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World's Steepest Funicular Railway Opens in Switzerland

Image: World's Steepest Funicular Railway Opens in Switzerland

The new Stoos Bahn, which claims to be the steepest funicular railway in the world, stands on its rails prior to the opening ceremony after five years of construction, Friday, Dec 15, 2017, in Stoos, Switzerland. (Urs Flueeler/Keystone via AP)

By    |   Friday, 15 Dec 2017 03:26 PM

The world’s steepest funicular railway, the Schwyz-Stoos funicular, opened Friday in Switzerland after a 14-year planning and building process.

The train replaces an older one from 1933 and is built so that its barrel-shaped cabins rotate, keeping passengers horizontally level as they travel through the mountains at as much as a 110 percent gradient in some spots, The Guardian reported. Each cabin holds 34 passengers.

The project cost $52.6 million and carries passengers from the valley of Schwyz to the alpine resort at Stoos, which sits at 4,300-foot elevation near Lake Lucerne. The track is nearly a mile long and travels through part of the mountainside.

Although it is being opened Friday, the railway will see its first service on Sunday, The Guardian reported.

The previous record for steepest funicular railway was the Gelmerbahn funicular at Bern with a gradient as steep as 106 percent.

“Designers analyzed 15 different options before selecting the existing route alignment and technology,” according to The Gondola Project, a website detailing cable-propelled transport systems.

An aerial gondola system was rejected because it would have passed through an active shooting range, the Gondola Project reported. Merely modernizing the existing system was also rejected because Stoos residents don’t drive cars and a shutdown to renovate would greatly inconvenience them. 

“After 14 years of planning and building, everyone is very proud of this train,” railway spokesman Ivan Steiner said, CNN reported

Twitter users were captured by the novelty of the funicular railway and wanted to ride it.

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The world's steepest funicular railway opened Friday in Switzerland. The Schwyz-Stoos funicular took 14 years to plan and build.
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Friday, 15 Dec 2017 03:26 PM
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