Product Idea |

Ascensor Da Bica

290 comments

Last Updated . Click "Updates" above to see the latest.

ASCENSOR DA BICA, otherwise know as The Bica Funicular is an elevator tram located near the centre of Lisbon, Portugal.

This small carriage has been an integral part of the city since 1892, firstly helping locals with ascending the steep streets of Lisbon and more recently entertaining tourists with a relaxing ride and, most importantly, adorable looks.

Many argue, that Ascensor da Bica is one of the most beautiful lanes in Lisbon, so when you decide to visit this beautiful city, do not forget to grab a few Pasteis de natas (a local delicacy) from a nearby café and head straight for this ride!!!
 


THE LEGO SET:

The presented set contains of the tram and custom scenery.

The cart has 773 pieces and is build out of 6 segments. It posed a serious challenge, as it had to be built on an angle of 20.5 degrees. I wanted the cart to look as close as possible to the original whilst also being functional (able to transport a lot of minifigures). I took extra care to make sure that everything is as stable and rigid as possible. It runs on standard LEGO tracks, and can be attached at any height of the street.

When it comes to the platform, I took a bit of creative freedom, as normally the carriages are tightly nestled between two rows of tenement houses. I had to carve one row out, so that the cart could be easily displayed, and charm everyone with it’s looks. The two buildings that serve as the background are painted in colours that you can find locally, so that a portion of the beautiful Lisbon is transferred to wherever the set currently stands. The scenery consists of 2224 pieces (together with the minifigs), bringing it to a total of 2997 pieces.

The set is 48 studs wide, 21 studs deep and 38 studs high (38,4 x 16,8 x 36,48 cm).

Even though the platform is three times as big as the cart itself, it was the latter that took far more time to design, so I hope that it ignites a small spark of passion and happiness in you, just like it does in millions of tourists visiting it every year.


 
REAL LIFE DESIGN:

Ascensor da Bica is a funicular (a cable railway) with two carriages permanently attached to a cable rope. This one is very unique though, as it looks exactly like the famous Lisbon trams, except the fact that it is skewed ;) It has three passenger compartments and holds 23 minifigur… *eghm*passengers. It’s roof is ‘decorated’ with a huge pantograph, that is almost as high as the cart itself.

Unlike traditional funiculars, Ascensor da Bica is powered by motors that are located on the carts themselves, not on the upper/lower station. Both carriages also serves as a counterbalance for one another.
 


HISTORY:

Originally the cars were designed to be operated using a system of water weights, but around 20 years later the local municipality introduced a plan to turn the lift electric. Unfortunately, during the renovation, one of the carts detached and came thumbling down, bringing the lower station to a state of complete destruction.

In 1923 the municipal council decided to rebuild the funicular, and in 1927 it became operational again, now with changed, familiar carts.


 
WHY WOULD ASCENSOR DA BICA BE A PERFECT SET?

I decided to recreate Ascensor da Bica with LEGO, because I believe it fits majority of LEGO lovers, while still bringing something new to the table.

Firstly, you can use this set as a standalone piece that decorates and lightens up your room, or incorporate it into your existing LEGO City, as the set can be easily attached and customized.

Secondly, it has a tonne of interesting building techniques – as I mentioned before – everything is built on an angle! The intricate pantograph and the power line also add something you do not encounter in many sets :).

Lastly, the set is based on a beautiful location that exists in real life. It can serve as a memory of a recent trip, or as an invitation to explore the stunning city of Lisbon for those who are yet to visit.
 


MY MOTIVATION:

The motivation is simple. The day I visited Lisbon I fell in love. Everything about this city pops. The attraction that I remember the most vividly though, are the yellow trams. Out of them all, I think that Ascensor da Bica is the most picturesque and that is why I decided to recreate it with LEGO.


 
MESSAGE TO YOU, HOPEFULLY A FUTURE SUPPORTER :D

If you managed to get this far through my ‘epopee’ of a description, I have to assume that Ascensor da Bica caught your interest xD. If so, I would be extremally thankful for a support and a potential follow. Make sure to comment any and all remarks, so that you too can have a say in the development of this set. The beauty of LEGO Ideas is that nothing is set in stone and everyone can chip in to form a fantastic result.

My words to you are - don’t be afraid to express yourself with LEGO pieces, consider visiting Lisbon (you won’t regret it) and, most importantly, have a wonderful day!

Take care!
Peter :)

Opens in a new window