook.

 

Vesuvius Funicular car Vesuvio. Undated colour postcard but must be between 1889 and 1904.
This is the second of two new cars, with seating for 10 people, introduced in 1889 as part of renovations by John Mason Cook.

Vesuvius Funicular car Vesuvio. Undated colour postcard but must be between 1889 and 1904.

This is the second of two new cars, with seating for 10 people, introduced in 1889 as part of renovations by John Mason Cook.

 

Vesuvius Funicular car Vesuvio. Undated black and white photo but must be between 1889 and 1904.
There was a longitudinal wooden sleeper on the top of which was carried a single rail. 
The cars had a double flanged wheel at each end which ran on this rail. 
In addition, there were two angled rails, one fixed to each side of the sleeper at its base. 
The cars had wheels mounted from their floors which engaged on these side rails and kept the cars upright. 
Each track had two continuous cables carried on pulleys which were fixed to each side of the car.

Vesuvius Funicular car Vesuvio. Undated black and white photo but must be between 1889 and 1904.

There was a longitudinal wooden sleeper on the top of which was carried a single rail.

The cars had a double flanged wheel at each end which ran on this rail.

In addition, there were two angled rails, one fixed to each side of the sleeper at its base.

The cars had wheels mounted from their floors which engaged on these side rails and kept the cars upright.

Each track had two continuous cables carried on pulleys which were fixed to each side of the car.

 

Vesuvius Funicular railway at the lower station c.1890.
Photo by Giorgio Sommer.
The winding house was at the bottom, where there were two 45 horsepower high pressure steam engines (one a reserve) and coal fired boilers. 
The winding drum had automatic brakes to control the speed and the cars also had automatic brakes applied if the cable went slack. 
As coal had to be brought up the mountain on horseback, this became an expensive item.

Vesuvius Funicular railway at the lower station c.1890. Photo by Giorgio Sommer.

The winding house was at the bottom, where there were two 45 horsepower high pressure steam engines (one a reserve) and coal fired boilers.

The winding drum had automatic brakes to control the speed and the cars also had automatic brakes applied if the cable went slack.

As coal had to be brought up the mountain on horseback, this became an expensive item.

 

Vesuvius eruption, July 1895 the lava flow covering the route of the Funicular.
Photo from L’illustration: Samedi 20 Juillet 1895.

Vesuvius eruption, July 1895, the lava flow covering the route of the Funicular.

Photo from L’illustration: Samedi 20 Juillet 1895.

 

Vesuvius Funicular railway at the Stazione superiore, upper station, c.1890. Photo by Giorgio Sommer.
A landslide occurred March 12, 1911 at the upper station causing a new interruption of the funicular, which reopened February 3, 1912 after retreating the mountain station by about 80 metres.

Vesuvius Funicular railway at the Stazione superiore, upper station, c.1890. Photo by Giorgio Sommer.

A landslide occurred March 12, 1911 at the upper station causing a new interruption of the funicular, which reopened February 3, 1912 after retreating the mountain station by about 80 metres.

 

Vesuvius Funicular railway. The car Etna at the lower station c.1902-1903.
Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

Vesuvius Funicular railway. The car Etna at the lower station c.1902-1903.

Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

 

Postcard showing a Wagon of the Vesuvius Funicular, with handwritten note on rear-  “The 1904 Funicular only lasted 2 years”.  
Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.
This photo must be dated between 1904 when the cars were introduced and 1906 when they were destroyed..
The funicular was modernised at the same time as Cook’s Pugliano to Vesuvius light railway was opened in 1904.
The monorails had been removed and the track was now a one metre gauge single track with a central passing loop.
These cars were new in 1904 and seated 18 with 6 standing. 
Thomas Cook and Son’s name is on the upper part of the structure. The wording on each of the three doors is “Posti 6” (6 places).
Two years later, in a tremendous eruption, on 7 and 8 April 1906 the lower and upper station, the equipment, the machinery, the two funicular cars were destroyed.
Everything was buried under a 20-30m high ash blanket.
Although the light railway as far as the hotel Eremo was quickly dug out, the funicular had to wait. 
Only in 1909, according to the project of the engineer Enrico Treiber, were the works for a new funicular ended and it reopened in 1910.

Postcard showing a Wagon of the Vesuvius Funicular, with handwritten note on rear- “The 1904 Funicular only lasted 2 years”. 

Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

This photo must be dated between 1904 when the cars were introduced and 1906 when they were destroyed..

The funicular was modernised at the same time as Cook’s Pugliano to Vesuvius light railway was opened in 1904.

The monorails had been removed and the track was now a one metre gauge single track with a central passing loop.

These cars were new in 1904 and seated 18 with 6 standing.

Thomas Cook and Son’s name is on the upper part of the structure. The wording on each of the three doors is “Posti 6” (6 places).

Two years later, in a tremendous eruption, on 7 and 8 April 1906 the lower and upper station, the equipment, the machinery, the two funicular cars were destroyed.

Everything was buried under a 20-30m high ash blanket.

Although the light railway as far as the hotel Eremo was quickly dug out, the funicular had to wait.

Only in 1909, according to the project of the engineer Enrico Treiber, were the works for a new funicular ended and it reopened in 1910.

 

Postcard for Vesuvius Funicular, showing Upper Station. Not dated but must be between 1910 and 1944.
There is a handwritten note on rear – “The 1910 Funicular lasted until 1944”.  Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.
After the 1906 eruption the funicular was out of action and reconstruction was only completed in 1909.
It reopened in 1910 with two new 5-bay end loading cars, numbered 1 and 2, which seated 16 with 8 standing. 
The car in this photo is car number 1.
The line now had overhead wire and the cars bow collectors to provide electric light, bell signals and a telephone. 
The funicular could now run an after dark service.
The funicular was permanently closed after being destroyed by the Vesuvius eruption of 1944.

Postcard for Vesuvius Funicular, showing Upper Station. Not dated but must be between 1910 and 1944.

There is a handwritten note on rear – “The 1910 Funicular lasted until 1944”.  Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

After the 1906 eruption the funicular was out of action and reconstruction was only completed in 1909.

It reopened in 1910 with two new 5-bay end loading cars, numbered 1 and 2, which seated 16 with 8 standing.

The car in this photo is car number 1.

The line now had overhead wire and the cars bow collectors to provide electric light, bell signals and a telephone.

The funicular could now run an after dark service.

The funicular was permanently closed after being destroyed by the Vesuvius eruption of 1944.

 

See https://www.tramwayinfo.com

See https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funicolare_vesuviana

See https://www.vesuvioinrete.it/funicolare/funicolare_storia.htm

 

 

The Pugliano to Vesuvius light railway

 

Postcard for Vesuvius Railway and Funicular. Not dated but the funicular car is the monorail in use up to 1904. 
It also shows a horse drawn carriage, a Vesuvius eruption and the route up Vesuvius.
A round trip in 1886 with guides from Naples to the summit by horse carriage and funicular cost about a pound, a high figure for the time.
Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

Postcard for Vesuvius Railway and Funicular. Not dated but the funicular car is the monorail in use from 1889 to 1904.

It also shows a horse drawn carriage, a Vesuvius eruption and the route up Vesuvius.

A round trip in 1886 with guides from Naples to the summit by horse carriage and funicular cost about a pound, a high figure for the time.

Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

 

In 1902 the ascent to the lower station of the Vesuvian funicular was carried out with horse-drawn carriages, with a journey time of about 4 hours for tourists coming from Naples. The Thomas Cook Group having purchased the plant designed a railway of about 20 km taking up a previous project of the engineer Mineri dating back to 1896. It was to be a 1435 mm gauge railway, with steam traction, equipped with 7.5 km of rack rail type ABT in the section of greater slope. This project was approved and obtained concessions by the Italian government but due to high costs it was not realized.

 

The same was however resumed in 1901 by the Strade Ferrate Secondarie Meridionali (SFSM), which operated the Naples-Ottaviano railway and wished to establish a new connection between Naples and Poggiomarino passing through Barra, Pugliano and Pompeii.

This meant Thomas Cook Group only had to build the stretch from Pugliano to Vesuvius.

Cook was advised to adopt electric traction and metric gauge on the Puglia-Vesuvius route, with the cogwheel part reduced to 1.6 km on a total length of 7.7 km.

In 1902 work began at the same time as that for the Hotel Eremo, which would host tourists visiting Vesuvius.

The inauguration of the new Ferrovie Vesuviane took place on September 28, 1903.

The following year the Naples-Poggiomarino section of the SFSM was inaugurated, which included the Resina stop, not far from the lower end of the Vesuvian railway

In 1906 the eruption of the volcano caused considerable damage to the funicular and to the last section of the railway.

During the reconstruction work, Cook extended the line from the old end at Olivi, over the Napoli-Portici-Torre del Greco tramway, to near the SFSM station of Resina.

This new station, inaugurated on January 6, 1913, involved a stretch alongside the Circumvesuviana line up almost to Piazza Pugliano to which it was connected by a driveway. The two stations of Pugliano, ie the Circumvesuviana and Vesuviana were in the Piazza.

In 1927 the "Cook" ceded the concession to the Ferrovia e funicolare vesuviana Società Anonima Italiana.

The further eruptions of 1929 and 1944 seriously threatened the railway, damaging some stretches of track, but they were not to jeopardize the existence of the plant.

The low tourist movement caused by the war and the high running costs, forced the Compagnia Ferrovia e Funicolare Vesuviana to sell the plant, for 3,100,000 lire to SFSM in December 1945.

Between 1946 and 1947 the SFSM management restored the destroyed sections and the tractors were able to return to the former valley station of the funicular, from which the crater was reached by a path.

The reconstruction of the funicular, the adoption of the common 950 gauge with the Circumvesuviana network and the introduction of new rolling stock were not realized due to the excessive costs.

 

In 1948, at the dawn of the car boom, it was decided to build a road to the old lower station and from there a chairlift.

In 1951 the Hotel Eremo passed to private hands, more reachable from the following year thanks to the new road.

By 1953 the improved road was complete as far as the Hotel Eremo-Observatory and the excursion coaches from Naples and regular bus from Pugliano could bring people to this point, where they changed to a shuttle train for the last 2,1 km until the chair lift. A rack locomotive pushed two cars up from the depot each morning and stayed at Eremo all day until the convoy returned home at night.

In the autumn of 1955, the road was completed up to a thousand metres and the railway finally closed, with dismantling of the plants three years later.

 

According to Identità Insorgenti, in 2010 a conference was held where the imminent start of work was hoped for:

It would respect the old route - it was said - five kilometres, five stops, coaches, Belle Epoque style.

The distance should take, as then, ten minutes and carry 450 passengers.

Departure from the Cook station of Pugliano in the municipality of Ercolano with arrival at an altitude of 850 meters, the base of the great cone.

There would be breath-taking views of the Gulf of Naples and the Sorrento Coast and Capri, from among lava residues and broom, evoked by Giacomo Leopardi.

But since then it has not been discussed anymore.

See https://www.identitainsorgenti.com/storie-dimenticate-bruciati-anche-i-resti-della-funicolare-del-vesuvio-ecco-la-sua-storia/

 

Vesuvius light railway and Funicular. Route and route of toll road. Author unknown.
Photo Wikimedia Commons See photo on Wikimedia Commons Public Domain.

Vesuvius light railway and Funicular. Route and route of toll road. Author unknown.

Photo Wikimedia Commons See photo on Wikimedia Commons Public Domain.

 

Vesuvius light railway. The starting station at Pugliano near Resina.
Photo courtesy of www.vesuvioinrete.it

Vesuvius light railway. The starting station at Pugliano near Resina.

Photo courtesy of www.vesuvioinrete.it

 

Front of a Thomas Cook & Son combo ticket to Vesuvius, using the train and the funicular.  
This ticket is dated 13 July 1948. Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

Front of a Thomas Cook & Son combo ticket to Vesuvius, using the train and the funicular. 

This ticket is dated 13 July 1948. Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

 

Rear of a Thomas Cook & Son combo ticket to Vesuvius, using the train and the funicular.  
This ticket is dated 13 July 1948. Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

Rear of a Thomas Cook & Son combo ticket to Vesuvius, using the train and the funicular. 

This ticket is dated 13 July 1948. Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

 

Vesuvius, August 27, 1904. View of Vesuvius with newly opened electric light railway running across.
An electric carriage and the cable posts can be seen on the line in the centre of the photo.
Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

Vesuvius, August 27, 1904. View of Vesuvius with newly opened electric light railway running across.

An electric carriage and the cable posts can be seen on the line in the centre of the photo.

Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

 

Postcard for Vesuvius Railway and Funicular. Not dated. Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

Postcard for Vesuvius Railway and Funicular. Not dated. Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

 

Vesuvius to Pugliano railway. Old postcard with the title “Il Vesuvio con la nuova ferrovia elettrica”. 
“Vesuvius with the new electric railway”. The railway opened in 1903.
It ran from Pugliano near the Resina mainline station to the funicular at Vesuvius.
As a result of the railway there were double the number of tourists transported to the crater.

Vesuvius to Pugliano railway. Old postcard with the title “Il Vesuvio con la nuova ferrovia elettrica”.

“Vesuvius with the new electric railway”. The railway opened in 1903.

It ran from Pugliano near the Resina mainline station to the funicular at Vesuvius.

As a result of the railway there were double the number of tourists transported to the crater.

 

Vesuvius to Pugliano railway. Old postcard with the title “Ferrovia Vesuviana Cook”, Cook’s Vesuvian railway.
The electric train is pictured at the station of (Hotel) Eremo (and the observatory), the last stop before the Lower Station of the Funicular.

Vesuvius to Pugliano railway. Old postcard with the title “Ferrovia Vesuviana Cook”, Cook’s Vesuvian railway.

The electric train is pictured at the station of (Hotel) Eremo (and the observatory), the last stop before the Lower Station of the Funicular.

 

Vesuvius to Pugliano railway. 1934. Hotel Eremo station. Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.
The same carriages were used for a journey along the whole of the track.
From Pugliano to the power station and from Eremo to the Funicular the trains used their own power and traction was by simple adhesion to the rails.
The rack system of the track is visible in front of the rack locomotives and carriages. 
The rack locomotive on the left was used to push the carriages up the steepest part of the track with up to 25% gradient from the power station to Eremo. 
Traffic had developed to the point where larger cars were needed.
Car number 5 on the right was introduced in the 1920’s and seated 34 passengers who were fully enclosed.
Two other newer cars, numbered 6 and 7 each seated 44 passengers.
The original cars 1 to 3 had seated only 24 people with an additional 6 standing on the platform. They were open above the waistline with curtains for use against wind and rain. A fourth enclosed car had been added when the railway was extended to the relocated and rebuilt funicular base station on 6th January 1913. 
See Smith P, 1998. Thomas Cook and Son’s Vesuvius Railway in Japan Railway and Transport Review March 1998.

Vesuvius to Pugliano railway. 1934. Hotel Eremo station. Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

The same carriages were used for a journey along the whole of the track.

From Pugliano to the power station and from Eremo to the Funicular the trains used their own power and traction was by simple adhesion to the rails.

The rack system of the track is visible in front of the rack locomotives and carriages.

The rack locomotive on the left was used to push the carriages up the steepest part of the track with up to 25% gradient from the power station to Eremo.

Traffic had developed to the point where larger cars were needed.

Car number 5 on the right was introduced in the 1920’s and seated 34 passengers who were fully enclosed.

Two other newer cars, numbered 6 and 7 each seated 44 passengers.

The original cars 1 to 3 had seated only 24 people with an additional 6 standing on the platform. They were open above the waistline with curtains for use against wind and rain. A fourth enclosed car had been added when the railway was extended to the relocated and rebuilt funicular base station on 6th January 1913.

See Smith P, 1998. Thomas Cook and Son’s Vesuvius Railway in Japan Railway and Transport Review March 1998.

 

Vesuvius light railway. The final station at Vesuvio Inferiore which joined with the funicular and later the chairlift to the left.

This station was damaged in the 1944 eruption and never rebuilt.

Photo courtesy of www.vesuvioinrete.it

 

Vesuvius light railway. The final station at Vesuvio Inferiore which joined with the funicular and later the chairlift to the left.
This station was partially buried in the 1944 eruption. The funicular suffered irreparable damage, and was never rebuilt.
Photo courtesy of www.vesuvioinrete.it

Vesuvius light railway. The final station at Vesuvio Inferiore which joined with the funicular and later the chairlift to the left.

This station was partially buried in the 1944 eruption. The funicular suffered irreparable damage and was never rebuilt.

Photo courtesy of www.vesuvioinrete.it

 

 

Vesuvius light railway. Route of the light railway from Pugliano to the lower station of the funicular.
Plan courtesy of Wikipedia Italy

Vesuvius light railway. Route of the light railway from Pugliano to the lower station of the funicular.

Plan courtesy of Wikipedia Italy

 

Vesuvius light railway. Bus and shuttle train interchange at Eremo-Observatory.
By 1953 the improved road was complete as far as the Hotel Eremo-Observatory and the excursion coaches from Naples and regular bus from Pugliano could bring people to this point, where they changed to a shuttle train for the last 2,1 km until the chair lift. A rack locomotive pushed two cars, usually 6 and 7 up from the depot each morning and stayed at Eremo all day until the convoy returned home at night.

Vesuvius light railway. Bus and shuttle train interchange at Eremo-Observatory.

By 1953 the improved road was complete as far as the Hotel Eremo-Observatory and the excursion coaches from Naples and regular bus from Pugliano could bring people to this point, where they changed to a shuttle train for the last 2,1 km until the chair lift.

A rack locomotive pushed two cars, usually 6 and 7 up from the depot each morning and stayed at Eremo all day until the convoy returned home at night.

 

From the post-war period to the definitive closure


After the war the Thomas Cook Group sold the surviving plants to the anonymous company Strade Ferrate Secondarie Meridionali (SFSM) which in 1947 put it back into operation. The SFSM (later Circumvesuviana and later Ente Autonomo Volturno) to better manage the plant founded the Società Ferrovia e Funicolare Vesuviana.

 

In 1953 the funicular was replaced by a chairlift.

Between 1947 and 1961, the plant worked regularly transporting a thousand people a day to the top of Mount Vesuvius. On May 31, 1961, the Società Ferrovia e Funicolare Vesuviana changed its name to Seggiovia and Autolinee del Vesuvio S.p.A. always controlled by the then società Circumvesuviana.

 

The Vesuvius chairlift

 

In 1953 the funicular was replaced by a chairlift.

From 1953 to 1984 the plant transported almost a hundred thousand people a year, of which more than half came from all over the world.

With the passage of time, the chairlift became unsuitable for tourists, because it was often unusable due to the wind, which made the small seats dangling dangerously, and because it was unable to transport the increasingly numerous groups at the same time that they found easier to continue along the open asphalt road from 1955 up to the parking place at 1,000 meters.
Sadly in 1984 the chair lift was also stopped forever.

 

Vesuvius chairlift. The chairlift opened in 1953 and ran until 1984.

Vesuvius chairlift. The chairlift opened in 1953 and ran until 1984.

 

Vesuvio Chairlift, Chair lift and bus of Vesuvius ticket (circa 1960s).
Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.
Vesuvio%20Autostrada%20ticket%20(circa%201960s)

Vesuvio Chairlift. Seggiovia ed Autolinee del Vesuvio (Chair lift and bus of Vesuvius) ticket (circa 1960s).

Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

 

Chairlift ticket to Vesuvius from 1945. Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

Chairlift ticket to Vesuvius from 1945. Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

 

See a 1953 video of the chairlift which is on YouTube: 1953 video of Vesuvius chairlift (YouTube)

A separate window will open, which you can make full screen if you wish. When finished watching close the window.

 

Strada Automobilistica Vesuvio / Autostrada Vesuvio - Boscotrecase to Vesuvius

 

Vesuvius postcard c.1940? Autostrada Vesuvio Boscotrecase presso Pompeii Scavi.
Pompeii is at the bottom of the postcard and the winding road to the summit of Vesuvius is shown.

Vesuvius postcard c.1940? Autostrada Vesuvio Boscotrecase presso Pompeii Scavi.

Pompeii is at the bottom of the postcard and the winding road to the summit of Vesuvius is shown.

 

1938 ticket for Vesuvius. Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

1938 ticket for Vesuvius. Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

 

Vesuvius. G Modiano Postcard c.1899 titled “Nuova Strada da Pompei al Vesuvio”..

Vesuvius. G Modiano Postcard c.1899 titled “Nuova Strada da Pompei al Vesuvio”.

 

Vesuvius. La Strada Matrone. Now part of the Vesuvius National Park trail which traces the road created by the Matrone brothers to ascend to the Great Cone.

Vesuvius. La Strada Matrone. Now part of the Vesuvius National Park trail which traces the road created by the Matrone brothers to ascend to the Great Cone.

 

Vesuvius. Strada Automobilistica Vesuvio ticket (circa 1950s). Vesuvius car road ticket. 
Issued at Boscotrecase at a cost of 400 lira, presumably with 4% (16 lira) stamp duty.
Note: It is forbidden to exceed 25 km per hour.
Note: The company is not responsible for any damage during the journey to people or vehicles.
Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.
Vesuvio%20Autostrada%20ticket%20(circa%201950s)

Vesuvius. Strada Automobilistica Vesuvio ticket (10th August 1973). Vesuvius car road ticket.

Issued at Boscotrecase at a cost of 400 lira, presumably with 4% (16 lira) stamp duty.

Note: It is forbidden to exceed 25 km per hour.

Note: The company is not responsible for any damage during the journey to people or vehicles.

Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

 

1939. Ticket for Strada Automobilistica Vesuvio. Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.
The road was built by the Matrone brothers to reach the Great Cone of Vesuvius from the Boscotrecase slope.
The Matrone road was built by the engineer Gennaro Matrone, following the Royal Concession of 13 June 1892. 
Destroyed and almost erased by the violent eruptions of Vesuvius several times, the road was rebuilt in 1918, when it became paved and the cars could cover the 8.5 Km to the piazzale at an altitude of one thousand meters. 
In 1924 Aurelio Matrone had a house built for the caretaker and the ticket office (now the forestry station).
After nearly thirty years of work, various destructions made by sudden lava flows and subsequent reconstructions, the road was inaugurated on 4 January 1927.
It is now a walking track in the Vesuvius National Park.

1939. Ticket for Strada Automobilistica Vesuvio. Photo courtesy of Rick Bauer.

The road was built by the Matrone brothers to reach the Great Cone of Vesuvius from the Boscotrecase slope.

The Matrone road was built by the engineer Gennaro Matrone, following the Royal Concession of 13 June 1892.

Destroyed and almost erased by the violent eruptions of Vesuvius several times, the road was rebuilt in 1918, when it became paved and the cars could cover the 8.5 Km to the piazzale at an altitude of one thousand meters.

In 1924 Aurelio Matrone had a house built for the caretaker and the ticket office (now the forestry station).

After nearly thirty years of work, various destructions made by sudden lava flows and subsequent reconstructions, the road was inaugurated on 4 January 1927.

It is now a walking track in the Vesuvius National Park.

 

 

The Vesuvius National Park

 

The area around Vesuvius was officially declared a national park on June 5, 1995.

The summit of Vesuvius is open to visitors and there is a small network of paths around the volcano that are maintained by the park authorities on weekends.

There is access by road to within 200 metres (660 ft) of the summit (measured vertically), but thereafter access is on foot only.

There is a spiral walkway around the volcano from the road to the crater.

 

See Funicolare Vesuviana - Wikipedia Italia

 

 

History and eruptions      Vesuvius Transport      On Vesuvius      Views of Vesuvius

 

 

 

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Ultimo aggiornamento - Last updated: 28-Jul-2019 23:42