Text and Photos Michel Azéma

Funiculars of Switzerland

Funicolare Piotta - Ritom

(photo Ritom SA 2003)

Since 1917 the lake of Ritom is used to collect the waters of the massif of Saint Gothard for the power station of Piotta. The power station was owned by the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB CFF FFS) and the produced electricity supplyed the great Saint Gothard railway line.

The funicular was built to help the construction of the pressure pipeline and, since 1921, opened to the public.

The Funicolare Piotta - Rittom is the steepest of the Swiss public funiculars (87,8 %). There is only one cabin decorated with Red and Blue colors of the canton of Ticino. Another particularity of this incline is that the power unit is located at the lower station, consequently the cable has to run alongside of the track up to the pulley of the upper station and then go down between the rails to pull the cabin.

The 1st July 2000, the funicular was sold to the Funivie Del Gottardo SA. di Airolo.

Since June 2003, the funicular is operated by a new company 'Funicolare Ritom SA'. The car has been repainted in red with a new logo.


Technical Datas

Type of funicular
Type of tracks
Lower station Piotta (1007 m)
Top station Ritom (1792 m)
Length 1369 m
Diff. of levels 785 m
Maximum Gradient 87,8 %
Speed 2,7 m/s
Gauge 1 m
 Time of a ride
12 '
 Number of cabins
Funicolare Ritom SA
CP 17
CH-6775 Ambri

Tel. +41 (0)91 868 3151
Fax +41 (0)91 868 3152



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Michel Azéma, Paris (France)
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