The ‘Old Lady’ to retire as work on new cable car is set to begin

After 58 years in service, it’s time to call it a day: the cable car from Zermatt to Furi is carrying out its last service this winter and work is hopefully due to begin this Spring.

The “old lady” will be replaced by a more modern cable car. At the same time, the building at the “Schluhmatte” valley station will be rebuilt and office space for the Zermatt Bergbahnen administration will be added.

The cable car from Zermatt to Furi went into operation in 1963. Long-time employees get nostalgic when talking about this project. So does Simon Willisch, head of the Furi Garage, who has been involved in the maintenance of the cable car for the past 22 years. “Together with my team, I have made around 20 grouting heads since 2003, which are replaced during the annual inspections. Fond memories of the ‘old lady’ remain, but the anticipation of the new cable car is also very great.”

The new cable car will be larger than the previous 80 people per cabin, with a passenger capacity of 100 people per cabin and more floor space per person. The modern design of the cabins and the future operation without attendants reflect the positioning of Zermatt Bergbahnen as an industry leader.

The existing Matterhorn Express gondola will maintain its operation throughout the construction period. The new construction of the valley station will bring an optimised flow of guests and luggage, which plays an important role with regard to the completion of the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing.

The modern architecture with a light shaft in the middle of the building combines contemporary flair with high functionality and sustainability. On the upper floors, new, spatially coordinated office space is being created for the administration of Zermatt Bergbahnen, and the underground transfer station provides relief for Schluhmattstrasse.

Anton Lauber knows his way around the construction industry. He has been head of the construction department at Zermatt Bergbahnen for many years and has managed and coordinated major construction projects in recent years. Nevertheless, he is looking forward to a new challenge. The experience is evident in the question of timing, which Lauber answers without much thought: “The procedure was submitted to the Federal Office of Transport in October 2021. If things go normally, we expect to start the first work in spring 2022.”

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