Technical reasons related to the track construction meant the hope of including a station at the Riffelalp resort (built in 1884) had to be shelved during the construction of the Gornergrat Railway (built in 1898). As a result, the Riffelalp railway station came to be situated a few hundred metres from the hotel – which is why Riffelalp hotel pioneer Dr Alexander Seiler submitted a request for a tram line to the national post and rail department of the Swiss Federal Council. This was duly accepted and the local authority subsequently sold Mr Seiler the land to build the Riffelalp tram line that is still used today.
1899 – opening of the 480 m long tram line
One year after the construction of the Gornergrat Railway saw the formal opening of possibly the shortest and highest tram line in Europe on 13 July 1899: the line from the Riffelalp train station to the hotel in Riffelalp is just 480 m.
1899 – Technical details
- Operational launch: 13 July 1899
- Interruption of service during the war years and from 1961 to 2001
- Number of stations:2
- Journey time: 3 minutes
- Speed: 8 km/h
2001 – Relaunch of the tram service
When the five-star Riffelalp Resort hotel was rebuilt and renovated it was decided to relaunch the tram service too. Time had left its mark on the two tram cars, however, and restoring the original tram would have been too difficult.
After considering various options, the decision was eventually made to reconstruct two railcars for passengers, with a trailer for goods and luggage.
2001 – technical details (today's tram)
- Operational relaunch: 15 June 2001
- Number of stations: 2
- Speed: 10 km/h