Photograph of Gelmerbahn Funicular by Alex Nichol

Gelmerbahn Funicular

After Lauterbrunnen, the third leg of my European motorcycle tour brought me to the Gelmerbahn Funicular a cable railway in the Bernese Oberland, Switzerland.

Photograph of the Gelmerbahn Funicular, Switzerland

Don't believe the videos you see of the Gelmerbahn on Instagram. They're often speeded up, to look like a rollercoaster, but in reality, the funicular is ridiculously slow - watch my video of it. It was originally designed to carry building materials to the top of the mountain.

Photograph from the Gelmerbahn Funicular, Switzerland

It was the steepest funicular in Europe, until the opening of the Stoos Funicular in 2017. Either way, it's near vertical along some stretches, with a gradient of 106% and climbs 1,000m tortuously slowly up the side of mount Tieralplistock.

Photograph of Lake Gelmer, Switzerland

At the top, you'll find Lake Gelmer; an almost flouresecent torquoise body of melt-water held back by a man-made dam. It's worth taking an hour or so for a wander the footpath that circles the lake.

Photograph of Alplistock mountain, Switzerland

I turned up just before the last train at 5pm, and caught some amazing views of Alpistock (the mountain across the valley) at Golden Hour.

Photograph of Gelmersee, Switzerland

Perhaps if I'd arrived a little earlier, I would've had time to write my name in little rocks on the plateau, like dozens of others before me.

Photograph of Gelmersee, Switzerland

The funicular is mega famous and well worth a visit. You can book tickets in advance on their website. The twisty mountain roads to get there are mind-bogglingly good, too.

These photographs were taken with my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and the extraordinary Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM .

Alex Nichol

About the photographer

Alex Nichol is an amateur photographer based in the UK dabbling with landscape, travel and documentary. Alex has shot with pretty much everything, from classic 35mm and medium format film cameras from Zenit, Leica, Hasselblad and Rolleiflex, to digital SLR and mirrorless systems from Leica, Sony, Canon, Panasonic and Olympus. He is currently shooting with the Fujifilm X System.

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