Things are stirring in the Bernese Jura!

Saint Imier - Mont Soleil (SMtS)

Things are stirring in the Bernese Jura! - Introduction

Last Automn 2003 and Spring 2004, in the Bernese Jura, two old funiculars were completely replaced and modernized!
The funiculars of Saint Imier and Ligerz were built with the same technology, both of them were composed of two counterbalanced cars moving a single track line with a passing loop. Both of them were about hundred-year-old and were at end's door... For economical reason, during the last years, both of them were operated with only one car and one conductor, the second cars did not take passengers and were only used as counterweight.
Today, the two funiculars of Saint Imier and Ligerz are both composed of one car moving on a single track without passing loop and a winch at the upper station.

(The photos of this article were taken in December 2003, Copyright Michel Azéma).


The funicular Saint Imier - Mont Soleil celebrated one's 100th birthday on August 8th, 2003.

The funicular Saint Imier - Mont Soleil celebrated its 100th birthday on August 8th, 2003, unfortunately it was stopped for one year! It was first opened on August 8th, 1903 during the booming watchmaking industry. The goal was to build sanitariums on the Mont Soleil and to access to the Franches Montagnes plateau.

It was built as a classical funicular with two counterbalanced cars running on a single track and a passing loop at half course. It was powered by electricity.

The funicular started to be in deficit in 1950 and in 1968 single carriage operations began to be used. The second carriage was used only in case of crowds.

In the end the operations definitively stopped on August 8th, 2002, on its 99th birthday!

In 2001 an association was created to save the funicular and the Saint Imier town council granted new credits to have a completely new funicular built, which would be modern, efficient and competitive.

The project was to make the line 20 meters longer, at the bottom and at the top, to facilitate access. The bottom and top stations were completely rebuilt. The main new characteristic of the project was to replace the two couterbalanced carriages with a single new car pulled by a winch. The passing loop was removed since it was not needed anymore by the single track

After more than 2 years of work, the new funicular was opened on November 13th, 2003.


The new Gangloff car at the top station (December 2003)

The funicular between 1937 and 2002:

The old Gangloff carriage at the old bottom station (May 1989)
Photo Funimag


The old Gangloff carriage at the old passing loop(May 1989).
Photo Funimag

The funicular between 1903 and 1937:

The first funicular at the beginning of the operations.
Collection Funimag


Map of the Bernese Jura, with the funiculars: St-Imier Mont Soleil, Ligerz, Biel-Magglingen, Biel-Evilard


Map of Saint Imier


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# Funimag 25 #

Saint Imier - Mont Soleil
- Presentation
- The funicular
- Technical Data

Ligerz - Tessenberg Bahn
- Presentation
- The funicular
- The carriage
- Technical Data

Game 25