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That the funicular had problems was obvious - the straight track was no longer straight, the symmetrical passing loop was no longer symmetrical, and great cracks had appeared in the supporting walls in cuttings.
Our broken German established that a cable car was to be installed to replace the funicular, novel in two respects: firstly, only one car - most have two cars to balance each other; secondly, cargo was to be carried below. Replacement of the funicular by a cable car was necessary because the ground on which it runs was slowly slipping and sliding downhill - refurbishing the track would only be an highly expensive, very short term fix.
The line of the cable car is the same as the line of the old funicular. Last operation of the funicular railway from Lauterbrunnen to Grütschalp was on 23 April 2006 and the first operation of the replacement cablecar was on 16 December.
The pylons for the new cable car have adjustable bases to allow for further ground movement.
We didn't get to see it until 2008 (right): the old station buildings are reused (and refurbished in the case of the valley station), and that the "crane" is still used to transfer cargo - which is indeed carried under the car.
Bergbahn Lauterbrunnen Mürren: rebuilt 2006
by Andy Micklethwaite
The village and resort of Lauterbrunnen is in the bottom of a typical glaciated Alpine valley just a few miles south of Interlaken. On shelves on either side of the valley are two traffic free villages, Wengen on the East side, and Mürren on the West. Wengen is accessed by the WAB rack railway while Mürren was accessed for many years by a combination of a funicular railway to Grütschalp, then a tramway along the shelf to Mürren itself.
The villages can be seen in the picture - Wengen at the bottom of the picture (taken from the Männlichen summit in 2008), Lauterbrunnen in the valley bottom, Mürren just in the picture top left. The straight line of the funicular is clear to see.
We visited Mürren in 2005 by funicular (above) ...
.... with the wonderful "crane" at Grütschalp used to transfer luggage and cargo containers from the funicular ...
... to the tram.
During 2006 the funicular was abandoned and the cable car constructed (above), The cable opened in time for the 2006/7 winter season.
The new cable car, seen in 2008.
Edited for the Web by Charlie Hulme, March 2009