Stoosbahn funicular railway, touted to be the steepest in the world, has been opened for business in Switzerland.
Swiss company Implenia, along with its partner Vetsch Klosters, built the three railway tunnels and track.
The Implenia-Vetsch consortium won the contract in summer 2013.
The railway track is 1,760m long, with a height difference between top and bottom of about 745 metres.
The biggest challenge was the construction of three tunnels and track with gradients of up to 110%. Construction of the track was completed in summer 2017.
The three tunnels were created from top to bottom with the drill and blast method using a drilling device developed especially for the project.
The raise-drill technique was used for the two lower tunnels, with a hole drilled through the entire length of the tunnel prior to blasting.
During the subsequent drilling, the excavated material was taken to the valley through this channel, for reuse by Standseilbahn Schwyz-Stoos.
The steep terrain posed a formidable challenge in terms of health and safety. The new Stoosbahn opened for business, two years later than originally planned.
There was a disagreement between the Implenia-Vetsch consortium and Standseilbahn Schwyz-Stoos about the reasons for the delay, and this was resolved in the last few days following negotiations between Standseilbahn Schwyz-Stoos chairman Thomas Meyer and Implenia CEO Anton Affentranger, avoiding a court case.
Affentranger said: “We’re proud to have realised this unique project for Standseilbahn Schwyz-Stoos AG.
“We would like to thank our employees and our partners for this extraordinary achievement. They have made the dream of a world record come true. We congratulate the Stoosbahn and wish the railway all the best for the future.”
Meyer said: “We’re delighted with the great worldwide media interest, and very pleased that we can now transport guests right into the heart of the Stoos summer and winter sports area with the new railway. And I should mention that the current conditions for winter sports are outstanding.”