Brevity is the soul of wit

200-meter-long funicular calms traffic

The City of Luxembourg traffic planners have set themselves an ambitious goal to achieve by 2020: public transport as a share in the overall transport of the city should rise to 25 percent. With a new parallel funicular Pfaffenthal-Kirchberg by GARAVENTA, chances are that the attractiveness of the local transport network will grow and, at the same time, Luxembourg’s main train station will be relieved.

Though only 200 meters long, the new funicular plays a key role in Luxembourg’s public transport plan. It connects the railway station Pfaffenthal, built in 2017, with the station adjacent to the Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge on the Kirchberg plateau. The project was commissioned by the state-owned railway company CFL (Chemin de Fer Luxembourgeois) and implemented by DOPPELMAYR/ GARAVENTA.


This new installation consists of two parallel funicular railways (each with two cars) that can be operated independently of one another. The funicular can transfer 7,200 people per hour. That is fast enough to bring passengers from two commuter trains arriving at the same time at the new railway station Pfaffenthal to their work places and the business center at the Kirchberg plateau in just 10 minutes.


This system with the extra units has been chosen because of the requirement for long operating hours and high availability. For this reason, each of the two installations has its own drive system with a transformer, as well as its own control system and control point. As they serve as a means of public transport, their time schedule is planned to utilize their maximum transport capacity.

An installation on a slope

The funicular’s line has deliberately been designed to be simple and clear. The route runs straight on a slope with a constant grade of 19.7 percent. A passing loop allowing automatic passage of the other car is situated in the middle of each track. Since the passing loops are covered, the deep cut in the terrain is almost invisible. The cars were manufactured by CWA Constructions SA (CWA) in Olten.


Each pair of carriages is interlinked with one haul cable and one counter-cable. Since the parallel funicular railways are part of the state-owned railway company CFL, the cars’ shape, design and furnishings have been matched with those of the company’s buses and trains. Thanks to the cars’ construction, the fact that they are singlelevelled and their smooth transitions are suitable for wheelchairs, they can be used also by persons with reduced mobility. Each of the two funicular railways’ four cars comfortably offers room for 140 persons during regular operation, or as many as 168 persons during peak hours

Funicular railway Luxemburg

  • customer: Chemin de Fer
  • Luxembourgeois
  • inclined Length: 20o m.
  • vertical rise: 39 m.
  • travel speed: 7,0 m/s
  • transit time: 63 sec.
  • capacity: 2 x 3.600 per/h
  • haul cable diameter: 30 mm
  • drive rated output: 342kW
  • car supplier: CWA
  • cable supplier: Fatzer
  • control system supplier: SISAG



Interlinked with another system

Linking the funiculars to the existing railway network was a particularly great challenge but it was solved in a masterful way. The installation is fitted with a complex audio-, videoand alarm-system interconnected with CFL’s operation system ensuring full coordination of both systems. The bar is also set very high as regards the level of noise generated by the cableway: fully elastic track fastening elements have been implemented along the entire route.


The brake hydraulics’ power unit has been equipped with especially quiet pumps; noise-generating ventilators and cooling units for the engines and gearboxes have been deliberately left out. The operation of the new installation was officially launched in December 2017. It will markedly relieve Luxembourg’s main train station and, at the same time, significantly shorten travel time for passengers coming from Ettelbruck and Esch-sur-Alzette.