FUNICULARS IN FRENCH-SPEAKING SWITZERLAND

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THE 14 FUNICULARS IN FRENCH-SPEAKING SWITZERLAND


French-speaking Switzerland has 14 funiculars open to the public and located mainly in Valais, on the Vaud Riviera or in Neuchâtel. Funiculars were mainly built around 1900 using hydraulic power and two cars climbing and descending alternately and then electrified and automated in the 1950s, with the exception of the Fribourg funi, which kept for the traction, its waste water for folklore. The funiculars of Saint-Luc, Moléson and Neuchâtel are the only relatively recent ones, they were built in the 1990s and 2000s.

In French-speaking Switzerland, the cantons of Geneva and Jura do not have a funicular railway. The reasons for this are that Geneva does not have enough slope while the Jura, which gained its independence only in 1979, did not have the advantages that the Vaud Riviera offered in terms of landscape and investors.

Not to be forgotten is the remarkable Saint-Imier funicular railway in the Bernese Jura called the Funisolaire, which allows you to climb on Mont-Soleil. This funicular is not in the Torpille team visiting area, which includes all of French-speaking Switzerland but excludes the Jura and Bernese Jura.

USEFULNESS OF FUNICULARS


Funiculars in French-speaking Switzerland can be used for different purposes:

  • Leisure activities
  • Point of view
  • Passenger transport

Leisure funiculars are mainly used for skiing in winter but also work in summer for mountain bikers or hikers as is the case for the two recent funiculars in Moléson and Saint-Luc.

The Vaud Riviera and its 3 funiculars are a good example of funiculars designed only to get to a point of view and are clearly for tourist use. They were built mainly in the early days of funicular railway history between 1870 and 1900.

Finally, some funiculars were built to carry passengers between a residential area and one with public transport.

THE DISAPPEARED FUNICULARS


Four funiculars in French-speaking Switzerland have disappeared since their construction at the end of the 19th century.

Territet – Mont-Fleuri (1883-1992)


The Territet-Mont-Fleuri funicular was taken out of service in 1992 due to a lack of profitability. Its departure station was located close to that of the Territet – Glion funicular. The funicular tracks have not been removed. In 2014, discussions are underway regarding its rehabilitation or permanent decommissioning.

The rails of the Mont-Fleuri funicular have been abandoned since 1992.
The rails of the Mont-Fleuri funicular have been abandoned since 1992.

Lausanne Signal (1899-1948)


The Lausanne Signal funicular linked the Vallon to Sauvabelin in the heights of Lausanne where the tower and the park are located. It is abandoned for lack of profitability. There are still some vestiges today, in particular the departure station.

Lausanne Ouchy (1877 – 1958)


The Lausanne Ouchy funicular disappeared in 1958 and was replaced by a rack railway. It was known as “la ficelle” (the string) and connected the Flon district to Ouchy.

The Lausanne-Ouchy rack railway that replaced the “la ficelle”. It is itself replaced by the M2 metro.
The Lausanne-Ouchy rack railway that replaced the "la ficelle". It is itself replaced by the M2 metro.

Lausanne Gare (1879 – 1954)


The Lausanne funicular disappeared in 1954 and was replaced by a rack railway. It operated from Flon to the station in parallel with the Lausanne Ouchy line.

WHICH FUNICULAR RAILWAY TO VISIT?


We suggest you consult the comparative table below to choose which funicular to visit and the various associated sights. La Torpille clearly recommends the following three funiculars:

  • Chaumont (NE): It offers an exceptional view of the Alps.
  • Verticalp (VS): It includes 2 funiculars and a small train with a magnificent view of Mont-Blanc and access to the Emosson dam.
  • Fribourg (FR): It is the most interesting funicular from a technical point of view since it operates as it was when it was created at the beginning of the 20th century with the hydraulic power of the city’s waste water.

Some other particularities of the funicular railways in French-speaking Switzerland:

  • The fastest funis: Saint-Luc and Moléson
  • The longest funi: Sierre-Montana-Crans
  • The oldest funi: Territet-Glion
  • The funi with a sled run: Les Avants-Sonloup
  • The funi entirely underground: Fun’ambule
  • The most expensive funi: Verticalp (Châtelard and Minifunic)
  • The least steep funi: Cossonay
  • The funis without particularity: Mont-Pelerin and Ecluse-Plan
  • The most authentic funi: Fribourg
  • The funi with the most beautiful view: Chaumont
  • The steepest funi: Châtelard

COMPARISON TABLE


FuniculairesLes Avants - SonloupChâtelard
Verticalp I
ChaumontCossonayEcluse - PlanFribourgFun'ambuleMinifunic
Verticalp III
MolésonMont-PelerinSaint-LucSierre - MontanaTerritet - Glion
Lien vers activitéActivitéActivitéActivitéActivitéActivitéActivitéActivitéActivitéActivitéActivitéActivitéActivitéActivité
Photofuniculaire Les Avants - Sonloupfuniculaire Châtelard<br /><noscript><img src=funiculaire Chaumontfuniculaire Cossonayfuniculaire Ecluse - Planfuniculaire Fribourgfuniculaire Fun'ambulefuniculaire Minifunic<br /><noscript><img src=funiculaire Molésonfuniculaire Mont-Pelerinfuniculaire Saint-Lucfuniculaire Sierre - Montanafuniculaire Territet - Glion
Cantonpetit drapeau du canton de Vaud Vaudpetit drapeau du canton du Valais Valaispetit drapeau du canton de Neuchâtel Neuchâtelpetit drapeau du canton de Vaud Vaudpetit drapeau du canton de Neuchâtel Neuchâtelpetit drapeau du canton de fribourg Fribourgpetit drapeau du canton de Neuchâtel Neuchâtelpetit drapeau du canton du Valais Valaispetit drapeau du canton de fribourg Fribourgpetit drapeau du canton de Vaud Vaudpetit drapeau du canton du Valais Valaispetit drapeau du canton du Valais Valaispetit drapeau du canton de Vaud Vaud
Année de visite2018201620182018201820182018201620172016201820182017
Ranking2/33/33/30/31/33/30/33/32/32/31/31/32/3
WebcamsWebcamWebcamWebcamWebcamWebcamWebcam
Plein Tarif aller-retour adulte 201810.0040.00
(2 funis et 1 petit train)
8.407.404.305.804.3040.00
(2 funis et 1 petit train)
variable11.2016.0026.4010.80
ParcoursParcoursParcoursParcoursParcoursParcoursParcoursParcoursParcoursParcoursParcoursParcoursParcoursParcours
DépartLes AvantsLe Châtelard-Frontière
Usine
La CoudreCossonay-GareNeuchâtel-EcluseNeuvevilleNeuchâtel-UniversitéPied de BarrageMoléson-Village
Parking
Vevey-PlanSaint-LucSierre FuniTerritet
Altitude Départ9761125517430435552428181511093891680539387
ArrivéeSonlouples MontuiresChaumontCossonay-VilleNeuchâtel-PlanSt-PierreNeuchâtel-GareLac d'EmossonMoléson-Village
Plan Francey
Mont-PelerinTignousaMontana GareGlion
Altitude Arrivée1156182510875635466084741965152080621801466687
Mise en service1910/20121920/20151910/1995/20071898?/1982/201418901899200119911998190019941911/19971883
Longueur5151310209112193911213302611351157812744 191632
Dénivelé1806935701331106046140411417500927300
Pente Max57%87%46%13%38.4%55%34%72.7%51.8%54%55%42.6%54.5%
TracéRectiligneRectiligneViragesRectiligneRectiligneRectiligneRectiligneViragesViragesViragesViragesViragesRectiligne
ExploitantGolden PassVertic’Alp EmossonTransNMBCTransNTPFTransNVertic’Alp EmossonGolden PassFuniculaire Saint-Luc / Chandolin SASMCGolden Pass
Lignes ConnexesLes Avants: Gare des Avants du MOBChâtelard: Gare de Châtelard-Frontière du Mont-Blanc ExpressLa Coudre: BusCossonay Gare: Gare CFF de PenthalazEcluse et Plan: BusNeuveville et St-Pierre: BusGare: Gare CFF de NeuchâtelMoléson-Village: BusVevey-Plan: Gare CFF de Vevey FuniSaint-Luc: BusTerritet: Gare CFF ligne Villeneuve - Lausanne
Voitures2212222222222
Ecartement des voies100010009881000100012001600900100010501000
ConstructeurVon RollVon Roll/ Garaventa (Renovation)Von Roll, CWAVon Roll / Garaventa (rénovation)Von Roll / CWAGaraventaNiederbergerVon RollVon Roll DoppelmayrGaraventaGaraventa, Frey, GangloffNiklaus Riggenbach
Nombre d'arrêts2222422226283
Temps Trajet minenviron 510964212101039
Diamètre du cable tracteur35 mm19 mm26 mm15 mm38 mm37 mm
Vitesse m/s35?4.54182.5104108
TractionAmontAmontAmontAmontAmontAmontAvalAmontAmontAmontAmontAmontAmont
Auto/ManuelAutomatiqueAutomatiqueAutomatiqueAutomatiqueAutomatiqueManuelAutomatiqueAutomatiqueAutomatiqueAutomatiqueAutomatiqueAutomatiqueAutomatique
EnergieElectriqueElectriqueElectriqueElectriqueElectriqueHydrauliqueElectriqueElectriqueElectriqueElectriqueElectriqueElectriqueElectrique
Voyageurs par voiture60
366/h
7147
300/h
3920
240/h
12610
280/h
90
1200/h
81
1200/h
120
Wagons HistoriquesOuiNonNonNonNonOuiNonNonNonNonNonNonOui mais pas en circulation
Données techniquesverticalp-emosson.ch
remontees-mecaniques.net
wikipedia.org
funimag.com
remontees-mecaniques.netfunimag.comseilbahn-nostalgie.chverticalp-emosson.ch
wikipedia.org
notrehistoire.ch
remontees-mecaniques.netwikipedia.org
Site WebSite WebSite WebSite WebSite WebSite WebSite WebSite WebSite WebSite WebSite WebSite WebSite WebSite Web
Vidéo YoutubeVidéoVidéoVidéoVidéoVidéoVidéoVidéoVidéoVidéoVidéoVidéoVidéoVidéo
ExploitationAnnéeEtéAnnéeAnnéeAnnéeAnnéeAnnéeEtéAnnéeAnnéeAnnéeAnnéeAnnée
UtilisatationTouristiqueTouristiqueTouristiqueTransportTransportTransportTransportTouristiqueTouristiqueTouristique / TransportTouristiqueTransportTouristique / Transport
CuriositéPiste de luge en hiverBarrage d'EmossonTour d'observation
Parc Aventure Chaumont
AucuneAucuneCathédrale de Fribourg
Gorges du Gottéron
AucuneBarrage d'EmossonTéléphérique du Moléson
Piste de Luge d'hiver
Antenne du Mont-PelerinObservatoire FX BagnoudAucuneGorges du Chauderon
Point de VuePléiades-Rochers de Naye -Bassin Lémanique partielMassif du Mont-BlancAlpesCollégiale et château de Neuchâtel.
Vue sur les Alpes.
Vieille ville de FribourgMassif du Mont-BlancRégion Gruyère - MolésonBassin LémaniqueVal d'AnniviersBassin Lémanique
Vue2/31/33/31/31/31/30/33/32/32/32/31/32/3
PhotosPoint de vue depuis le funiculaire Les Avants - SonloupPoint de vue depuis le funiculaire Châtelard<br /><noscript><img src=Point de vue depuis le funiculaire de ChaumontPoint de vue depuis le funiculaire de CossonayPoint de vue depuis le funiculaire Ecluse - PlanPoint de vue depuis le funiculaire de FribourgPoint de vue depuis le funiculaire Minifunic<br /><noscript><img src=Point de vue depuis le funiculaire de MolésonPoint de vue depuis le funiculaire Mont-PelerinPoint de vue depuis le funiculaire de Saint-LucPoint de vue depuis le funiculaire Sierre - MontanaPoint de vue depuis le funiculaire Territet - Glion
RemarqueMachinerie d'origine visible à Sonloup.Première étape de Verticalp qui comprends un petit train et Verticalp II.Sentier du Temps en descendant.Automatique depuis 1922.Actionné par le poids des eaux usées dans la voiture qui descend.Entièrement souterrain.
1 voiture rouge (Maxime) et une voiture jaune (Léa).
Troisième étape de Verticalp qui comprends d'abord Verticalp I et un petit train.Téléphérique menant au sommet du Moléson.Antenne du Mont-Pelerin à 1 heure 20 de marche.Observatoire FX BagnoudPlus long funi d'Europe.

PRIVATE FUNICULARS IN FRENCH-SPEAKING SWITZERLAND


Two funiculars from French-speaking Switzerland are used to transport loads as part of a hydroelectric complex. At Le Châtelot in the canton of Neuchâtel, the funi is used to go down from Les Planchettes to the power plant and in Valais to go underground up from the Mieville power plant to the Salanfe dam. Another private funicular is for military use and connects, entirely in the rock and with a steep gradient, the fort of Dailly to that of Savatan in the Saint-Maurice region.

FUNICULARS IN GERMAN-SPEAKING SWITZERLAND


German-speaking Switzerland has many funiculars, a list of which can be found on the Wikipedia website. However, two of them may be out of the lot. The Stoos funicular in the canton of Schwyz in central Switzerland, modernized in 2017, holds the record for the steepest slope in the world with a maximum gradient of 110%. The Gelmer funicular in the Bernese Oberland also has a very steep slope of 106% and allows tourists, with no roof, to enjoy a particularly impressive time on the descent.

The Stoos funicular. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
The Stoos funicular The Stoos funicular

Gelmer’s funicular without a roof. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Gelmer's funicular without a roof.

Videos of the funiculars


Stoos Funi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXjvUinHXh0
Châtelot Funi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nkdy7NVuw8
Miéville Funi: https://vimeo.com/132352065
Gelmer Funi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqfOuWxsPQw