It looks like a string of giant hamster wheels, but the world’s steepest funicular railway is being hailed for its revolutionary design.
The cabins on the 52 million-Swiss franc ($52.6 million) funicular in the Swiss alpine resort of Stoos resemble rotating drums that keep passengers level as the gradient changes.
The 1,720-meter track runs from the valley floor near Schwyz to car-free Stoos, which sits on a lofty plateau beneath the Fronalpstock mountain at 1,300 meters (4,300 feet) near Lake Lucerne.
The track, which travels through the mountainside for part of its journey, rises 743 meters along gradients as steep as 110%.
Each of the four cabins can carry 34 people at a speed of 10 meters per second.
The line replaces an older funicular which had been in operation since 1933.
“After 14 years of planning and building, everyone is very proud of this train,” said Ivan Steiner, a spokesman for the railway, which opened to the public Last year.
The previous steepest funicular was the Gelmerbahn, with a gradient of 106%, which climbs to the Gelmersee lake in the Bern region of Switzerland.
Stoos is a family-friendly destination for holidays and excursions, located in Schwyz, in the heart of Central Switzerland, high above Lake Lucerne. This small, car-free winter and summer resort is an attractive place for all kinds of sporting activities or just relaxing away from the noise of traffic and hustle and bustle.
The village of Stoos is set in a delightful alpine landscape at the foot of the Fronalpstock mountain, on a sunny alpine plateau of the same name at about 1300 m. Stoos is reached by funicular railway via Schlattli (from Schwyz on the road to Muotathal) or from Morschach by cable-car. The little village, with its hotels, holiday apartments and group accommodation is an ideal holiday destination for families: special amenities for children such as children’s menus, playgrounds, entertainment and childcare are an important priority here.
The nearest mountain is the Fronalpstock (1922 m), reached by cable-car and chair-lift. From this imposing viewpoint (where there is overnight accommodation), there is an impressive panoramic view of ten lakes, down to Brunnen and over to the Rütli, Pilatus, Rigi, Säntis, the high Alps and the central lowlands as far as the Jura.
Summer visitors will find attractive routes for hiking, strolling and climbing among varied alpine flora and fauna. There are a number of routes for mountain bikers. On the way you can enjoy tasty specialities from local alpine cheese-makers at the two inns in Laui and Tröligen. There are four marked Nordic Walking Trails of varying degrees of difficulty to encourage followers of this fashionable sport. After their exertions on their bikes or in their walking boots, visitors to Stoos in July and August can freshen up in the idyllic heated swimming pool in the middle of the forest.
You can discover the diversity of Central Switzerland by taking a boat ride on Lake Lucerne, a walk along the “Swiss Path”, an excursion to the Swiss Holiday Park in Morschach or to the zoo at Goldau. Klingenstock-Fronalpstock Ridge Walk
(a demanding walk – only suitable for sure footed hikers with a good head for heights)
Go up the Fronalpstock by mountain railway or by ascent from Stoos via Welesch, Bödmeren and Oberfeld. Then proceed along this beautiful ridge walk via Furggeli, Huserstock, Nollen and Rot Turm to the Klingenstock. Continue by foot or by rail from Klingenstock back to Stoos. Walking time is 4-5 hours. (Excluding ascents and descents 2-3 hours)
How to get to Stoos
The trip is just under 2 hours from Zurich main station to Stoos (train to Schwyz and bus to the Stoos funicular is the most direct option You will find).
We recommend lunch at Sternegg Restaurant. Phone(00941418111322), location : ringstrasse 42, Stoos 6433, Switzerland)
If you aren’t skiing there isn’t much to do here except eat, so a day trip is perfect for most people. You will see the entire town in a 10 minute walk. 🙂
The main access point is the newly crowned world’s steepest funicular. It feels more like an elevator honestly!
Note that due to the rotating barrels of the funicular you get no real view looking up the mountain (so look behind you and enjoy the view on the way up).