From the longest railway tunnel to the steepest cogwheel railway, Switzerland is a tiny country of superlatives.
And just in time for Christmas, anther stunning record has been added to the Swiss rail system: The steepest funicular to ever climb a Swiss mountain!
The Stoos funicular can negotiate a 110 percent gradient with ease.
High above Lake Lucerne lies Stoos, a car free village with about 150 residents. We have been there because it is a perfect vantage point to climb Fronalpstock, a lesser known peak in Switzerland's central region. These days, the Stoos region has added some serious swag that will want the rest of us to go there asap...
From the valley floor near Schwyz, a brand new funicular is taking tourists to Stoos in a breeze. It leaves the valley about every 30 minutes and the ride takes three to five minutes. As for the length of the track, it is 1740 meters - yet the difference in altitude is a staggering 744 meters!
That's a gradient of 110 percent, blasting the previous Swiss record of Gelmerbahn with 106 percent of incline. (The world's steepest funicular with an incline of 122 percent is down under at Katoomba Scenic World.)
Now, put your thinking hat on for the following explanation on how gradients are calculated.
Imagine that for every 100 meters of horizontal distance, the Stoos funicular will negotiate 110 meters of altitude. But how is it physically possible for passengers not to tumble over, you ask? The engineers came up with a clever solution of barrel shaped wagons that rotate along with the driving train. No matter how steep the slope, passengers remain standing in a horizontal position.
Call it a technological marvel or just another funicular. Either way, we are stoked about this one-of-a-kind vehicle and will report back with pictures and videos of our first trip on the new to Stoos funicular...
Stoosbahnen AG, Stoosplatz 1, 6433 Stoos
+41 (0)41 818 08 08
(Photographs copyright Stoosbahnen)