Although the Niesenbahn runs on steep rails, it has no cogwheels. A cable connects two railway carriages and is deflected by two pulleys. So it’s a funicular railway, or better two, because the 3,499 m long line is divided into two sections. Two carriages run on the Mülenen-Schwandegg section and another two carriages between Schwandegg and Niesen Kulm.
The maximum gradient is 66% on the first section and even 68% on the second. The rising tracks leave one or two guests with a queasy feeling. But safety is guaranteed at all times. On the one hand, the tensile strength of the wire rope is designed for a load eight times higher, on the other hand, several automatic brakes on the wagon and machines monitor the ride. In the unlikely event that the cable breaks, the safety brake on the wagon brings it to a standstill after only one metre, even under full load.
Over 100 years of the Niesenbahn
26 August 1906 was the first working day for the construction of the funicular railway up the Niesen. By 1910, an average of over 200 men were working on this demanding structure. At that time, neither cranes nor helicopters were available. An auxiliary construction made of wood and the manual labour of the workers made this difficult construction possible. On 15 July 1910, the Niesenbahn opened for business and the first guests were transported up the Niesen.
|Valley station Mülenen||693 metres|
|Middle station Schwandegg||1669 metres|
|Mountain station Niesen Kulm||2336 metres|
|Niesen summit with viewing platform||2362 metres|
|Travel time Mülenen – Niesen Kulm||30 minutes|
|1. Section||2. Section|
|Funicular length||2111 metres||1388 metres|
|Gradient||max. 66 %||max. 68 %|
|Travel time||14 minutes||12 minutes|
|Wire rope load capacity||80 tons (8-fold safety)||80 tones|