Thunersee–Beatenberg Funicular

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Thunersee–Beatenberg Funicular
Type Funicular
OwnerNiederhornbahn AG
Operator(s) Verkehrsbetriebe STI
Line length1,689 metres (5,541 ft)
Number of tracks single track with passing loop
Track gauge 1,200 mm (3 ft 11 14 in)
Maximum incline 40%

The Thunersee–Beatenberg Funicular (German : Thunersee–Beatenberg Bahn; TBB) is a funicular in the Swiss Canton of Berne. It links a jetty, at Beatenbucht in the municipality of Sigriswil and on the shores of Lake Thun, to the village of Beatenberg, situated on the plateau above at 1,120 metres (3,675 ft) above sea level. [1]

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium and Liechtenstein. It is one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages that are most similar to the German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch, including Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Funicular an inclined railway in which a cable moves a pair of permanently attached cars couterbalancing each other along a steep slope

A funicular is one of the modes of transportation which uses a cable traction for movement on steep inclined slopes.

Switzerland Federal republic in Central Europe

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a sovereign state situated in the confluence of western, central, and southern Europe. It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities seated in Bern. Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. It is geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi), and land area of 39,997 km2 (15,443 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are located, among them the two global cities and economic centres of Zürich and Geneva.


At Beatenbucht, the funicular connects with shipping services, run by BLS AG , and bus services, run by Verkehrsbetriebe STI . Both shipping and bus services connect Beatenbucht to Interlaken and Thun. At Beatenberg, the funicular connects with the Seilbahnen Beatenberg-Niederhorn, a gondola lift which runs to the summit of the Niederhorn. [1]

BLS AG railway company in Switzerland

BLS AG is a Swiss railway company created by the 2006 merger of BLS Lötschbergbahn and Regionalverkehr Mittelland AG. It is 55.8% owned by the canton of Berne, and 21.7% by the Swiss Confederation. It has two main business fields: passenger traffic and infrastructure.

Verkehrsbetriebe STI (Steffisburg-Thun-Interlaken) is a bus operator in the Swiss canton of Bern. It is a private company based in the city of Thun, and operates bus services in that city, as well as routes linking Thun with the neighbouring towns and villages including the tourist hubs of Interlaken and Steffisburg.

Interlaken Place in Bern, Switzerland

Interlaken is a Swiss town and municipality in the Interlaken-Oberhasli administrative district in the canton of Bern. It is an important and well-known tourist destination in the Bernese Highlands region of the Swiss Alps, and the main transport gateway to the mountains and lakes of that region.


Postcard depicting a car of the Thunersee-Beatenberg funicular, with Niesen in the background. Stamped 1933. Beatenbergbahn Postcard.jpg
Postcard depicting a car of the Thunersee–Beatenberg funicular, with Niesen in the background. Stamped 1933.

The funicular was built in 1888 and 1889, and opened on 21 June 1889, by the Drahtseilbahn Thunersee–Beatenberg company. The funicular was converted to electric operation in 1911, and the following year it commenced year round operation. The onward connection to the summit of the Niederhorn by cable car was first opened, by a separate company, in 1946. [1] [2] [3]

The line was completely reconstructed between October 2004 and July 2005, and new modern style cars were provided. In 2014, the funicular and cable car companies were merged, to create the current Niederhornbahn AG company. In the autumn of 2016, a new motor and electronic control system was installed. [1] [2] [3]


The funicular has a length of 1,689 metres (5,541 ft) and overcomes a vertical distance of 556 metres (1,824 ft) with an average gradient of 34.6% and a maximum of 40%. The line comprises a single track of 1,200 mm (3 ft 11 14 in) gauge with a central passing loop. There is one intermediate stop, at Birchi. [1] [2] [3]

Grade (slope) tangent of the angle of a surface to the horizontal

The grade of a physical feature, landform or constructed line refers to the tangent of the angle of that surface to the horizontal. It is a special case of the slope, where zero indicates horizontality. A larger number indicates higher or steeper degree of "tilt". Often slope is calculated as a ratio of "rise" to "run", or as a fraction in which run is the horizontal distance and rise is the vertical distance.

Track gauge spacing of the rails on a railway track

In rail transport, track gauge or track gage is the spacing of the rails on a railway track and is measured between the inner faces of the load-bearing rails.

Passing loop short section of track that allows trains to pass on a single track route

A passing loop or passing siding is a place on a single line railway or tramway, often located at or near a station, where trains or trams travelling in opposite directions can pass each other. Trains/trams going in the same direction can also overtake, provided that the signalling arrangement allows it. A passing loop is double-ended and connected to the main track at both ends, though a dead end siding known as a refuge siding, which is much less convenient, can be used. A similar arrangement is used on the gauntlet track of cable railways and funiculars, and in passing places on single-track roads.

The two modern style cars each accommodate 90 passengers and operate at either 3.2 metres per second (10 ft/s) or 4.8 metres per second (16 ft/s), depending on demand. The journey time is either 10 or 6 minutes, depending on the speed selected, with cars operating every 20 minutes or more frequently. The line has a theoretical maximum capacity of 700 people per hour. [1] [2] [3] [4]

The line is owned by the Niederhornbahn AG and managed by the Verkehrsbetriebe STI . [3]

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Richard Green (2007). Railways in the Berner Oberland - Part 3. Today's Railways Europe: Issue 134: February 2007. Platform 5 Publishing Ltd.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Thunersee Beatenberg Bahn". Funimag. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 7 February 2007.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "Company". Niederhornbahn AG. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  4. "Timetable". Niederhornbahn AG. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 27 March 2019.

Coordinates: 46°41′11″N7°45′32″E / 46.6863°N 7.7590°E / 46.6863; 7.7590