By Ben Jones
AN EXTRAORDINARY new railway opened in central Switzerland on December 17, combining daring engineering with cutting-edge technology.
The Stoosbahn, near Schwyz, climbs at a maximum gradient of 110% from its valley station to the car-free mountain ski village of Stoos, providing an essential link for residents, tourists and freight.
Remarkably, the two bespoke vehicles, built by CWA in Olten, are designed to provide level access and accommodation at all times, housing passengers in four panoramic barrels that rotate to compensate for the gradient of the track between the two level stations.
The railway is claimed to be the steepest funicular in the world – in comparison, the world’s steepest rack railway, the nearby Pilatusbahn, has a maximum gradient of 48%.
The Stoosbahn climbs 744m from the valley station to the village centre in just 1,740m, including 261m on bridges and 580m in three tunnels, taking four to five minutes, dependent on load.
Read more in the March 2018 issue of The RM – on sale February 7!Enjoy more of The Railway Magazine reading every month. Click here to subscribe.