GIS Hoists Integral to Construction of World’s Steepest Funicula


Swiss manufacturer GIS AG provided four 5t capacity electric chain hoists for installation on a unique rig during construction of a funicular railway that transports passengers from Schwyz to Stoos, a mountain village in the heart of Switzerland.

The €44.6m Schwyz-Stoos funicular (or Standseilbahn Schwyz-Stoos in German) features a maximum incline of 110% (47 degrees) and rises 744m in altitude over a distance of 1,740m. It boasts an automatic levelling system, ensuring that passengers remain standing on a horizontal surface during the trip in one of four barrel-shaped carriages. The railway’s official website and media reports refer to it as “the steepest funicular railway in the world”.

The track was laid by fellow Swiss company Rowa, a provider of logistics services for tunnels, railways, and other projects, which devised a configuration of hoists, rigged beneath its displacement machine. The four GCH2500/2NF hoists were integral to installation of the track sections and concrete railway structure. They were utilised individually and in multiple use depending on the varied shapes and sizes of load. The maximum load capacity of the machine was limited to 6.5t, however.

Lukas Bühlmann, of GIS, said: “The hoists were operated by bellybox remote control. Smooth running ensured exact positioning of loads, many of which were long and bulky. The hoists, which were designed for intensive, everyday use, completed lifting tasks reliably, despite being exposed to the elements in changing weather conditions.”

He added: “Actually, once rigged, the project didn’t place over exertion on our hoists. For example, they could connect to loads by the standard hooks and pick points were readily available, even when all four hoists needed to be employed at the same time. We were honoured to be associated with such a landmark project, although we are humble and modest as to our involvement; the project was a spectacular feat of construction and engineering in its own right.”

The railway has been operational since December 2017; three months after the GIS hoists completed a six-month stay on the project. It has taken winter sportspeople and hikers from the valley up into the mountain beauty spot. The automatic levelling system ensures passengers enjoy breathtaking views in complete comfort, despite the considerable slope variations.

Rowa’s displacement machine, which weighed 60t, travelled on a temporary rail structure to lay the track at a rate of 12m per day. The entire planning and building phase of the project spanned 14 years.

Picture: Stoosbahn_c_Ernst Immoos (5).jpg

Caption: The state-of-the-art railway rises 744m in altitude over a distance of 1,740m.
About GIS AG

GIS AG, based in Schötz, Lucerne, has been developing and manufacturing electric chain hoists for 60 years and sells them via its distribution partners worldwide.



Swiss Lifting Solutions

Luzernerstrasse 50

CH-6247 Schötz

T: +41 41 984 11 33

F: +41 41 984 11 44



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