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Coordinates: 47°22′35″N 8°32′38″E / 47.37639°N 8.54389°E / 47.37639; 8.54389
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Other name(s)Zürichbergbahn; Seilbahn Limmatquai–Hochschulen
StatusIn operation
OwnerUBS-Polybahn AG (since 1998); SBG-Polybahn AG (1976–1998, name change); Zürichbergbahn-Gesellschaft (1889–1976)
LocaleCity of Zürich, Switzerland
Route number2700
Operator(s)Verkehrsbetriebe Zürich
Rolling stock2 for 50 passengers each
Opened8 January 1889; 135 years ago (1889-01-08)
Track length176 metres (577 ft)
Number of tracks1 with passing loop
Rack system- (before 1996: Abt)
Track gauge955 mm (3 ft 1+1932 in)[1]
Electrification1897 (water counterbalancing before)
Operating speed2.5 metres per second (8.2 ft/s)
Highest elevation450 m (1,480 ft)
Maximum incline26% (avg. 23%)
Entrance to the lower station of the Polybahn at the Central square
Car leaving the lower station across the viaduct over Seilergraben
The passing loop above the viaduct
Car approaching upper station
Entrance to the upper station
Share of the Zürichbergbahn-Gesellschaft, issued 15. February 1888

The Polybahn, also known as the UBS Polybahn, is a funicular railway in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. The line links the Central square with the terrace by the main building of ETH Zürich, which was formerly called Eidgenössisches Polytechnikum, and from which the railway derives its name. Previous names for the line include the SBG Polybahn and the Zürichbergbahn. The line is owned by the banking group UBS AG, and operated on their behalf by the municipal transport operator Verkehrsbetriebe Zürich.[2][3][4][5]

The Polybahn is one of two funiculars within the city of Zürich, the other being the Rigiblick funicular in the city's northern suburbs. Additionally, the city's Dolderbahn rack railway was originally a funicular, until its conversion to rack working in the 1970s.


In 1886 a concession for the railway was issued, and the line was opened by the Zürichbergbahn company in 1889. The funicular was initially water-driven (filling water in a ballast tank under the carriage at the top station, emptying at the bottom); the railway was converted to electric drive in 1897.[6]

In 1950 the Zürichbergbahn company began losing money, and eventually (in the 1970s) decided not to renew the concession. In 1972 a foundation was created to help preserve the Polybahn. In 1976 the Union Bank of Switzerland, then known in German as the Schweizerische Bankgesellschaft or SBG, rescued the Polybahn, branding it as the SBG Polybahn. The line and cars were refurbished for a planned 20 more years service.[6]

In 1996 the railway was completely rebuilt. The haulage mechanism was replaced, and fully automated, whilst the old three-rail tracks were replaced with the current two-rail tracks. On 21 October 1996 the railway reopened and is now advertised under the name UBS Polybahn, reflecting the rebranding (in 1998) of the owning banking group as UBS AG. In 1998 the line set a new record, carrying more than 2 million passengers.[6]

On 30 May 2021 the Polybahn was closed for refurbishment, with the cars being removed by crane. The Polybahn reopened on 17 September 2021.[7][8]


The line has the following parameters:[4][5][2]

Feature Value
Number of cars 2
Number of stops 2
Configuration Single track with passing loop
Mode of operation Automated
Drive Three-phase AC motor with frequency changer
Track length 176 metres (577 ft)
Rise 41 metres (135 ft)
Average gradient 23%
Track gauge 955 mm (3 ft 1+1932 in)
Capacity 50 persons per car
Maximum speed 2.5 metres per second (8.2 ft/s)
Capacity per direction 1200 Persons/hour
Travel time 100 seconds
Frequency Every 2.5 minutes

The standard Zürcher Verkehrsverbund zonal fare tariffs apply, with the whole of the line being within fare zone 110 (formerly zone 10) (Zürich city).[9] A special Polybahn ticket is also available; it costs less than the regular 110 fare. [10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Zurich's Urban Funiculars: The Polybahn and Rigiblick Funicular". The Gondola Project. 13 January 2013. Archived from the original on 5 May 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b "UBS Polybahn" (in German). VBZ. Archived from the original on 15 November 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
  3. ^ "Zürich - Polybahn". Lift-World.info. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Polybahn". Funiculars.net. Pantograph.se. Archived from the original on 22 February 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
  5. ^ a b Eisenbahnatlas Schweiz. Verlag Schweers + Wall GmbH. 2012. p. 65. ISBN 978-3-89494-130-7.
  6. ^ a b c "Geschichte der UBS Polybahn" [History of the UBS Polybahn] (in German). VBZ. Archived from the original on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
  7. ^ "UBS Polybahn". polybahn.ch. UBS Polybahn. Archived from the original on 2 June 2021. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  8. ^ Vögeli, Dorothee (17 September 2021). "Die rote Bahn von Zürich rumpelt wieder zur Polyterrasse hinauf – neu auch sonntags" [The red train from Zurich rumbles up to the Polyterrasse again - now also on Sundays]. Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 30 December 2021.
  9. ^ "Frequently asked questions". Zürcher Verkehrsverbund. Archived from the original on 3 October 2011. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
  10. ^ "UBS Polybahn (Ride)". Retrieved 19 December 2021.

External links[edit]

47°22′35″N 8°32′38″E / 47.37639°N 8.54389°E / 47.37639; 8.54389