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Railways in


The Rack Railway in Madeira
Train on the rack railway into the mountains from Funchal.
This postcard incorrectly decribes it as a funicular railway.
Note the adventurous option of descending the hill by sled.

The Portuguese autonomous region of Madeira is a group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean. Madeira is also the name of the largest island in the group.

In 1893, a rack railway was opened on the island of Madeira, running from Pombal in the Madeiran capital, Funchal, to Terreiro da Luta in Monte, a distance of nearly 4km with a rise in altitude of about 800m. A mule drawn street tramway connected the Pombal station with Funchal Pier.

Following a couple of serious accidents, patronage declined during the 1920s and 1930s. With the almost complete disappearance of tourism during the Second World War, the railway was forced into bankruptcy and the last train ran in 1943.

The original route of the railway is now followed by a modern paved road.

The other islands of the island group have never had railways.

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Picture image from an old postcard