Stoosbahn Funicular – Schwyz, Switzerland - Atlas Obscura
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Schwyz, Switzerland

Stoosbahn Funicular

The steepest classic funicular in the world glides along a dizzying incline. 

The world’s steepest classic funicular whisks passengers up and down a mountainside along a jaw-dropping 110 percent incline. From its base, it zooms skyward along the dizzyingly steep gradient, gliding through a blend of open air and tunnels before emerging at a quaint car-free village.

The Stoosbahn is a wondrous feat of engineering. Riders can climb inside one of its four barrels, where they’re treated to panoramic views of the surroundings. The futuristic cylinders rotate throughout the ride, slowly turning in a way that resembles the movement of beer barrels lined up one after another. This allows passenger cars to remain horizontal throughout their four-minute journey, even as the funicular tilts on its tracks along the slope.

The funicular opened in December, 2017, after 14 years of planning and building to replace its 84-year-old predecessor. It begins in Schwyz and ends in Stoos, a small alpine village perched atop a peak that boasts stunning views of region’s mountains and lakes. As the village is car-free, the funicular is the best way to reach it.

Because of the difficult terrain, construction workers faced multiple setbacks before finally bringing the innovative railway to life. Despite the difficult geography, officials still pushed for the funicular; an aerial gondola would be a poor substitute because the route passes through an active shooting range. Thankfully, they realized the prospect of possibly peppering passengers with stray bullets was a terrible idea.

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