July 9, 2013 5:03 PM   Subscribe

The Dorfbahn Serfaus is arguably the tiniest subway system in the world (technically, an underground funicular), built to alleviate congestion in the tiny ski resort town of Serfaus, Austria (pop. 1,081). The line is just 1.3 km long with 4 rather picturesque stops. Bonus video (German).
posted by en forme de poire (22 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Underground funicular! Awesomeness.
posted by the cydonian at 5:19 PM on July 9, 2013

eine kleine Ski-laufen-U-bahn!
posted by not_on_display at 5:22 PM on July 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

I don't know what's more interesting, the Dorfbahn or the Funimag itself.
posted by hat_eater at 5:34 PM on July 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

I've been perusing Funimag and I'm wroth to note that the editors did not see fit to profile the breathtaking Funicular at El Conquistador. I've penned a sternly worded missive to the proprietors so they may correct this oversight at their earliest convenience.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:51 PM on July 9, 2013

Haifa, Israel has one. Not 1.3 km though.
posted by ocschwar at 5:55 PM on July 9, 2013

I've always thought the US Capitol Subway was pretty cool.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:14 PM on July 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

So Haifa's funicular is smaller than your funicular? I must know who has the smallest funicular.
posted by astrobiophysican at 6:24 PM on July 9, 2013

(I think we borked the site..or at least the first link)
posted by lampshade at 6:28 PM on July 9, 2013

No, Haifa's is larger. Istanbul has a smaller one.
posted by ocschwar at 6:29 PM on July 9, 2013

I've rode the funiculars at Val d'Isere and Tignes. They're both a good bit longer than 1.3km (but also a bit slow, and only have two stops). They're both entirely underground, which must have made them astonishingly expensive to build...

Oh, and I ride the US Capitol Subway every day, and it's definitely shorter than 1.3km. You can walk the length of the Russel subway in about 90 seconds.
posted by schmod at 6:37 PM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

(lampshade, first link still works for me...?)
posted by en forme de poire at 6:49 PM on July 9, 2013

I must know who has the smallest funicular.

I know who has the funniest smallicular. But I'm not telling.
posted by hat_eater at 6:51 PM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Here is a 230 m long underground funicular in Stockholm, with two stops: Nybohovshissen.
posted by alexei at 6:55 PM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the earworm, just in time for bed.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:25 PM on July 9, 2013

Scarborough, Toronto could use one of these.
posted by anthill at 7:30 PM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Radio Shack used to own a 1.1 km private subway, back when Radio Shack was the Tandy Corporation. The subway ran from the parking lot to the shopping mall they had their headquarters in.
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:33 PM on July 9, 2013 [4 favorites]

Dorf on Subways.

Is Tim Conway doing anything these days?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:44 PM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I live in the same Austrian federal state (Tyrol) as Serfaus, but in the capital, ~70 km further east. Tyrol is a very tourism-heavy and stereotypically conservative place. The naming of the Dorfbahn stops is hilarious for a local because it seems like a recipe for a Tyrolean village:
  • Seilbahn (cable car), because you have to have access to a skiing area.
  • Kirche, a Catholic church.
  • Raika. This one is particularly great. It’s short for Raiffeisenkasse, a branch of the very powerful Raiffeisenbank, a financial institution with lots of influence on local, state and federal politics throughout Austria. Every village needs one of these, who else is going to select the only relevant candidate for the next mayoral election? (I’m not even kidding here. The current mayor, Mr Paul Greiter, is actually on the executive committee of Raiffeisen Serfaus-Fiss; that’s just an especially transparent example.)
  • Parkplatz (parking lot). Much better to have that outside the village, otherwise you’re just asking for congestion on nice weekends in winter.
The only aspect which is missing is that you generally need to have more hotels and restaurants than homes, but at least enough to get the names Posthotel (Alte Post is also acceptable), Lärchenhof (larch court), Haus Alpenblick (Alpine view) and Hotel Edelweiß (the Alpine snow-on-the-mountain) in there.

I’m so glad I live in the city. Rural Tyrol is incredibly dull.
posted by wachhundfisch at 12:09 AM on July 10, 2013 [6 favorites]

There's a tiny (aboveground) funicular-type-thing at the Huntington Metro Station in Alexandria, VA, and there used to be a similar installation at the Newport News airport (although the second one seems to have been demolished)
posted by schmod at 5:39 AM on July 10, 2013

Bummer that the site won't load any more. This sounds neat and I'd love to look at the pictures.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:26 AM on July 10, 2013

Formerly, there were two short run funiculars in Lausanne. The oldest was 1482 meters and ran from Ouchy on the lake to the central plaza just uphill from the main train station, or gate. The next oldest, and of interest to this thread, was 318 meters long. The funiculars were converted to different motive-power rail lines in the 50s and retired for re-engineering in the first decade of this century.

The short line was known as "MG" (Metro-Gare) and let me tell you, standing at the base of that hill with suitcases in hand is enough to convince you of the wisdom of the line.
posted by mwhybark at 11:08 AM on July 10, 2013

This web archive link might work if the server's getting hammered.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:42 AM on July 10, 2013

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