World’s steepest railway back in business with new rolling stock
Stadler and local Swiss operator Pilatus Bahnen have marked the start of operations of new rolling stock on the Pilatus Railway, the steepest rack railway for passengers in the world, near the city of Lucerne. Manufacturer Stadler has delivered new rack-and-pinion multiple units.
The 4.6-kilometre Pilatus Railway is a 130-year-old line in the Swiss mountains. It has an average gradient of 35 per cent, necessitating purpose-built rolling stock. The steepest section of the cogwheel Pilatus railway has a gradient of no less than 48 per cent. The line takes passengers on a scenic route to Mount Pilatus, also known as the dragon mountain, and terminates at the Pilarus Kulm hotel at 2,132 metres above sea level. During the ride, the train ascends 1,635 metres.
Stadler has provided rail cars in double traction as a replacement for the rolling stock from 1937. The cars can carry up to 46 passengers each. The units travel at a speed up 15 kilometres per hour, while the descent happens at speeds between 8 and 12 kilometres per hour.