There’s a new funicular opening on 17 December 2017, which is said to be the steepest in the world, with a gradient of 110% at its steepest! The valley station for the new funicular has been built about 200 metres along the road from the valley station of the current funicular, and the new mountain station will be in the middle of the ski area. The current funicular runs on a different, less steep, course (steepest gradient 78%), and will be shut down at some stage.
The funicular travels from Schwyz to the village ski resort of Stoos. Getting to the valley station of the funicular in Schwyz takes about an hour from Luzern – train to Schwyz, then Bus #1 to the funicular station. As far as I can tell, the funicular is free with the Swiss Travel Pass, as are the train and bus to get to the valley station.
It’s an amazing-looking funicular, with four passenger cabins that look like giant yellow see-through barrels, which can accommodate over 130 people in each cabin! The trip will take about five minutes. There will be level access to the funicular, so it will be suitable for strollers and wheelchairs, as well as people with luggage or who have difficulties with steps. As the funicular travels up the mountain, the cabins will automatically rotate so that the floor stays level!
Here are an artist’s impression and an animation of what the new funicular will look like in operation:
Here’s a newspaper article about the new funicular. It’s in German, but there are some interesting pictures showing how they lifted the funicular cabins onto the track:
This is a panoramic map of the area. The thick green line shows the route of the current funicular. The black line to the left of it is the new one.
Although the new funicular hasn’t commenced operating yet, an identical cabin is already on display in the Verkehrshaus der Schweiz (Transport Museum) in Luzern, and you can get inside it.
If anyone is in the Luzern area some time from 17 December onwards, and has the chance to take a ride on this funicular, I would love to hear what you thought of it! I certainly hope to try it out on my next trip.