History of the Funicular
The Tibidabo Funicular has been transporting visitors to Barcelona’s highest point since 1901.
Dr Andreu and the start of Tibidabo’s urbanisation
At the end of the 19th century, Salvador Andreu i Grau (Barcelona, 1841-1928) had had considerable business success due to the popularity of his pharmaceutical products, leading him to press ahead with various activities related to construction and urban planning. On 20 February 1899, Dr Andreu founded the company “S.A. El Tibidabo”, jointly with a group of influential people of the time, who resolutely embarked on the adventure of purchasing a large estate – extending from today’s Passeig de Sant Gervasi up to the top of Tibidabo – and of developing Tibidabo.
Origins of Tibidabo’s Funicular Railway
The decision to install a Funicular Railway to reach the top of Tibidabo was the result of a coincidence. The poet Celestino Barallat, a friend of Pere Cantarell – the music teacher of Dr Andreu’s children – remembered he has brought back a brochure on a funicular from a trip to Switzerland, which he undertook to send to the pharmacist, who immediately decided this “strange elevator” was the ideal transportation for reaching Tibidabo’s summit.
The evolution of the Funicular Railway
In the mid 1900s, work commenced on building Spain's first funicular railway, which was opened in October 1901 and which was to become the first major attraction of the Tibidabo Amusement Park, given the innovative nature of this curious mode of transport at that time.
The chosen engineer was Bonaventura Roig i Queralt who, following preliminary studies and trips to Switzerland, commenced the works on 16 June 1900. Although the funicular railway made its first ascent on 3 July 1901, the official inauguration wasn’t until the end of October, once the works and tuning were completed.
The funicular's first carriages were made of wood, built by the Estrada de Sarrià workshops, and had six compartments divided between first and second class, with a maximum capacity of 80 passengers.
From 1901 through to the present day, the Funicular Railway, which has carried thousands of people from all over the world to the top of Tibidabo, has been remodelled on various occasions. One of the most notable of these upgrades was in 1958, when the wooden carriages were replaced by metal ones.
In the autumn of 2019, the old funicular made its last journey before bowing out and making way for a new era with the Cuca de Llum. The new funicular will become the park’s main attraction. The idea behind this is to regain the original concept of the first promoters.
The funicular’s route is 1,130 metres in length, and has an incline of 275 metres between the lower and upper station.