The line was opened on the 27 April, 1884 as a cable driven rack railway of the Agudio system. In this system a cable ran along the side of the track and passed around two large pulleys on the side of the cars, which in turn drove the cog wheels that propelled the train. After an accident, the line was converted to a conventional electric rack railway and re-opened on the 16th April 1935. Along the line the guides for the previous cables can still be found.
The line is 3.1 km (1.9mi) long, is of standard gauge, and overcomes a difference in height of 419 m (1375ft) with a maximum gradient of 20%. The line is electrified with a third rail at 600 volts. Trains carry up to 220 passengers to the summit in approximately twenty minutes. Although it does not run in the street, the line and its cars have some of the characteristics of a tramway, and the line is often referred to thus.
Three pure-rack engines are used. The depot has no rack, nor third electrified rail, thus the rack engines are shunted by a small electric locomotive fed by overhead wires. There is track connection to Turin's urban tramway network.