18
Dec

2017

World’s Steepest Funicular Opens for Passenger Service in Stoos

Post by Gondola Project

Schywz-Stoos Funicular. Image by Pakeha.

We first found out about the Schywz-Stoos Funicular (German: Standseilbahn Schwyz–Stoos) five years ago when we went to visit friends in the small Swiss village of Stoos. After construction kicked off in July 2013, the long-awaited ropeway project has finally come to a completion.

The world’s steepest funicular has a route length of 1,704m and climbs a jaw-dropping maximum gradient of 110%/47.7°. For the technologists reading this post, it might be important to note that the Katoomba Scenic Railway is actually steeper with a 128% slope. However, some consider it an inclined elevator/railway as it does not have two counterbalanced vehicles that is found on funiculars.

Bottom station. Image by Pakeha.

Top station. Image by Pakeha.

Technical note aside, the Schywz-Stoos funicular is an incredible feat of engineering no matter how one might look at it. Built by Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group, the system can travel at speeds of 10 m/s and transport 1,500 persons per hour per direction. Starting at Schlattli (562m), the system travels to Stoos (1306m) in just 3-5 minutes.

The most fascinating feature, of course, is the eight futuristic 34-passenger cylindrical cabins (four cabins on two trains). The vehicles were designed to remain horizontal throughout the entire journey.

Funicular travelling up towards Stoos. Image by Pakeha.

Unlike standard funiculars which have graded vehicle compartments built alongside a set of stairs for boarding/alighting, this new funicular has an inclination adjustment system. This means passenger loading is completely level, helping ease access and comfort for passengers of all mobility levels. At the front of each train, a rotating platform has also been built to allow for freight delivery. Clear separation of passenger cabins and freight delivery will improve rider comfort.

While the funicular is primarily a recreational system for transporting visitors from Schywz to the tourist village / ski resort at Stoos, the new system doubles as a public transit line for the 150 locals living at the top. This is important as Stoos is a car-free town with restrictions on vehicular access.

The US$52 million (CHF 52 million) project was financed with funding from the federal government, canton, district and municipality (54%), capital shares (6%), and debt (40%). The final project price was a 17% increase from initial cost estimates due to stricter technical regulations, added civil infrastructure and longer construction time.

To celebrate this momentum occasion, locals in the region were offered free passes on Saturday while the public were offered discount prices on Sunday. For those who can’t visit the system in person, fear not, readers can now ride vicariously through YouTube on the many videos uploaded online. Enjoy! 🙂



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Comments

  1. How are the cabins kepts straight? I doesn't look like the simple suspended scheme used in the Innsbruck Hungerburgbahn at least, but that one was built by Leitner, so I guess Doppelmeyer had to come up with something else to be uniqueue.
  2. The cabins are kept level because there's an inclination adjustment system.