Mt. Pilatus is located near the incredibly picturesque town of Luzern, Switzerland. The summit, 2128m (7022ft), is reach either by cable car or cog railway. The railway is considered to be the steepest of its kind in the world with a maximum gradient of 48%.
The project was first conceived in 1873 and was to have a maximum gradient of 25%. However, this project was shelved as it was deemed not to be economically viable. Eduard Locher proposed an idea which would increase the gradient to 48% degrees and as well as shorten the distance of line to be built by half. The secret to his plan was to replace the more traditional vertical cogwheel, that pressed the rack from above with 2 horizontal cogwheels with teeth facing inwards on either side of the rack.
The line was opened using steam power on 4th June 1889 and then electrified on 15 May 1937.
The railway was built with no government subsidy and thus entirely with private capital through “Locher Systems”.
Today the line is 4.6km (2.86mi) and climbs a vertical distance if 1629m (5344ft). The line still uses the original tracks after more than 100 years. While they have worn down it was discovered simply by turning them over another century of use is possible.
A must see on any visit to Luzern