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Pilatus rack railway  
last update: 25/09/2011
The Pilatus Mount rack railway opened in 1.889 and connects Alpnachstad (next to Luzern Lake) with Pilatus mount, 2.070 metres high, climbing a more than 1.600 metres slope in just 4,3 km. The rack railway reaches a slope of up to 48% and an average of 38%, making it the most inclined of the world. To overcome these steep slopes, it uses the double horizontal Locher rack. The track has a width of 800mm without ballast track (the track was set directly on solid rock) and is electrified to 1.550V in DC since 1937. The route is single track with a sidetrack and depot in Alpnachstad, a crossing point at the intermediate station (Ämsigen) and three tracks at the upper station of Pilatus Kulm. Due to the rack system used, no conventional railway switches are possible and there are transfer tables to link tracks or move trains to the desired direction. The 10 trains that run on the line were built by SLM and are all a unique car with 5 compartments for 8 people staggered (as a conventional cable car). The trains run at a maximum speed of 9-12 km / h. During the decline they fall by gravity with the pantograph lowered. Different trains run in packages of ascending and descending trains that cross at the intermediate station. The line operates only from May to November. Given the limited transport capacity of the line (340 people / hour) in peak hours you have to wait a while to get into the trains. You are given a booking time for the upwards train when buying the ticket.

Select a zone or station to see photos of them:
 Ämsigen-Pilatus Kulm
 Pilatus Kulm

The trains
- Bhe1/2 21-30 EMUs
The Bhe1/2 EMU number 25 starts the decreasing from mount Pilatus (august 2011) Inside the Pilatus railway EMU (august 2011) Lower part of the coach, with the driving cab (august 2011) Speed regulator at the mountain side cab inside one of the EMUs (august 2011)

The Locher rack system  
The rack system invented by Eduard Locher has teeth located on the side instead of being at the top, attached by two wheels on the locomotive. This system allows its use on slopes steeper than other systems, the teeth of which can jump off the track. Locher rack system can be used on slopes up to 1 in 2 (50%). The Abt rack system is limited to slopes of up to 1 in 4 (25%). The Locher rack provides a very stable fixation on the track, preventing the vehicle tipping even in case of high winds. The main problem of the Locher rack is the impossibility of conventional switches to change track and transfer tables or other complex systems must be placed. In public railways is only used in Pilatus railway, but is also used in some European mine railways.

Pilatus bahnen (official website) www.pilatus.ch Pilatusbahn on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilatus_Railway
Pilatusbahn at railfaneurope.net www.railfaneurope.net/pix/ch/narrow_gauge/PB/pix.html Youtube Pilatusbahn video http://youtu.be/-F9r8eS4PJw

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