After 14 years of planning and construction, the world’s steepest funicular railway has opened to the public in Switzerland. The cliff railway runs from the town of Schwyz to the car-free Alpine village of Stoos.
To ensure that passengers stay upright on the incline, specially constructed cylindrical carriages were used as the funicular climbs at a gradient of 110% (47.73 degree incline) at its steepest point. Learn more about this engineering marvel in the video embedded below, along with additional photos and facts about the brand new ‘StoosBahn’.[Sources: BBC, standseilbahnen.ch]
The StoosBahn took 14 years to build – two years longer than scheduled – at a cost of 52m Swiss francs (US$53m). The height difference is 744 meters (2,441 ft), the length of the track 1,740 meters (5,709 ft) and the journey takes approximately 4 minutes. [source]
Each of the two cars holds 136 passengers and weighs a whopping 27 tons. It has 4 cylinders on each car for every 34 passengers in each cylinder.
In both stations, the car is horizontal. While driving, the cylinders rotate and adjust to the slope. The passengers are always level thanks to the automatic leveling system, even at the maximum gradient of 110%. [source]
With a 47.73 degree incline (110%), the Stoosbahn is the world’s steepest funicular with diverter and 2 cars. The public inclined lift of the Scenic World Blue Mountainsin Australia reaches as windlass with a car 52 degrees / 128%. In Switzerland, too, there are non-public funicular railways (winching trains with a car), which are steeper than the Stoosbahn. [source]