World’s steepest funicular rail line to open in Switzerland
Swiss engineering and technology have reached new heights with the opening of the world’s steepest funicular rail line.
The €44.6m Schwyz-Stoos funicular (Standseilbahn Schwyz-Stoos in German), which goes into public service on Sunday, has been hailed as a triumph of modern design engineering.
A level-adjusting function will allow the space-age-looking carriages, accessible to all users, to remain horizontal while speeding up the mountain at up to 10 metres a second.
It is due to be opened on Friday by the president of the Swiss federal council, Doris Leuthard, in the Alpine resort of Stoos, 1,300 metres (4,300ft) above sea level in central Switzerland.
The train, two lines of cylindrical carriages, resembling beer barrels, will allow passengers to remain upright at all times, even as they ascend – or descend – the 1,720-metre track, climbing or descending 743 metres along gradients as steep as 110% (47.7º).
It will run from the valley station near Schwyz into the mountain village of Stoos, population 100, about 30 miles (50km) south of Zurich.
Ivan Steiner, a spokesman for the railway, said the funicular replaced an older one that had operated since 1933. “After 14 years of planning and building, everyone is very proud of this train,” he said.
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