Technology in the Swiss Alps is reaching new heights. Literally.
After 14 years of planning and building, the Swiss government and ABB unveiled the world’s steepest funicular railway in December, replacing the funicular that had been in operation since 1933.
The railway stretches 1,720 meters up into the Alpine mountain range to reach Stoos, a car-free village sitting at 1,300 meters (4,300 feet) above sea level. The incline travels nearly 750 meters along the mountainside at a gradient of nearly 48° (111%), and even goes through the mountain for a portion of the trip! The four cylindrical cabins rotate as the train climbs the mountain – that way the 34 passengers in each cabin always remain upright.
Powered by custom-made ABB motors, these motors make the difficult job of pulling people up the mountain look easy. This new motor carries 1500 people each hour up to the Swiss village at an average speed of 10 meters per second – that’s twice as fast as the old system.
Engineers hail the design as a revolutionary modern design; visitors love the beautiful view as they ascend into the Alps; and everyone feels secure knowing the powerful ABB motors will safely transport them up the mountain.
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