Stans: Transportation

If you’ve been following along on our Swiss journey, you might have noticed that one clear theme is modes of transportation. Our first view of Switzerland was concrete in the form of overpasses, underpasses, snow sheds, walls, and tunnels. So many tunnels.

When we started looking into excursions, we became overwhelmed by the many train options. Every city seems to have a major train station with multiple platforms. It seems you can get everywhere in the country quickly and efficiently by rail. As we got out and about a bit, we couldn’t believe the number of gondolas that crisscross the mountain slopes, along with cliff-climbing railways and funiculars (I’m not sure where the dividing line is between these last two).

Ken read a news article about the opening of the world’s steepest funicular rail line (notice the blurring – is it a funicular? a rail line?). So on one of my workday mornings, while most of my colleagues were still sleeping in North America, we took a drive to see the Standseilbahn Schwyz-Stoos (Schwyz-Stoos funicular). Since it was a grey day and during the Christmas holidays, we didn’t expect it to be busy. We were surprised to see a huge line-up, buses dropping more people off, and no parking anywhere. We didn’t have time to wait in the line since I needed to start work at some point that day, but we managed to find a pullover to stop and watch for a few minutes from afar. Check the picture in the news article for a close up of the oddly shaped cars, and details about the technology.

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As we drove away, we noticed the line was all but gone. When each car can take more than 30 people, and the trip is only a few minutes, it can move a lot of people quite efficiently. Besides that, it’s just pretty darned cool.

All of this real-world transportation immersion must have whetted our appetites for more. On a rainy morning, we drove to Lucerne to check out the highly rated Verkehrshaus der Schweiz (Swiss Museum of Transport). The museum is right on the lake, and is part of a complex containing several attractions including a planetarium, Media World, a film theater, among others.

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There are combination tickets and day passes, but I think it would be impossible to see everything in a day. We chose to see only the museum, and could have come back and upgraded our tickets to combos if we found ourselves wanting more.

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Ken checking out the underside of a train engine

The museum is huge, and divided into 4 main sections: trains and railways, automobiles and bicycles, boats and submarines, and airplanes and space travel.

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I think I can, I think I can

As adults, we found plenty to keep us interested, and there is loads to do for kids of all ages, including lots of energy-releasing outdoor activities.

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It’s not a cheap day out, but there are ways to reduce your costs with family passes, museum passes (a good option if you plan to see several Swiss museums over a short period), or a travel card that includes museum access. Our Swiss Half Fare Cards don’t cover museums, so we were stuck paying the full price.

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Ken finds friends wherever he goes
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A tunnel-boring head

TripBits

Swiss Museum of Transport: The regular museum cost is 32 CHF. Each of the venues has its own ticket price. You can save a few franks by purchasing a combo ticket that covers 2 venues at any point through the day, or purchase a day pass for 56 CHF.

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