Hurricanes vs funicular !

Unterwasser, canton of St Gall, SwitzerlandIt was on February 27-28, 1990 and December 26-27, 1999 “Vivian” and “Lothar”, the two hurricanes, were respectively blowing at more than 200 km/h (124.3 miles/hour) over Switzerland!

After the hurricanes, the Swiss federal autorities were worried about the stability of the funicular Unterwasser-Iltios in the Toggenburg Valley… why this funicular in particular ? Because of the 0,80 meter gauge which was judged insufficient to ensure the stability of the cars in case of hurricanes.

It was decided to enlarge the gauge of the entire line, from 0,80 to 1 meter.
The iron bridges will be replaced, the rails will be removed and reinstalled over a new concrete base.

On April 14, 2005 the two old red cars have been transported to Gangloff Bern to be modified to be adapted to the new 1 meter gauge.

Modifying the old cars rather than installing modern new cars, it is the decision taken for economical reasons.

The funicular Unterwasser-Iltios will reopen on September 3, 2005.
The replacement of the old cars by modern ones is planed for 2012.

More informations on Jörg Walker site.

(Photo Heinrich Guettinger)

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