Local Museum and Cableway Museum Switzerland in the former Army Pharmacy

For some "nostalgic", for others "adventurous", small cable cars arouse sympathy and interest. "Bähnli" become a holiday and excursion destination. The museum in the former army pharmacy in Kandersteg sheds light on the innovations and special features of this typically Swiss "cultural asset".

The mule track over the Lötschen Pass, the Gemmiwägeli, the "Belle Epoque" in Kandersteg, the historic construction of the Lötschberg tunnel over 100 years ago and finally the lower-lying transalpine railway all left their mark on the mountain village of Kandersteg - excitingly documented in the new museum at the entrance to the village.

The Seilbahn Museum Schweiz is located on the first floor and is currently under construction. Other pieces of the puzzle will follow in the next few years, including larger cableways outside. Impressively displayed are already numerous contemporary witnesses from the beginning of the first mechanically operated cableways to the amazing vehicle of the military cableway up into the Rawil area to the installations for monitoring air traffic of the Swiss Air Force. The many contemporary witnesses of the first cable cars, gondolas, chair lifts and ski lifts provide an exciting insight into the development of these means of transport.

Invented in 1834, the wire rope was initially only used in mining before its advantages were recognised for cable car construction. In Europe, the first 100-metre-long passenger cableway was built in 1866 in Schaffhausen for the machine keeper over the Rhine. However, the ropes were subsequently used mainly for funicular railways and were only increasingly used for aerial cableways from the beginning of the 20th century.

Named the "Niederberger-Schiffli" after their characteristic shape, these mostly open vehicles still delight visitors and hikers today with their typical ride along the steepness of the carrying rope - an original vehicle from the Engelberg Valley can be seen in the museum. Several chairs from the former vonRoll railway Kandersteg-Oeschinensee are also on display, some of which serve as seating in the lounge.

The museum is not open on all days, guided tours are also offered.

Realised by Roland Baumgartner

Pictures: Roland Baumgartner and Kandersteg Local Museum


Kandersteg railway station on the Lötschberg mountain line, or from Frutigen by bus directly in front of the museum (Kandersteg, im Kehr).

Another tip:
Summer toboggan run at the Oeschinensee mountain station of the cable car from Kandersteg.