ASME-Landmark:Giessbach Funicular


Designed by Carl Roman Abt and built in 1879, the Giessbach Funicular was the first single-track cable car for use on steep inclines, employing a short passing track at the half-way point that allowed the two cars to pass each other. The passing track used turnouts with no moving parts—also known as "Abt switches"—for safe and reliable operation. Wheels with outside flanges on one car and inside flanges on the other guided the cars through the turnout and around one another. The mid-way turnout allowed for the system's single-track construction, which reduced the size of the track structure and made the Giessbach Funicular more economical than earlier funiculars that operated on two tracks. The chassis for the Abt passing loop were installed in 1891 and are still in use today.

The funicular was also the first Swiss funicular to be built specifically for the transport of tourists, and today, it is still used at the Grandhotel Giessbach in Brienz, Switzerland, to transport passengers up and down the slope between the Alpine resort and Lake Brienz. The funicular has a length of 345 meters over a vertical distance of 104 meters, with a maximum gradient of 32%. Its two wooden cars, each with a capacity of 40 passengers, date from 1879, and while it was originally operated by water ballast, the funicular is now electrically operated. A single journey takes two minutes. See ASME website for more information