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Fourvière funicular

Total modernization of the electrical installation

Date of completion
Cable transportation - Urban


Customer stakes:

To optimize the operation of the funicular by equipping it with ultra-modern equipment

With urban and tourist uses, the “funi” transports nearly 2.5 million people each year to the Basilica of Fourvière, located at the top of the hill with the same name. Having been partially renovated in 1985, this emblematic train, nicknamed “Lyon’s String”, was to undergo a major modernization operation.


The objectives of the SYTRAL (SYndicat Mixte des Transports pour le Rhône) and the Lyon conurbation at the origin of the project: to improve availability and reliability while offering a simplified and optimized level of operation, as well as an improvement in environmental criteria (noise in the stations, energy efficiency).

Technical challenge:

To inject a concentrate of technology into a train designed at the beginning of the last century

With 2 vehicles of 70 seats each, the Lyon funicular transports 1,400 people per hour between Saint-Jean and Fourvière stations. The journey represents a distance of 421 meters for a difference in altitude of 116 meters.

To meet the objectives, the modernization of the system needed to be carried out on the basis of a shutdown of the installations limited to 5 months and include the training of operating staff.

The mission: the complete replacement of electrical parts (sensors, actuators, motors, braking hydraulic systems), the design of automated systems and the driving interface.

The SEMER Solution:

A challenge taken up item by item

SEMER ensured the entire design of the electrical parts, from the main motorization to the on-board automated systems in the vehicles, including the control-command system of the driving station.


The automated systems rely on safety PLCs located in each station and in both vehicles. The control functions have a SIL 3 safety level.


Hot redundant safety links are implemented between the various points, by optical fiber between stations and by Hertzian link between the vehicles and the control-command located in the drive station. Some sensors are doubled to provide hot redundancy.


The main motorization is equipped with a high-efficiency asynchronous motor associated to a frequency inverter that optimizes energy efficiency.


The driving interface of the control-command of the installation is equipped with supervision screens in each station and in the vehicles. A user-friendly and complete man/machine interface ensures a comfortable driving. The maintenance teams have all the information they need to perform maintenance and upkeep of the funicular.

Key figures


2 . 5

million people transported per year

Funicular’s speed

4 . 5

meters per second


4 2 1  

meters for 116 meters of altitude difference