For cave explorers and pleasure hikers

If the term "box railway" applies to a fascinating railway in Switzerland, then it applies to this one. Here you don't take a seat in a modern high-gloss cabin made of steel and lots of glass, but in an open wooden box. The vehicles are simple, functional open constructions with a board wall, two doors and seating for four adults and two children, or 400kg of material. In this "vehicle", you can safely overcome more than 600 metres in altitude. The journey takes about minutes.

The adventurous yet very safe Kistenbähnli starts in Starkenbach (Obertoggenburg), below Alt St. Johann, and travels to Alp Vorderselun, at the forest border. As early as 1911 there was a simple transport railway to Alp Selun; in 1955 it was converted into a passenger railway, but at that time only for the alp staff. For the construction and maintenance of the antenna system, there were then extensive renovations and "modernisations" to the system in 1986. From then on, hikers and visitors could also use the means of transport.

The facility, which is operated by the Selun Alpine Corporation, is very popular with guests during the summer months. The adventurous ride alone is worth the trip. Good tourist frequencies help to maintain this jewel in Toggenburg and to finance maintenance and future renovations.
The mountain station is the starting point for an easy hike on the Toggenburg High Trail towards Selamatt and Iltios. With a view of the Churfirsten peaks, you soon reach the rustic alpine inn Wildmannli on Strichboden. We like to stop here for a bite to eat before heading to the mysterious cave. The "Wildmannlisloch" is open to the public without danger, no entrance fee, no barriers, no lighting - the cave is in its original state. You must be equipped with a torch, or even better a headlamp, and wear waterproof shoes. Bone remains of over 50 cave bears have been found here - be careful!

The "cave explorers" then hike easily to Alp Selamatt, where hearty dishes such as Älpler salad or Sennentoast are served on the sunny terrace of the mountain inn. From here, the combined chairlift/gondola takes you down into the valley to Alt St. Johann, or you can reach the funicular from Iltios down to Unterwasser on foot in half an hour.

Realised by Roland Baumgartner

Pictures: Roland Baumgartner


From Wattwil, Nesslau or Wildhaus by post bus to Starkenbach. There are parking spaces at the valley station and marked parking spaces on the meadow.

Another tip:
Alpwirtschaft Wildmannli Strichboden and Bergwirtschaft Ochsenhütte on the way towards Hinderselun.