© M. Bosse
Le Tréport Funicular RailwayIts history

Le Tréport Funicular Railway

A must-do of the seaside town

Taking the funicular for the first time? Even if you’ve already used it, you may well ask how this structure has stood up to the test of time for over a century? Let us tell you its story…

CONSTRUCTION OF THE FUNICULAR RAILWAY

The first funicular railway of Le Tréport opened on 1st July 1908 in the presence of the Count and Countess of Eu, Gaston d’Orléans and his wife, Isabelle. It was a huge success, carrying more than two thousand passengers who made the return trip during its first month of operation.

This amazing idea emerged with the realisation that the electric tramway line between Eu and Le Tréport could not be extended to serve the district of “Les Terrasses” because of the steep climb from Rue de la Commune de Paris.

 

 

The construction work began in January 1907 and lasted 18 months, although it only took two months to pierce the two tunnels. Two stations were also built. The top station of brick was covered with a metallic structure reminiscent of the style of certain stations and the overground sections of the Paris underground system. The more imposing bottom station has a neo-Byzantine facade that’s entirely decorated in ceramics. The red and white brick pediment above the mouth of the tunnel is a continuation of this style.

At the time, two cars made of varnished wood, each with four tiered compartments and sliding doors, could carry up to forty-eight passengers in total. The journey time was two minutes.

 

THE HAUNT OF UPMARKET PARIS

The success of the funicular railway led to the building of the Grand Hôtel Trianon, whose posh clientele used the service for easy access to the beach when sea-bathing was all the rage.

After 1914, the funicular was not sufficiently cost-effective. It required a large number of staff and the fixed costs were barely covered by the rather short summer season. Requisitioned by the Germans during the Second World War, it was not put back into service following the Liberation.

 

 

THE FUNICULAR CHANGES SHAPE

So it wasn’t until the 1950s that a new system began operating. The former wagons-on-rails system was replaced in 1958 by a monocable cable car that carried ten gondolas through the tunnels. Unfortunately, the violent winds that blow between the seafront and the cliffs caused frequent interruptions to the service. This second system ceased to operate in 1981.

 

SAVING THE FUNICULAR

The site was left to years of abandon before being purchased by the town of Le Tréport in 1992. An ambitious refurbishment project was launched and, in April 2005, the cliffs were drained and consolidated by concrete injections. Iron bars were nailed to them, and new rails were laid. Dug out with human sweat a century earlier, the vaulted tunnels were still intact. The funicular railway used today was inaugurated in 2006. On the way through the cliff, passengers can admire the work carried out all those years ago, before emerging from the tunnel to see the beautiful panoramic view over the entire town.