Stoos Funicular



World’s Steepest Funicular Coming to Stoos

The Stoos Funicular. Image by Steven Dale.

I love when I stumble across these kind of things . . .

Over the weekend I was visiting some friends in the alpine village of Stoos – a village I’d never been to.

I figured there’d be some form of cable-propelled transit system we’d need to use in order to get up the mountain and sure enough there was – an old inclined funicular built by Von Roll.

These moments always hold a special degree of intrigue for me.

See, the thing about the cable industry is that there are roughly 20,000 installations in the world. Couple that with numerous industry mergers, acquisitions and bankruptcies over the last 30 years and you have a severe record-keeping problem.

Meanwhile, the handful of websites dedicated to the subject tend to be in different languages and aren’t great at sharing information. This presents a rather difficult problem in that dossiers of individual systems are almost non-existent. Even if you wanted to learn about every cable system in the world, you probably couldn’t.

On the flip side, it means there’s always plenty of mystery and anticipation which is always good for a curious spirit and inquisitive soul.

When I approach a system I’ve never seen before the inevitable question that races through my head is “will there be something interesting and/or useful about this one?”  More often than not the answer is yes. The flexibility, peculiarity and context specificity of cable systems means almost everyone has at least something interesting to say about it; some more than others.

So what’s so important about the Stoos Funicular?

It’s steep. Like as in, really, really, really steep. The picture above doesn’t really do it justice, but the effect of riding this thing is pretty overwhelming. Depending upon the degree of inclination, one feels as though one is about to fall forward out of one’s seat or leaning backwards at a precarious angle.

Befitting it’s age, it’s overall kind of thrilling, but not the most safe feeling trip in the world.

But that’s not what caught my eye.

What caught my eye is this:

Marketing materials for the new Stoos Funicular. Image by Steven Dale.

That’s a poster from the lower station of the Stoosbahn. Apparently, the old system is being replaced by the new one pictured above, – it looks like something wholly original.

According to Funimag, this new Garaventa-designed and built system will be the steepest 2 vehicle funicular in the world with a maximum gradient of 110%. That’s important because if you notice in the pictures above and below, the individual vehicle pods are hinged in such a way that the floors will remain horizontal at all times, no matter the vehicle’s degree of inclination.

You know you want to ride this right now. Image via Funimag.

In essence, this is the Doppelmayr-Garaventa group’s answer to Leitner-Poma’s Hungerburgbahn Hybrid Funicular technology – a very impressive project in it of itself.

The new Stoosbahn is due to open in 2013.

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