The last funiculars of Montafon

Voralberg, Austria

Text and photos by Michel AZEMA
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In September 1994 after visiting the Golmerbahn I was back to Schruns and I took a postal bus to Partenen to visit the Vermuntbahn which is at the end of the Ill valley.
The picture on the left is exactly the first vue of the Vermuntbahn I saw ! As you see on the photo on the left side of the pressure pipeline there are some pylons. The Vermuntbahn was closed, definitly closed. The Voralberger Illwerke AG was dismantling the funicular and was building an aerial cable way.
That's what often happens, the aerial cable way is the predator of funiculars. But on that day I felt very bad because I am quite sure that the funicular was used to build and erect the pylons.

Note also the rough profile of the line with the concavities.

The Vermuntbahn was built in 1928 and the hydroelectric power station of Vermunt-Partenen was in use in 1930. This power station was the first built in the Austrian Alps. After that the funicular was used for public transportation. At the top of the ligne (Trominer station 1732 m) there was a small train which transported the passengers to the Vermunt dam on line with a lot of tunnels. Unfortunatly for severals years the train was replaced by a bus.
Note that the maximum gradient of the Vermuntbahn was 85,6 %!

An old photo showing the Vermuntbahn during public transportation.
Note that the car is an open platform of the same type of those of Golmerbahn. The passengers were all facing down to the valley.

A general vue of the line with the siding and the new pylons just fixed in the ground.

A pastoral vue of the Vermuntbahn.
This photo is very interesting because it shows the lowest concavity of the track beside the double pressure pipelines and on the left the portico with aerial rollers.

The same photo as above but showing how the portico prevents the cable not to be too much raised up by the concavity of the line.
This kind of portico was also used on the first section of the Golmerbahn, and also at Le Châtelard-Emosson (CH) and other funiculars along pressure pipelines.

Detail of the portico with the aerial rollers. Note also the the normal rollers (between the rails)

Details of the track in September 1994. Workers were cutting up the rails with blowtorches. Note the pieces of rail laying out on the stairs.

General vue of the Vermuntbahn during its dismantling.
The pylons of the new aerial cable way.

The power station of Partenen and the construction of the new lower station of the aerial cable way.
Note, on the left just before the black pipelines, the funicular track which was abruptly cut.
Type of funicular
Type of tracks
Lower stationPartenen (1030 m)
Upper stationTrominier (1730 m)
Diff. of levels700 m
Length1453 m
Gradient (maximum)85,6 %
Gradient (medium)55,4 %
Gauge1 m
Speed1,25 m/s
Time of a ride19 mn
Number of cabin2 open platforms
Passengers per Cabin34
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Copyright © 1996 by Michel Azéma, Paris (France)
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