🚂 The 17 funiculars of French-speaking Switzerland

The funiculars in Western Switzerland


French-speaking Switzerland has many funiculars:

  • 14 funiculars are open to visitors
  • 3 funiculars are for private use only
  • 4 funiculars are missing

Most funiculars are built around the 1900s using hydraulic power and two carriages going up and down alternately and then electrified and automated from around the 1950s onwards, with the exception of the funicular in Freiburg, which retains for folklore purposes its wastewater for the traction of its funicular. The funiculars of Saint-Luc, Moléson and Neuchâtel are the only relatively recent ones; they are built in the 1990s and 2000s.

The funicular of Fribourg, the only means of transport in Europe using wastewater. The two connectors for linking up to the water network are clearly visible underneath the wagon.
The funicular of Fribourg, the only means of transport in Europe using wastewater.

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

The list of the 14 funiculars open to visitors by canton is as follows:

  • Vaud: 5
  • Valais: 4
  • Fribourg: 2
  • Neuchâtel: 3
  • Geneva: 0
  • Jura: 0

Not to be forgotten in French-speaking Switzerland is the remarkable funicular railway of Saint-Imier in the Bernese Jura called the Funisolaire, which allows you to climb the Mont-Soleil. This funicular is not in the area of the Torpille, which includes all of French-speaking Switzerland but without the Jura and the Bernese Jura.

Usefulness of funiculars


Funiculars in Western Switzerland can be used for a variety of purposes:

  • 🎢 Leisure
  • 👁️ Viewpoint
  • 🏃 Passenger transport
  • 📦 Freight transport (closed to visitors)
  • ⚔️ Military transport (closed to visitors)

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

The Riviera vaudoise and its 3 funiculars are a good example of funiculars designed only to get to a viewpoint and are clearly for tourist use. They were mainly built in the early history of funiculars between 1870 and 1900.

Some funiculars such as the one in Cossonay were built to carry passengers between one residential area and another with public transport.

Finally, funiculars designed solely to transport goods (Miéville and Châtelot) or for military purposes (Dailly-Savatan) are not open to visitors.

Funiculars are open to visitors


Sierre-Montana-Crans funicular VS


  • 🏆 Torpille’s ranking (max 3 ): ⭐
  • 🏗️ Construction: 1911
  • 👁️ View: Rive Sud vallée du Rhône
  • 📐 Track length: 4191 m
  • 🏳️ Start: Sierre Funi 539 m
  • 🏴 Finish: Montana Gare 1466 m
  • 💡 Curiosity: Fondation Suisse des trains miniatures
  • 🔗 Sierre-Montana-Crans Funicular
  • 🔗 Technical data

The funicular Sierre-Montana-Crans connects the town of Sierre in the Rhone Valley with the well-known ski resort of Crans-Montana. Built in 1911 and renovated in 1997, it is the longest funicular in Europe with a length of more than 4 kilometres.

The Sierre-Montana-Crans funicular departing from the starting station in Sierre. The access car park is located just below the station.
The Sierre-Montana-Crans funicular departing from the starting station in Sierre.

The route of the SMC funicular.

A video about the Sierre-Montana-Crans funicular.

Saint-Luc funicular VS


  • 🏆 Torpille’s ranking (max 3 ): ⭐
  • 🏗️ Construction: 1994
  • 👁️ View: Val d’Anniviers
  • 📐 Track length: 1274 m
  • 🏳️ Start: Saint-Luc 1680 m
  • 🏴 Finish: Tignousa 2180 m
  • 💡 Curiosity: Observatoire
  • 🔗 Saint-Luc Funicular
  • 🔗 Technical data

The Saint-Luc funicular is a funicular mainly used during the winter ski season on the Saint-Luc/Chandolin ski area in the Val d’Anniviers. It is also used in summer to go up to Tignousa from where you can go down by scooter or mountain bike. An astronomical observatory is located close to the arrival station and is called OFXB in honour of the Swiss helicopter pilot FX Bagnoud who died in the Sahara in 1986.

The car ascending the Saint-Luc funicular crossing the descending one.
The car ascending the Saint-Luc funicular crossing the descending one.

The route of the Saint-Luc funicular.

A video on the ascent and descent of the Saint-Luc – Tignoussa funicular.

Verticalp funicular VS


  • 🏆 Torpille’s ranking (max 3 ): ⭐⭐⭐
  • 🏗️ Construction: 1991
  • 👁️ View: Mont-Blanc
  • 📐 Track length: 1310 m
  • 🏳️ Start: Châtelard-Frontière 1125 m
  • 🏴 Finish: Barrage d’Emosson 1965m (via les Montuires 1825 m)
  • 💡 Curiosity: Barrage d’Emosson
  • 🔗 Verticalp funiculars
  • 🔗 Technical data

The Verticalp funicular links the village of Châtelard-Frontière to the Emosson dam. Verticalp comprises three different means of locomotion in succession:

  • Large funicular
  • Little train
  • Minifunic

The view of the Mont-Blanc massif from the little train is magnificent and, once at the summit, you will not miss the Emosson dam, one of the largest in French-speaking Switzerland. With its 87% gradient, the large Verticalp funicular has the steepest slope in the world with a two-car system.

The three attractions of Verticalp.
The three activities of Verticalp.

The route of the two Verticalp funiculars.

A promotional video about Verticalp.

Territet-Glion funicular VD


  • 🏆 Torpille’s ranking (max 3 ): ⭐⭐
  • 🏗️ Construction: 1883
  • 👁️ View: Bassin lémanique
  • 📐 Track length: 632 m
  • 🏳️ Start: Territet 387 m
  • 🏴 Finish: Glion 687 m
  • 💡 Curiosity: Gorges du Chauderon
  • 🔗 Territet-Glion funicular
  • 🔗 Technical data

The Territet Glion funicular takes you from Territet next to Montreux up to Glion. In Glion, there is a beautiful view over the eastern part of the Lake Geneva basin and the place is on the pretty pedestrian loop passing through the Chauderon gorges. Moving near the church of Glion, one can also enjoy the western view of the Lake Geneva basin.

Dating from 1883, the Territet Glion funicular is the oldest in French-speaking Switzerland. The Grandhotel Giessbach funicular in Brienz in the Canton of Bern is the oldest in Switzerland, having been put into service in 1879.

A new carriage in the golden colours of the Goldenpass next to a very old carriage used in the early days of operation.
A new carriage in the golden colours of the Goldenpass next to a very old carriage used in the early days of operation.

The view of the Villeneuve region from Glion. On the left you can see the Chillon castle below the motorway viaduct.
The view of the Villeneuve region from Glion. On the left you can see the Chillon castle below the motorway viaduct.

The route of the Territet – Glion funicular.

A video about the ascent of the funicular from Territet to Glion.

Mont-Pelerin funicular VD


  • 🏆 Torpille’s ranking (max 3 ): ⭐⭐
  • 🏗️ Construction: 1900
  • 👁️ View: Bassin lémanique
  • 📐 Track length: 1578 m
  • 🏳️ Start: Vevey-Plan 379 m
  • 🏴 Finish: Mont-Pelerin 806 m
  • 💡 Curiosity: Antenne Mont-Pelerin
  • 🔗 Mont-Pelerin funicular
  • 🔗 Technical data

The Mont Pelerin funicular links the town of Vevey to the village of Mont Pelerin via the Chardonne vineyards. It allows you to enjoy a beautiful view of the Lake Geneva basin.

The descending car of the funicular of Mont-Pelerin crossing the ascending car in the middle of the vineyard.
The descending car of the funicular of Mont-Pelerin crossing the ascending car in the middle of the vineyard.

The view from the café le Mirador at Mont-Pelerin.
The view from the café le Mirador at Mont-Pelerin.

The route of the Mont-Pelerin funicular.

A video on the ascent of the Mont-Pelerin funicular.

Les Avants – Sonloup funicular VD


  • 🏆 Torpille’s ranking (max 3 ): ⭐⭐
  • 🏗️ Construction: ???
  • 👁️ View: Pléiades et Rochers-de-Naye
  • 📐 Track length: 515 m
  • 🏳️ Start: Les Avants 976 m
  • 🏴 Finish: Sonloup 1156 m
  • 💡 Curiosity: Luge d’hiver
  • 🔗Les Avants – Sonloup funicular
  • 🔗 Technical data

The funicular of Les Avants connects the hill of Sonloup from which you can enjoy the view, on the East side, on the Rochers de Naye and the Dent de Jaman and, on the West side, on the Pléiades and the Lake Geneva basin. In winter, it is possible to take your sledge in the funicular and go down to Les Avants by taking the toboggan run on the snow-covered road.

The start of the Sonloup toboggan run on the snow-covered road.
The start of the Sonloup toboggan run on the snow-covered road.

The course of the funicular of Les Avants.

A video about the funicular.

Cossonay funicular VD


  • 🏆 Torpille’s ranking (max 3 ): –
  • 🏗️ Construction: ???
  • 👁️ View: –
  • 📐 Track length: 1219 m
  • 🏳️ Start: Penthaz 430 m
  • 🏴 Finish: Cossonay-Ville 563 m
  • 💡 Curiosity: –
  • 🔗 Cossonay funicular
  • 🔗 Technical data

The Cossonay funicular links Penthalaz, sometimes also called Cossonay-Gare (Cossonay train station), to Cossonay-Ville (Cossonay-City) in the canton of Vaud. It is a funicular that is used to transport passengers to connect the town of Cossonay to the SBB connection on the Yverdon-Lausanne line.

The car of the funicular of Cossonay managed by the Morges-Bière-Cossonay Region Transports. (MBC).
The car of the funicular of Cossonay managed by the Morges-Bière-Cossonay Region Transports. (MBC).

The route of the funicular of Cossonay.

A video about the Cossonay funicular.

Moléson funicular FR


  • 🏆 Torpille’s ranking (max 3 ): ⭐⭐
  • 🏗️ Construction: ???
  • 👁️ View: Région Gruyère, Moléson
  • 📐 Track length: 1351 m
  • 🏳️ Start: Moléson-Village 1100 m
  • 🏴 Finish: Plan-Francey 1520 m
  • 💡 Curiosity: Piste de Luge, Moléson
  • 🔗 Moléson funicular
  • 🔗 Technical data

The Moléson funicular links the village of Moléson in Gruyère to Plan-Francey. All year round, it is possible to continue to the top of the Moléson by taking the cable car. In winter, the funicular takes you to the top of the toboggan run.

The funicular track with the Moléson in the background. The latter is located at an altitude of 2002 metres.
The funicular track with the Moléson in the background. The latter is located at an altitude of 2002 metres .

The Moléson funicular track.

A video of the ascent of the Moléson funicular in winter.

Fribourg funicular FR


  • 🏆 Torpille’s ranking (max 3 ): ⭐⭐⭐
  • 🏗️ Construction: ???
  • 👁️ View: Vieille ville de Fribourg
  • 📐 Track length: 121 m
  • 🏳️ Start: Neuveville 552 m
  • 🏴 Finish: Saint-Pierre 608 m
  • 💡 Curiosity: Activités à Fribourg
  • 🔗 Fribourg funicular
  • 🔗 Technical data

The Fribourg funicular in the “Basse Ville” (part of the Fribourg old town) of Fribourg is the last funicular in French-speaking Switzerland to use hydraulic power to move its two carriages. Veritable historical monument, it has been preserved in its original state from the beginning of the 20th century. It is driven manually and uses the city’s waste water, a unique case in Europe.

The operating principle of the hydraulic funicular is as follows: The wagon at the upper station is loaded with water and becomes heavier than the wagon at the lower station, which causes it to descend. When the wagon arrives at the lower station, the wagon aims its water into the collector.

The Fribourg funicular is the shortest in French-speaking Switzerland.
The Fribourg funicular is the shortest in French-speaking Switzerland.

The route of the Fribourg funicular.

A video about the Fribourg funicular.

Écluse – Plan Funicular NE


  • 🏆 Torpille’s ranking (max 3 ): ⭐
  • 🏗️ Construction: ???
  • 👁️ View: Collégiale de Neuchâtel et Alpes
  • 📐 Track length: 391 m
  • 🏳️ Start: Écluse 435 m
  • 🏴 Finish: Plan 546 m
  • 💡 Curiosity: –
  • 🔗 Ecluse – Plan funicular
  • 🔗 Technical data

The Ecluse – Plan funicular is an urban funicular in the city of Neuchâtel. It connects the district of Écluse at the lakeside to Plan 100 metres above. From Plan, a belvedere provides a view of the city of Neuchâtel, including the castle and the collegiate church.

The view from Plan station. You can see the Neuchâtel castle in white and the two sharp towers of the collegiate church.
The view from Plan station. You can see the Neuchâtel castle in white and the two sharp towers of the collegiate church.

The route of the Ecluse – Plan funicular.

A video about the Ecluse – Plan funicular.

Fun’ambule funicular NE


  • 🏆 Torpille’s ranking (max 3 ): –
  • 🏗️ Construction: ???
  • 👁️ View: –
  • 📐Track length: 330 m
  • 🏳️ Start: Université 428 m
  • 🏴 Finish: Gare 474 m
  • 💡 Curiosity: –
  • 🔗 Fun’ambule funicular
  • 🔗 Technical data

The Fun’ambule funicular connects the university to the Neuchâtel SBB railway station. It is the last funicular built in French-speaking Switzerland. It is entirely underground and automated.

The yellow car of the Fun’ambule funicular at the upper station. The other car is red.
The yellow car of the Fun'ambule funicular at the upper station. The other car is red.

The route of the Fun’ambule funicular.

A video on the Fun’ambule funicular ascent.

Chaumont funicular NE


  • 🏆 Torpille’s ranking (max 3 ): ⭐⭐⭐
  • 🏗️ Construction: ???
  • 👁️ View: Alpes !!!
  • 📐 Track length: 2091 m
  • 🏳️ Start: La Coudre 517 m
  • 🏴 Finish: Chaumont 1087
  • 💡 Curiosity: Tour et Parc Aventure
  • 🔗 Chaumont funicular
  • 🔗 Technical data

The Chaumont funicular connects the Coudre district to Chaumont in the commune of Neuchâtel. From Chaumont’s upper station, you can climb to the top of the concrete tower, which offers a magnificent view of the entire Alpine chain. An orientation table allows the visitor to find the different mountains such as the Mont-Blanc or the Matterhorn.

The colourful funicular arrives at the upper station with the observation tower on the right.
The colourful funicular arrives at the upper station with the observation tower on the right.

The 180-degree view from the observation tower in Chaumont.
The 180-degree view from the observation tower in Chaumont.

The route of the Chaumont funicular.

A video on the descent of the Chaumont funicular.

Les Clées funicular VD


Les Clées funicular in the Vaud Jura connects underground the engine room of the power station to the control post below the village of Ballaigues . The funicular, which is 330 metres long, can be used as part of a visit to the Les Clées power station, which can be booked for around ten people.

Contact for the visit:

  • 📞 Phone: 021 802 93 05
  • 📧 Email: info.visite@energie-romande.ch

The funicular leading to the underground power station of les Clées. Photo: standseilbahnen.ch
The funicular leading to the underground power station of les Clées

Comparison table


FunicularsLes Avants - SonloupChâtelard
Verticalp I
ChaumontCossonayEcluse - PlanFribourgFun'ambuleMinifunic
Verticalp III
MolésonMont-PelerinSaint-LucSierre - MontanaTerritet - Glion
Link to attractionAttractionAttractionAttractionAttractionAttractionAttractionAttractionAttractionAttractionAttractionAttractionAttractionAttraction
Picturefuniculaire Les Avants - Sonloupfuniculaire Châtelard<br />
Verticalp Ifuniculaire Chaumontfuniculaire Cossonayfuniculaire Ecluse - Planfuniculaire Fribourgfuniculaire Fun'ambulefuniculaire Minifunic<br />
Verticalp IIIfuniculaire 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
Year of Visit2018201620182018201820182018201620172016201820182017
Ranking⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐0⭐⭐⭐0⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
WebcamsWebcamWebcamWebcamWebcamWebcamWebcam
Full Rate (Adulte) Roundtrip 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
TrackParcoursParcoursParcoursParcoursParcoursParcoursParcoursParcoursParcoursParcoursParcoursParcoursParcours
DepartureLes AvantsLe Châtelard-Frontière
Usine
La CoudreCossonay-GareNeuchâtel-EcluseNeuvevilleNeuchâtel-UniversitéPied de BarrageMoléson-Village
Parking
Vevey-PlanSaint-LucSierre FuniTerritet
Departure Altitude9761125517430435552428181511093891680539387
ArrivalSonlouples MontuiresChaumontCossonay-VilleNeuchâtel-PlanSt-PierreNeuchâtel-GareLac d'EmossonMoléson-Village
Plan Francey
Mont-PelerinTignousaMontana GareGlion
Arrival Altitude1156182510875635466084741965152080621801466687
Commissioning1910/20121920/20151910/1995/20071898?/1982/201418901899200119911998190019941911/19971883
Length5151310209112193911213302611351157812744 191632
Height Difference1806935701331106046140411417500927300
Max slope57%87%46%13%38.4%55%34%72.7%51.8%54%55%42.6%54.5%
RouteRectiligneRectiligneViragesRectiligneRectiligneRectiligneRectiligneViragesViragesViragesViragesViragesRectiligne
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
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
Vue⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐0⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PhotosPoint de vue depuis le funiculaire Les Avants - SonloupPoint de vue depuis le funiculaire Châtelard<br />
Verticalp IPoint 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 />
Verticalp IIIPoint 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.

Quel funiculaire visiter?


La Torpille suggests that you consult the comparative table below to choose which funicular to visit and the various associated curiosities. In short, 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): This is the most interesting funicular from a technical point of view since it operates as it did when it was built at the beginning of the 20th century with the hydraulic power of the town’s waste water.

The Chaumont funicular with the observatory.
The Chaumont funicular with the observatory.

Questions


Which are the fastest funiculars?

  • The fastest funiculars are those of Saint-Luc and Moléson with a speed of 10 m/s.

Which is the longest funicular?

  • The longest funicular is the one of Sierre-Montana-Crans with more than 4 kilometres of distance.

What is the oldest funicular in French-speaking Switzerland?

  • Le funiculaire le plus ancien est celui de Territet-Glion construit en 1879.

Which funiculars have a toboggan run?

  • The funiculars with a toboggan run are the Avants-Sonloup and Moléson funiculars.

Which funicular is completely underground?

  • The funicular Fun’ambule in Neuchâtel is the funicular that runs entirely.

Which is the most expensive funicular?

  • The most expensive funicular is the Verticalp funicular (Châtelard and Minifunic) with an adult price of 40 francs return.

Which funicular is the least steep in French-speaking Switzerland?

  • The least steep funicular is the one between Cossonay-Ville and Penthalaz in the canton of Vaud.

Which is the most authentic funicular?

  • The most authentic funicular is the one in Fribourg, which is the only one that still runs on water.

Which is the funicular with the best view?

  • The funicular with the best view is the one in Chaumont in the commune of Neuchâtel.

Which is the steepest funicular in French-speaking Switzerland?

  • The steepest funicular is the Châtelard with a gradient of 87%.

The Sierre-Montana-Crans (SMC) funicular in Sierre station.
The Sierre-Montana-Crans (SMC) funicular in Sierre station.

Funiculars closed to the public


Three funiculars are not open to the public in French-speaking Switzerland.

Châtelot funicular NE


The Châtelot funicular is used to transport loads as part of the Châtelot dam hydroelectric complex on the Doubs river at the French border. Built in 1952, it links the Torret power station (625 metres) to Planchettes (996 metres) over a length of 1092 metres.

The descent of the funicular leading to the Châtelot hydroelectric plant. Photo: standseilbahnen.ch
The descent of the funicular leading to the Châtelot hydroelectric plant.

Miéville funicular VS


The Miéville funicular, completely underground, is used to transport loads as part of the Salanfe dam hydroelectric complex. It has a significant maximum gradient of 94% for a length of 4 kilometres and was built with dynamite between 1947 and 1949. The difference in altitude between the two stations is almost 1,500 metres.

The steep slope of the Miéville funicular. Photo: letemps.ch
The steep slope of the Miéville funicular.

Dailly funicular VD


The Dailly – Savatan funicular connects the Dailly military fort (1256 metres) to that of Savatan (856 metres) in the Saint-Maurice area. It is about 500 metres long and entirely cut into the rock, with a maximum gradient of 102% and a journey time of about 10 minutes.

The funicular at Savatan station. Photo: fortins-jura.ch
The funicular at Savatan station.

The military forts of Dailly and Savatan are part of the heart of the fortress of Saint-Maurice, which was one of the three major fortresses of the “national reduction”, a system of retreat into the Alpine forts in the event of war. The forts of Dailly and Savatan are now militarily disused but unfortunately they are, like the funicular, not open to visitors.

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.

The departure of the Lausanne-Signal funicular at the time of its operation. Photo: notrehistoire.ch
The departure of the Lausanne-Signal funicular at the time of its operation.

A video on the Lausanne – Signal old funicular line.

Lausanne Ouchy (1877 – 1958)


The Lausanne Ouchy funicular disappeared in 1958 and was replaced by a rack railway. It was known as the “ficelle” (string) and connected the Flon district to Ouchy. This funicular used the waters of the Brêt Lake to operate its hydraulic system and thus make the two carriages go up and down alternately.

The rack-and-pinion train that replaces the “string”. It will in turn be replaced by the M2 metro in 2008.
The rack-and-pinion train that replaces the "string". It will in turn be replaced by the M2 metro in 2008.

A video about the funicular “la ficicelle” in 1959 when it was replaced by a rack railway.

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.

The funicular of Lausanne below the SBB train station. Photo: notrehistoire.ch
The funicular of Lausanne below the SBB train station. Photo: notrehistoire.ch

Cartography of funiculars in Western Switzerland


The following link shows the geographical location of the funiculars in French-speaking Switzerland.

map funiculars western switzerland

Funiculars in German-speaking Switzerland


The German-speaking part of Switzerland has many funicular railways, a list of which can be found on the Wikipedia website. However, two of them may be out of the ordinary.

  1.  Stoos funicular
  2. Gelmer funicular

Stoos funicular


The Stoos funicular railway in the Canton of Schwyz in central Switzerland, modernised in 2017, holds the record for the steepest gradient in Europe and is the second steepest in the world with a maximum gradient of 110%. Since its modernization, it has been equipped with swivel cabins so that the floor supporting the passengers always remains horizontal.

The Stoos funicular. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The Stoos funicular. Photo: Wikimedia CommonsA video about the construction of the new funicular railway in Stoos.

Gelmer funicular


The Gelmer funicular in the Bernese Oberland also has a very steep gradient of 106%, making it the third steepest funicular in the world. It allows tourists, with no roof, to enjoy a particularly impressive moment on the descent.

The Gelmer funicular without roof. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The Gelmer funicular without roof.
A video on Gelmer funicular.

Funiculars in the world


What is the steepest funicular in the world?


Contrary to what is often written, the Stoos funicular in the Swiss canton of Schwitz is not the steepest funicular in the world. It is surpassed by the 128% or 52 degrees of the funicular at the “Scenic World” amusement park in Katoomba. The town is located in the province of New South Wales in Australia.

The dizzying slope of the Katoomba funicular. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
The dizzying slope of the Katoomba funicular.

A video about the world steepest funicular railway in Australia.

What are the three steepest funiculars in the world?


  1. 🥇 Katoomba Funicular, New South Wales Province, Australia, 128% gradient.
  2. 🥈 Stoos funicular, Canton Schwitz, Switzerland, 110% gradient.
  3. 🥉 Gelmer funicular, Canton Bern, Switzerland, 106% gradient.

Which country has the most funiculars in the world?


  • Switzerland has the largest number of funicular railways in the world, with around 50 funiculars open to visitors. The canton of Berne alone has 14 funiculars.

Which city has the most funiculars?


  • The Chilean city of Valparaíso on the Pacific Ocean is the city with the most funiculars in the world, with 15 lines spread over the many hills surrounding its bay. These funiculars have been classified as historical monuments and are the emblem of Chile’s second largest city.

A funicular called locally “elevator” departing from the bay of Valparaiso where the largest port in Chile is located. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
A funicular called locally "elevator" departing from the bay of Valparaiso where the largest port in Chile is located.

  • In Europe, the city of Naples in southern Italy holds the record for the number of funiculars with 4 units.

What is the most serious funicular accident?


  • The most serious funicular accident occurred in 2000 in Kaprun, Austria. The Kaprun funicular is used to reach the Kitzsteinhorn glacier. The accident claimed the lives of 155 people who died of asphyxiation as a result of a fire in a tunnel in the middle of the route. After the accident, the funicular was no longer used to transport passengers.

What is the longest funicular railway in the world?


  • The Sierre-Montana-Crans funicular seems to be the longest funicular in the world with more than 4 kilometres in length

What is the shortest funicular in the world?


  • The shortest funicular in the world is 66 meters long and is located in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia.

The Zagreb funicular has a journey time of less than one minute. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
The Zagreb funicular has a journey time of less than one minute.

Which is the funicular with the highest passenger throughput?


  • The Montjuïc funicular in Barcelona has a maximum capacity of 8,000 passengers per hour per direction of travel.

The Monjuïc funicular built for the 1992 Olympic Games has two 400-seater carriages. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
The Monjuïc funicular built for the 1992 Olympic Games has two 400-seater carriages.

Which is the oldest funicular in operation?


  • The oldest funicular in the world still in service is the one in Budapest, Hungary, built in 1870. It was destroyed by bombing during the Second World War and was put back into service in 1986.

The Budapest funicular. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
The Budapest funicular.

  • The funicular in Lyon linking Rue Terme and Boulevard de la Croix-Rousse was built before the one in Budapest in 1862, but it no longer exists and was converted into a road tunnel in 1968.

The old funicular of Lyon at Terme Street. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
The old funicular of Lyon at Terme Street.