The Sunegga Funicular Railway

The Swiss have a long and formidable history of tunneling. Two examples: the railway to the Jungfraujoch (opened in 1912) tunnels its way through the North face of the Eiger. The 21-mile Lötschberg Base Tunnel between Bern and Visp (opened in 2007) is the longest land tunnel in the world and replaces a slower underground rail line.

IMG_5743By comparison, the Sunegga underground funicular railway in Zermatt is a minor achievement, although at the time it opened in 1980 it was a genuine innovation in tourist transport systems to install an entire funicular railway underground.

In recent years it was beginning to look drab and out-dated, and it has now undergone a complete re-fit in the last year. It is now much smarter, quieter and has a higher capacity. The Funicular can now carry 2750 skiers an hour up to the Sunegga, Blauherd and Rothorn ski area.

IMG_5778It was the graphics that grabbed my attention on the sidewalls of the station tunnel as you see here. Photographing the train itself, crowded with skiers while grasping my own skis and poles, was a little beyond me.



About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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10 Responses to The Sunegga Funicular Railway

  1. ShimonZ says:

    Beautiful photographs. I am aghast at the thought of 2750 skiers.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Shimon. The good news is that they are not all on the one train! About 200 per train – despite the improvements skiers squeeze in to transport like cattle into trucks. It’s a necessary evil to get to Nirvana!

  2. oneowner says:

    2750 an hour? Wow! But it is striking.

    • LensScaper says:

      Yeah – sounds a huge number. 200 per train or thereabouts. It was really quite a quiet week surprisingly so the trains were not desperately busy. There was room to breathe!

  3. Pete Buckley says:

    Been on this – thankfully not with 2750 other people! Some great walks from the top in summer.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Pete. It’s a big improvement. I’ve been up there many times in summer two. There’s a fantastic walk up past Fluhalp and over the top of Spitzi Flue down into Taschalp. One of my favourite pistes is the Fluhalp piste from the top of the Rothorn down to Gant in the Findeln valley. We had a fantastic week out there skiing.

  4. Great images, Andy – I really like how you abstracted this contemporary design. Besides I hope you had a great trip to Zermatt – and some great skiing of course.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Otto. We had a fantastic week. Six days of blue skies – superb skiing, although the snow softened significantly lower down in the afternoons. There are a number of posts from Zermatt to view, with more to come if you are interested.

  5. Len says:

    I had no idea about the length of some of these underground transits Andy. Pretty amazing and to transport almost 3,000 skiers an hour is mind boggling. Nicely captured images.

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