Text and Photos Michel Azéma

Funiculars of Switzerland

Funicular Polybahn

(photo Michel Azéma May 1990)
On the top of the Zürichberg hill is the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETHZ) the Polytechnic School also called "Poly". In 1889 a short funicular railway was built between the Limmat river and the Polytechnic school. Between 1887 and 1897 it was operated with a water ballast counterweight.

In 1976, the funicular was bought by the UBS-SBG bank and in 1990 it was completely renovated with two new cabins but with the same old look.
It remains a real icon of Zürich.

Technical Datas





Type of funicular

Type of tracks


till 1897

Lower station Limmat Quai
Top station Höchschulen
Length 176 m
Diff. of levels 41 m
Average Gradient 23 %
Speed 2,5 m/s
Time of a ride 1,5'
Number of cabins 2 of 50 passengers each
SBG Polybahn AG
Bahnhofstrasse 45
CH - 8021 ZÜRICH


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Michel Azéma, Paris (France)
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