The world's steepest funicular railway opens in Switzerland

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By Katy Dartford
The world's steepest funicular railway opens in Switzerland

It may look like a white-knuckle fairground ride but this futuristic tram is the world's steepest funicular.

Swiss President Doris Leuthard officially opened the line which whisks passengers 1,300 metres above sea level to the mountain village of Stoos in central Switzerland.

It's barrel-shaped carriages adjust their floors so passengers can still stand upright while it climbs towards the Alpine plateau at inclines of 110 per cent.

Costing 52 million-Swiss francs (45 million-euros ) the line's arrival comes more than four years after the project began construction in 2013.

'After 14 years of planning and building, everyone is very proud of this train,' said Ivan Steiner, spokesman for the railway.

It replaces an older, dilapidated rail system which first began ferrying holiday-makers in 1933, but has now been surpassed by the abilities of modern technology.

The train follows a 1,720-metre track, climbing or descending 743 metres. 

Only accessible via the tram, the whole trip to the small, car-free resort of Stoos, located high above Lake Lucerne lasts only around four minutes.

The train's arrival has smashed the previous world record for the steepest funicular train, which was formerly held by The Gelmerbahn at Bern, also in Switzerland. That boasted a gradient of 106 per cent.