The world’s highest-located hovertrain right in Tyrol
It’s small, doesn’t require a driver, connects and breaks records. What are we talking about? The Serfaus Underground, of course! It’s the world’s smallest, highest-located underground train floating on air cushions and one of the highlights of Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis. Find out more about this special hovertrain!
- … is a driverless hovertrain with rope drive.
- … lies underground and is, thus, completely separated from individual transport.
- … connects the car park in the east of Serfaus with the bottom station of the cable cars in the west of the village.
- … was put into service for the first time on 14 December 1985.
- … was completely overhauled for the duration of two years and, now – since 2019 summer season – amazes its passenger with state-of-the-art technology.
Below Dorfbahnstraße street in Serfaus, there is a 1,280-metre-long tunnel that spans from the eastern edge Serfaus to the western edge of the village. Along the route, there are a total of four stations: “Parkplatz” (parking area) in the east, “Kirche” (church), “Zentrum” (centre) and “Seilbahn” (cable car) in the west.
The underground route in numbers:
- total length: 1,280 m
- minimum curve radius: 300 m
- maximum gradient: 5.35 %
- difference in altitude: 20 m
The history of the Serfaus underground
Due to the increasing number of holiday guests flocking to Serfaus, the quality of life of the locals decreased. Hence, the local council decided in 1970 to close down Dorfbahnstraße street for individual transport. Winter sports visitors were taken from A to B by way of special busses. But these ski busses eventually reached the limits of their capacities as well.
In December of 1983, the local council approved the project of an “air-cushion railway” and construction started soon thereafter. On 14 December 1985, the underground hovertrain in Serfaus was put into operation. The official opening ceremony took place on 16 January 1986.
In the making: a state-of-the-art underground
In spring of 2017, construction of a new underground started. Since then, a lot has happened: The “Seilbahn” (cable car) and “Parkplatz” (parking area) stations were renewed and the “Zentrum” (centre) and “Kirche” (church) stops were built. Since the 2018/2019 winter season, passengers benefit from new entries and exits that are both accessible and suitable for baby buggies. This once again highlights the village’s objective of being particularly family-friendly. With a transport capacity of 3,000 people per hour, the Serfaus underground swiftly and conveniently takes passengers from A to B.
Video of the history and reconstruction of the Serfaus Underground
If you’ve ever wondered how an air-cushion railway works … here’s the answer: The underground is hauled from A to B by way of a rope drive. A direct current motor at the “Seilbahn” station powers the haul rope. Underneath the tunnel’s ceiling, it runs all the way to the return pulley at the “Parkplatz” station and back.
Instead of running on rails, the train glides over the ground by way of a suspension system comprised of eight air cushions. They are supplied by compressors with a pressure of 0.2 bar. The cabins’ power supply for light and electrical devices comes from an overhead power cable attached to the tunnel’s ceiling.
Technical details of the Serfaus Underground:
length of the train: 44.7 m
width: 2.35 m
capacity: 390 passengers
top speed: 40 km/h
transportation capacity: 3,000 people per hour
peak power input: 950 kW
average power input: 1,486 kW