The Swiss cabriolet cable car

September 10, 2014, No comments

Cabrio top

It’s the world’s first double-decker open-air cable car, and it’s in Switzerland. That was enough to get me on a train to Stanserhorn to go and try it out. First stop Stans railway station, then a short walk to the cable car station itself. Then the surprise!

Cabrio old

The first part of the trip up to 1851m is in a historic funicular, the last surviving part of the original one that opened in 1893. The station and carriages are the still the same, though carefully restored, and the car trundles along gently uphill towards the modern base station. There it’s all change into the Cabrio cable car.

Cabrio view

What a difference the open top deck makes. No longer trapped in a glass cube sliding up the mountain, you can feel the wind in your hair and see the views so clearly, not least because there are no overhead cables. It feels a bit odd at first, especially climbing upstairs inside a cable car, but it’s truly wonderful.

Cabrio inside

Up at the top there’s a splendid panorama of Lake Lucerne right round to the Bernese Alps, best enjoyed from the summit that’s a short hike up from the cable car. And a restaurant that serves the best Älplermakkaroni I’ve had on any Swiss mountain top. And I’ve had a lot!

Cabrio mountains

In some ways it’s a shame the third, steepest section of the old funicular (it was up to 63% gradient) didn’t survive the fire in 1974, but this very hi-tech replacement more than makes up for it. And now you get the best of both worlds: vintage then modern.

The Cabrio cable car runs until 16 November, every half hour from 8am to 5pm, and Half-fare cards or GAs are valid for discounts. If you can’t make it, here’s a video of the ride up.


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