Mountain Railways

1850 - 1900

From the second half of the nineteenth century, numerous rack railways were built in Switzerland, including the one that is now the steepest in the world, with a maximum incline of 48%. This is the Pilatus railway, named after the mountain that towers over Lake Lucerne. It was designed by the engineer Eduard Locher and opened in 1889. 

Treno merci a vapore della Ferrovia del Pilato ad Alpnachstad, 1889 - © FFS Historic
Salita al Monte Generoso - © Ferrovia Monte Generoso SA

Great things are done when men and mountains meet

William Blake  

Veduta invernale della vetta del Monte Generoso © Ferrovia Monte Generoso SA

Canton Ticino is also home to a rack railway (narrow gauge) that is still in operation today: the Monte Generoso railway. It was built at the behest of the doctor and politician Carlo Pasta and opened in 1890. The train departs from Capolago, on Lake Lugano, and climbs 9 km up to the top of the mountain. 

Stazione di Capolago - © Ferrovia Monte Generoso SA
Bellavista - © Ferrovia Monte Generoso SA