A modern hotel, a modern transportation
- Hotel Imperial
A MODERN HOTEL, A MODERN TRANSPORTATION
The broken, hilly terrain around Hotel Imperial required at the time of its construction a more modern way of guest transportation than horse-pulled hotel omnibuses. Thanks to the influence of Lord Westbury, a construction of two funiculars was pushed through, and the funiculars were, along with the construction of a road, built by the already mentioned Alfred Schwalb. To avoid buying other lots and renovating many houses, he planned the entire funicular in a tunnel. The city council supported the project, because it did not disturb the appearance of the romantic hill close to Vřídlo (the Thermal Spring).
The famous Swiss engineer Emil Strub undertook the project; other specialists came from Italy, and initiated the construction at the Divadelní square in December 1905. The tunnel through the rock was thrust simultaneously from the top to the road above Nebozízek.
The entire 127 meter route of the funicular was one-rail with a turnout in the center. The operation was ensured by Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad) Electric Funiculars using two wooden carts with open platforms since May 10th, 1907. Back then, the funicular only worked in the summer. Unaltered, it worked until 1955. Then, its new owner (Dopravní podnik města Karlovy Vary) decided to renovate it. The entire machinery of the funicular was replaced during the reconstruction. The carts remained the originals until the year 1961, when the wooden boxes were replaced with metal ones. During another general reconstruction completed in the year 1987, the tunnel was fixed and a new cart supplied. Since then, the Imperial funicular is, as a part of the Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad) public transport, in operation in 15 minutes interval throughout the entire day.
The second funicular was launched in operation only a few days before the opening of the Hotel Imperial in June 1912. It was 126 meters long and its maximum slope achieved the record 570 per mille. This surface funicular survived both world wars, but was terminated in 1959 for bad technical conditions.