Over the weekend, Swiss president Doris Leuthard officially opened the world’s steepest funicular railway.
The track, which runs from Schywz to the Alpine resort of Stoos in central Switzerland, has a gradient of 111% at its steepest point, according to the company ABB which built the motors. This is 48 degrees, 90 degrees being vertical. The ride takes passengers from 557 metres to 1,300 metres, a climb of 743 metres.
The project, which cost CHF 52 million (US$ 53 million) and replaces an old system built in 1933, incorporates carriages that rotate as they climb. This rotation means passengers stay upright. Without this feature they’d end up on the carriage walls or hanging from them.
Saturday was reserved for locals before the railway opened to the public on Sunday.
The 1,720-metre journey takes 6 minutes and costs CHF 22 for a return trip. Swiss Rail half price passes can be used. Children 6 – 15 are half price and those under 6 are free.
A video of the full trip up is shown here.
Now Switzerland has the world’s steepest funicular and the world’s steepest cog (rack and pinion) train, the Pilatus in Luzern. Both have maximum gradients of 48 degrees.