From The Getty Museum to Lisbon’s Hills – The Future and The Past – Two Unique Ways to Transport People

The Getty Museum tram on video.

Lisbon’s Glória funicular on video.

CRUISING THE PAST looks at the Getty Museum tram and the Glória funicular in Lisbon.

Each of these unique ways to transport people climb a mountain. One is modern and the other old – but they share one thing in common – both are unique and an attraction in themselves.


The Getty Museum pilot-less tram ride offers guests to the Los Angeles museum an experience in itself.   It carries on a long tradition of a manner transporting people in an usual way.  The Getty is massive as the mountain on which it was constructed. It features supporting walls nearly as tall as the mountain. The Getty’s stone edifice and its towering juxtaposition evoke an emotion that you, the visitor, are a god, looking down on your creation?the L.A. basin.

With over 1.2 million people visiting The Getty annually, the state-of-the-art museum required parking facilities that could handle traffic unable to park in the limited space the mountain provides. Hovair (shuttle system), from Otis Elevator, created a tram for this unique project. The trains are designed to run automatically without an on-board operator. Each train is capable of making the 3,960-ft run in 3.62 minutes. The round-trip time, including passenger-transfer time, is 8.25 minutes. During peak period operation, the average passenger-waiting time is only 1.81 minutes. The shuttle cars ride on a suspension system. The terminal landings also contain large emergency buffers. Unlike a conventional elevator, the buffers consist entirely of frangible tubes. They are designed to absorb energy by deforming the tubes and, therefore, are only usable for one emergency stop.


The Glória Funicular (Elevador da Glória) is the most comfortable way to get to the interesting points of Lisbon located on the higher altitudes of the city and normally accessible only through the very steep streets. This funicular is the busiest one. It transports annually over 3 million people. Its 265 metres long route leads from the Bairro Alto district, from Sao Pedro de Alcântara, to the Praça dos Restauradores, and it has an average gradient of 18%. From the top of the trail extends the fabulous view over the city.

The Glória Funicular was opened to the public in October 1885.

At first it was designed as a water-powered system, then in 1886 it was replaced by a steam-power, and finally in 1915 it was electrified. In 2002 it was designated a National Monument.


About Michael L. Grace

MICHAEL L. GRACE is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. SNOOPY continues to be one of the most produced shows (amateur & stock) in America/Worldwide and has had long running productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in London's West End. There are over 100 individual productions every year. He has written movies for TV, including the award-winning thriller LADY KILLER, various pilots and developed screenplays for Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Besides co-writing and co-producing SNOOPY, he wrote and produced the one-man play KENNEDY. He produced P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD by pulitzer prize winning author James Kirkwood. He wrote the stage thriller FINAL CUT which had productions in the UK, South Africa and Australia. His one-man play, KENNEDY - THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH, was developed for HBO and has starred Andrew Stevens, Gregory Harrison and Joseph Bottoms. He has recently been involved in European productions with CLT-UFA, Europe's leading commercial television and radio broadcaster. He wrote MOWs THE DOLL COLLECTION, THE BOTTOM LINE and LAST WITNESS for German television. While in college and graduate school he worked as a foreign correspondent for COMBAT, the famous leftwing Paris daily, and as a travel writer. He visited more than 50 countries. He struggled as an actor, then joined the enemy and entered the training program at William Morris. He became a publicist and worked for Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, at Paramount and MGM. He followed with a brief stint as a story executive, working in the frantic horror genre period of the early 80s and wrote THE UNSEEN. He went onto write for episodic television and develop series pilots. He was a continuing writer on such series such as LOVE BOAT, PAPER DOLLS, and KNOTS LANDING. He developed screenplays for such major award winning directors as Nicolas Meyers, Tony Richardson and J. Lee Thompson. He has written for all the major networks and studios. He has been hired numerous times as a script doctor, doing many uncredited rewrites on TV movies and features. He is currently writing A PERSON OF INTEREST, a thriller novel, and, IT'S THE LOVE BOAT... AND HOW IT CHANGED CRUISING BY SHIP a non-fiction book dealing with how the hit TV series as a major cultural phenomenon and altered the style of cruising by ship. He was raised in Los Angeles. He attended St. Paul's, USC and the Pasadena Playhouse. He received a B.A from San Francisco State University where he majored in theatre arts and minored in creative writing. He is listed as a SFSU leading alumni. He also apprenticed at ACT - The American Conservatory Theatre. For a brief period he had intentions of becoming an Episcopal(Anglican) priest and attended seminary at Kelham Theological College in the UK. When "the calling" wasn't there, he left seminary and did graduate work at the American University of Beirut. He has guest lectured at USC, UC San Diego, McGill, Univ. of London and the Univ. of Texas on the business aspects of making a living and surviving as a writer, focusing on development hell, in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Grace is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild and former regional chairman of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He resides in Palm Springs.

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