Zurich – The world’s steepest funicular railway went into operation this weekend in the Swiss Alps. Travelling between Schwyz and Stoos, it can overcome a slope gradient of 110 per cent. The funicular is powered by ABB electric engines.

The Schwyz-Stoos railway went into operation on Saturday and was opened to the public at a ceremony on Sunday. Covering a distance of 1,700 metres from the Schlatti lift station in the canton of Schwyz to the ski area of the Stoos mountain station, it can overcome a slope gradient of 110 per cent. The high-tech railway is not only used to transport tourists – it also looks after the basic provisions of the entire infrastructure for Stoos and the car-free village with its 150 inhabitants.

The drum-shaped passenger cabins are designed in such a way that they constantly compensate for the changing inclination. This allows the cabins to always remain horizontal despite the extremely steep slope.

The new funicular railway is powered by electric engines from the Zurich-based technology group ABB. “The railway requires an exceptionally high amount of energy to start up because the route at both the lift station and the upper station ascend at the beginning,” explained Ueli Spinner, head of Corporate Customer Sales and Service at ABB.

The funicular railway travels at a speed of 10 metres per second and can carry up to 1,500 passengers per hour in both directions. Each trips lasts up to five minutes.

“In comparison with the old railway, this means a doubling of speed and transport capacity,” added Spinner.

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