Those who suffer from acrophobia now have another reason to fear this vertically-inclined planet. After fourteen years in production, the world’s steepest funicular tram——the Stoosbahn—is now complete.
Connecting the town of Schwyz to the mountain village of Stoos in Switzerland, the €44.6m tram (approximately $52.55m) travels 1,300 meters above sea level at a dizzying incline of 110%.
While this may initially seem like bad news for those who fear heights, the tram incorporates a level-adjusting function to keep passengers feeling, well, safe. This feature rotates the carriages and allows passengers to enjoy the ride at a normal horizontal angle without fear of seeing where their soft, squishy body will make contact with the hard ground in case something goes wrong.
Two lines of spherical carriages make up the Stoosbahn tram, with each sphere holding up to 34 passengers. This design choice might have been to make the death-defying tram look less intimidating and more like a ride at Disneyland.
The Stoosbahn moves at a speed of 10 meters per second and covers a total distance of 1,738 meters (of which 744 of those meters are vertigo-inducing). The previous record holder of the steepest funicular tram is the Gelmer Funicular in Bern, Switzerland (those Swiss people must sure love their heights) which features an incline of 106%.
This new Stoosbahn replaces its older brother—an engineering marvel erected back in 1933. If you’re wondering why the tram is a funicular instead of a traditional aerial gondola, this is because it passes through an active shooting range on the way to the top. I guess the locals didn’t want to add “accidental misfire” to the list of risks for passengers.
The tram takes four minutes to complete a run from top to bottom and operates every day from 7:05 to 19:40 (it also operates on Friday and Saturday evenings). You can see more of the tram’s specifications and how it cheats the elements here.