Text and Photos Michel Azéma

Funiculars of Switzerland

Ragaz - Wartenstein
St Gallen

(photo Michel Azéma September 1992)

In the south of the canton of Saint-Gall, the Tamina river goes down through a very narrow gorge, at Pfäfers, and flows into the Rhine river between Bad Ragaz and Maienfeld. The gorge of the Tamina in famous since the XIth century where an inaccessible hot spring was found in the middle of the gorge. The hot water had the properties to cure some illnesses. The baths of Pfäfers were well known during many centuries until the waters were collected and brought down to the valley at Bad Ragaz.

Pfäfers is located at 300 meters above Bad Ragaz; in 1892 a funicular was built to bring the tourists from Bad Ragaz to Wartenstein which is a promontory just before Pfäfers. From Wartenstein you have a wonderful view to the Rhine valley.

 The funicular was stopped in 1965 and today there are only some remains are visible:
- the bottom station is now transformed in an apartment building.
- the main relic a nice 80 meters curved viaduct with seven arches (see photo).
- a small 30 meters tunnel under the road.
- a second viaduct of 50 meters length with two arches.


Technical Datas


Type of funicular
Type of tracks
Length 790 m
Lower station Alt. Bad Ragaz 520m
Upper station Alt. Wartenstein 747m
Diff. of levels 227 m
Aver. Gradient 27%

 Max Gradient

 30,3 %



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Michel Azéma, Paris (France)
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