Abt switch

The funicular at the Grandhotel Giessbach, which has enchanted visitors to Brienz for 136 years and is the first railway in the world to feature a passing loop in the middle of the route, was declared in 2015 a historic mechanical engineering landmark by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers ASME.

The distinguishing technical attribute of the railway is a passing loop, or turnout, that the original engineer, Roman Abt, placed midway on the route.

“The turnout on the Giessbach funicular is an ingenious element of engineering, allowing the two cars to travel to and from the hotel simultaneously and pass each other safely,” said Julio C. Guerrero, president of ASME. “Abt’s unique passing loop influenced designs on other railway systems throughout the world.”

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