The Dolderbahn is a 1.3 km (0.81 mi) long rack railway in the Swiss city of Zürich. The line is owned by the Dolderbahn-Betriebs AG, and operated on their behalf by the municipal transport operator Verkehrsbetriebe Zürich. The line was opened in 1895 as a funicular railway, and converted to rack operation in 1973. Because of this history, it is still sometimes erroneously referred to as a funicular or cable car.

The line is in Zürich's Hottingen and Fluntern suburbs on the south slope of the Adlisberg mountain. The lower terminus of the line is at Römerhof, some 1.5 km (0.93 mi) from the city centre, where it connects with several lines of the Zurich tramway. The upper terminus at Bergstation Dolderbahn is adjacent to the Dolder Grand Hotel and the Dolder recreation area. Two intermediate stations, at Titlisstrasse and Waldhaus Dolder, are also served.

Dolderbahn History

The Dolderbahn-Aktiengesellschaft company was formed to build the Dolder line in 1893, with construction commencing the following year. The line was built as a funicular railway and opened in 1895. The upper terminus of the funicular was at the Dolder Waldhaus Hotel, roughly on the site of the uppermost of the current line's two intermediate stations. The funicular had a length of 816 metres (2,677 ft) and overcame a height difference of 100 metres (328 ft) with a maximum gradient of 18%.

In 1899, the upper terminus of the funicular was linked to the Dolder Grand Hotel by a short electric tramway, with a single tramcar. The line was built to the same 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) gauge as Zürich's other electric tramways, but was never connected to any of them. In 1922 the tramcar was rebuilt to allow one-man operation, but in 1930 it was replaced by a bus.

In 1971 the concession of the original company expired, and a new company, the Dolderbahn-Betriebs-AG, was created to convert the line to rack operation. At the same time the line was extended at its upper end to serve the Dolder Grand Hotel, thus replacing the bus that had in turn replaced the tram. The new line opened in 1973, and was extensively renovated in 2004.

Dolderbahn Operation

The line is 1.3 km (0.81 mi) long and overcomes a height difference of 162 m (531.5 ft). It is built to metre gauge (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in gauge) and uses the Strub rack system. The line is single track with a single intermediate passing loop, situated between Titlisstrasse and Waldhaus Dolder stations.

The line is operated by a pair of four-wheel rack railcars, each of which can carry 100 passengers. They were built by the Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works, with electrical equipment from Brown, Boveri & Cie, in 1972.

The line runs from 06.20 until 23.30 every day, with services running every 10, 15 or 20 minutes depending on the time of day. The journey time is approximately 5 minutes. The standard Zürcher Verkehrsverbund zonal fare tariffs apply, with the whole of the line being within fare zone 110 (Zürich city, formerly zone 10).

Dolderbahn Operational Detail

Dolderbahn Opened:                 1895 (as funicular)
                                                   1973 (as rack railway)
Dolderbahn Owner:                    Dolderbahn-Betriebs AG
Dolderbahn Operator(s):            Verkehrsbetriebe Zürich
Dolderbahn Track Gauge:          Metre (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in)
Dolderbahn Electrification:         600 V, DC, overhead line
Dolderbahn Maximum Incline:   19.6%
Dolderbahn Rack System:         von Roll

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