The world’s steepest cogwheel railway goes up the Pilatus

A masterpiece from the 19th century

The steepest cogwheel railway in the world, with a gradient of 48% and a length of 4'618 metres, links Alpnachstad with Pilatus Kulm at an altitude of 2'132 m.

The engineer Eduard Locher developed its very particular ingenious rack-and-pinion solution: he dealt with the gradient by using two horizontally rotating cogwheels. The first trip took place in 1889. The masterpiece was also presented at the World’s Fair in Paris that same year.

Technical specifications


4 June 1889 (steam-driven propulsion)


15 May 1937 (electrical propulsion)

Operating season

May to November

Altitude difference

1,635 m

Track length

4,618 m

Travel time

Ascent 27 min., descent 33 min.


Maximum 48%, average 38%


Location and contact

Pilatus-Bahnen AG
Brünigstrasse 2
6053 Alpnachstad
+41 (0)41 329 11 11
Location fully accessible/usable
Wheelchair-accessible WC available
Designated disabled parking bays available