Text and Photos Michel Azéma

Funiculars of Switzerland

SMC - Sierre - Montana - Crans

(Photo Michel AZEMA May 1998)

 Big event in the Funiculars world, since December 16 th 1997 the funicular Sierre-Montana-Crans is completely renovated and the two sections have been reunified into one section!

The funicular was first built in 1911 to link the city of Sierre, in the Rhône valley, and the Crans-Montana-Vermala resort.

The distance between Sierre and Vermala is around 4 kilometers, a very long distance for a funicular, a too long distance because of the weight of a 4 km length cable. To solve this problem it was decided to build two concatenated funiculars to form two sections. A special station was built at Saint-Maurice-de-Laques for the transfer of the passengers between the two funiculars.

This configuration was used between 1911 and 1997. Between the 1st April 1997 and the 16th December 1997, the funiculars were stopped and completly renovated.

The main reason is that, with the 2 funiculars and the transfer, the time of a course was about 30 minutes. Now with the new SMC it takes only 12 minutes for the same course without any transfer!

By the way, the reunification of the 2 funiculars in one section make the new SMC the longest funicular of Switzerland (4192m)!


Technical Datas

Type of funicular
Type of tracks
Type of energy
Bottom station
Sierre (Siders) (540 m)
Top station
Montana Vermala (1471 m)
4192 m
Difference of levels
931 m
Maximum Gradient
48,4 %
1 m
8 m/s
 Study, making, realization
 Cabins making
 Gangloff, Bern
 Frey AG, Stans
Compagnie de Chemin de Fer Sierre-Montana-Crans
Case Postale 362



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