Monday, September 19, 2011

the former Virglbahn funicular, Bozen

In the Austrian region of Südtirol (South Tyrol, part of Italy since the end of WW1) this funicular was built to enable tourist access to a mountain peak above the town of Bozen (Bolzano in Italian).  The Virglbahn was closely associated with Sigismund Schwarz, a banker and a supporter of cable car systems in South Tyrol. The railway would increase passenger traffic to the Kohlererberg and thus the profitability of the restaurant operated there by Schwarz called "Hotel Virglwarte". Especially important in his forming this view was that at the same time, another lift from Bozen to the snack bar at Kohlerer was planned.

The Virglbahn was considered a masterpiece of engineering, particularly the steep gradient overcome. The railway was put into operation on 20 November 1907 several months before the Kohlernbahn. During WW2 the Virglbahn was destroyed; in 1957 it was replaced by an aerial cable car which was in operation until 1976.

Maximum gradient: 70 %
Viaduct arches: 2 one 46 metres and one 6 metres
Gauge: 1000 mm (= 1 metre)
Length: 342 metres
Altitude change: 196 metres
Speed: 5.4 km/h
Power supply: Elektrizitätswerk Zwölfmalgreien
Builders: Baufirma Guschelbauer Marek, Bozen / Rollsche Eisenwerke, Bern

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