The Serfaus Dorfbahn
Drive with the world's highest air cushion subway!
The Dorfbahn is an underground driverless cable railway with air cushion suspension which operates in the municipality of Serfaus. It is similar to a conventional subway or underground railway in that it is spatially separated from private transport and runs from end to end through a tunnel. It is considered to be the world’s smallest and highest air cushion subway.
Project Dorfbahn NEW
On the 24th of April 2017 the ground-breaking ceremony for the project Dorfbahn NEW has taken place.
Not least due to the fact that the existence of the Dorfbahn showed in the last 30 years how important this facility is for Serfaus and the holiday destination Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis.
During the upcoming summer season, the Dorfbahn will operate from 7th of July until 17th of September. There will be a shuttle service before and after this period.
The Dorfbahn runs through a tunnel underneath the Dorfbahnstraße in Serfaus; the tunnel was built using the open-cut method. It links the car park on the eastern edge of the village facing the valley to the valley terminal of the cable cars in the Komperdell skiing area on the western edge of the village facing the mountain. The route has a total length of 1,280 m and the smallest curve radius is 300 m. The track negotiates a height difference of 20 m from end to end, with a maximum gradient of 5.35 %. There are four stops (Parkplatz [Car park], Kirche [Church], Zentrum [Centre] and Seilbahn [Cable car]).
During the winter season the Dorfbahn operates between 8.00 am and 7.00 pm (on Wednesdays, during the Adventure Night, it continues to run until midnight) The service only stops at the intermediate stations of “Zentrum” (Centre) and “Kirche” (Church) at peak travel times in the direction of the particular terminus (in the mornings towards “Seilbahn” (Cable car) and in the afternoons towards “Parkplatz” (Car park)); on the return journey the service does not stop at the intermediate stations. Travel on the Dorfbahn is free of charge.
A DC motor at the “Seilbahn” (Cable car) station drives the traction cable, which runs behind the guide rail which is attached to the tunnel wall at ground level. The traction cable then runs back along a duct just below the tunnel ceiling to the guide pulley at the “Parkplatz” (Car park) station. The Dorfbahn does not run on rails; instead, the train glides about 1 mm above the ground on an air cushion. Three compressors in each cabin supply eight air cushions with a pressure of 0.2 bar. The electrical systems in the cabins (lighting, compressors and doors) are supplied with 950 volts of alternating current via an overhead power cable attached to the tunnel ceiling.
The sole train set to operate on the Dorfbahn consists of two cabins that are firmly coupled to each other. Each cabin is 14.58 m long, 2.21 m wide, has three doors, and can carry up to 135 passengers. The platforms at the stations are separated from the actual tunnel by a partition and are fitted with doors which open and close at the same time as the cabin doors. The fully automated operation is monitored by the control centre at the “Seilbahn” (Cable car) station. The Dorfbahn can reach a top speed of 40 km/h, so it can carry up to 2,000 passengers per hour. Maximum drive power: 950 kW; continuous drive power: 580 kW.
The Dorfbahnstraße in Serfaus was originally the only road available to traffic heading towards the cable car terminal, but the fact that it is a blind alley or cul-de-sac led to ever-worsening road congestion, particularly during the winter season, which severely impaired quality of life for the local residents and tourists. In 1970 the village council decided to close the Dorfbahnstraße to private traffic and build a big car park at the entrance to the village. The ski tourists were transported to the terminal on buses. But the steadily growing numbers of tourists meant that the ski buses soon reached the limits of their capacity.
In 1983 the engineering firm of Lässer-Feizlmayer in Innsbruck was given the task of devising an alternative transport scheme. It came up with a proposal to build an underground cable railway with air cushion suspension from the car park to the cable car valley terminal. The village council approved the project in December 1983 and building work began in July 1984. The Serfaus Dorfbahn was commissioned on 14 December 1985 and officially opened on 16 January 1986.