World's steepest funicular railway opens in Stoos

Written by
Marcus Barnes

Way up there in the Alps a stunning railway line has opened, taking the title for 'world's steepest funicular railway' in the process. 

The incredible feat of engineering is located in the Alpine resort of Stoos, in the north-east of the country, 45-minutes drive from Lucerne. It cost CHF52 million and was officially opened by Swiss President Doris Leuthard on 15th December, with the public getting their first experience of the mind-boggling new railway a couple of days after the opening.

The line replaces an old system built in 1933 and runs from Schywz to the mountain village of Stoosexternal, which stands 1,300m above sea level. Designers at engineering firm ABB created the circular carriages so they can adjust their floors allowing passengers to remain stand upright while they climb towards the Alpine plateau at inclines of up to 110%.

It's not the only funicular here in Switzerland, there are lots more spectacular high-rise attractions up in the mountains, some of which are listed here.

The train follows a 1,720m track, climbing or descending for 743m and it reaches speeds of up to 10m per second with the entire trip lasting around six minutes, costing CHF 22 for a return trip. Swiss Rail half price passes can be used. Children 6 – 15 are half price and those under 6 are free.

Switzerland isn't short of exciting mountain attractions, in fact our guide here reveals many more Alpine treats. 

President Leuthard opened the funicular two years later than planned due to engineering and economic problems, though any issues were soon forgotten when the red ribbon was cut and the first strange-looking train carriage off up the mountain.

In her speech, the President praised the project’s organisers for their ingenious creation and their bravery. Many funiculars don't make any money, but President Leuthard said, "...the board, canton and the region believe in the future. I am convinced that this will pay off".

Watch a video of the funicular in action below...

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