Wonderful Engineering

World’s Steepest Funicular Rail Line Opens In Switzerland

(Source: The Guardian)

Switzerland is now home to the world’s steepest funicular rail line. The Schwyz-Stoos funicular, which goes into public service this Sunday,  had a cost of $52.6 million. This new rail line is a triumph of modern engineering design,  and has taken Swiss engineering to new levels.

The funicular rail has a level-adjusting function that will allow the carriages to remain horizontal while moving up and down the mountains at 10 m/s. Doris Leuthard, the president of the Swiss federal council is due to open it on Friday in the Alpine resort of Stoos, 1,300 meters above sea level.

The passengers will be able to remain completely upright during the journey. The total length of the track is 1,720 meters, and 743 meters of this track has gradients as high as 110%. The track runs from the valley station near Schwyz into the mountain village of Stoos, having a population of 100, about 30 miles south of Zurich.

(Source: The Guardian)

The world’s steepest funicular rail line is replacing an older line that had operated since 1933. “After 14 years of planning and building, everyone is very proud of this train,” said Ivan Steiner, a spokesman for the railway.

“The Gondola Project” is a website dedicated to cable-propelled transport systems. The scheme had faced a number of challenges before the work began officially. It also faced a number of hold-ups even after construction began in July 2013.

“Designers analyzed 15 different options before selecting the existing route alignment and technology,” wrote its website. “The Stoos funicular is designed with an inclination adjustment system. This means that the four 34-passenger rotating cabins on each train remain horizontally level throughout the journey.”

(Source: The Guardian)

The traditional approach for an aerial gondola funicular was ruled out because it would have had to pass through an active shooting range. The title of world’s steepest funicular rail line previously belonged to the Gelmerbahn funicular at Bern, which has a maximum gradient of 106 %.

Check out this video for more details: