ABB drives and motors for record-breaking cable cars in Europe

Our drives and motors power the world’s steepest funicular in Switzerland and a new cableway at Germany’s highest mountain

I’m proud to be part of an ABB team that is helping to break new world records! Our motors and drives are powering two new cable cars in the mountains of Switzerland and Germany. In December 2017, the world’s steepest funicular started operating at Stoos, in the Swiss canton of Schwyz. And a new ultra-modern cableway has just started running on Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze, breaking three world records.

The Bavarian Zugspitze mountain cableway has a pendular – or hanging – cable car system. At 127 meters, its steel column is the tallest; with 1,950 meters it overcomes the highest elevation difference, and with a total run of 3,213 meters from base station to peak, it has the longest span. It can carry 580 passengers an hour – that’s nearly three times the capacity of the 50 year-old cable car it replaces.

Meanwhile, the futuristic-looking Stoos funicular, with circular designed carriages, runs at a speed of 10 meters per second on a gradient ranging from 0% to 110%. Its driverless carriages can carry 1,500 people each hour in each direction.

Yet, what makes me most proud is that behind these impressive modern exteriors are feats of engineering achieved by teams at ABB. The Stoos funicular has two custom-made high-performance motors that help to double the speed of the old railway. These motors – with a total output of 2.3 megawatts – power the funicular that requires a massive amount of energy it takes to start the moving at a steep gradient.

The Zugspitze cableway uses ABB drives and motors. Its gondolas climb up to 104 percent steep gradients to the top, requiring a powerful drive concept – specifically our ACS880 drives. Its valley station houses two ABB 800 KW three-phase AC

Our technology meets the Bayerische Zugspitzbahn operator’s need to run reliably and safely every day of the year, regardless of weather conditions

For ABB, the new cableway and funicular marks more than 40 years of trailblazing projects in the mountains using ABB motors and drives. We have built a reputation for our great technology that brings safe, reliable, energy-efficient transportation in the mountains.


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About the author

Morten Wierod

Morten Wierod is from Skien, Norway, and studied electrical engineering at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, where he received his master’s degree. Wierod joined ABB Automation Products as Area Sales Manager in 1998. He has had several managerial positions in various ABB Business Units. Wierod is Managing Director of ABB’s Drives business unit, part of the Robotics and Motions division.
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