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The name of the Polybahn is derived from the Polyterrasse, the “terrasse” at the higher station of the short route. The Polyterrasse is the terrace of today's university (formerly the Swiss Polytechnic School). Accordingly, it is not surprising that the locals affectionately call the funicular the “Student Express.”
The train is operated by the Zurich public transport company but is owned by a subsidiary of the Swiss bank UBS. Amazing: with almost 2 million passengers a year, this railway transports the second most passengers in all of Switzerland’s public transport.
The plans began with a connection from today's Central (the lower station) up to the University street close to the zoo in 1875. Due to the partial rejection of the project by the city and the progress of the electrical engineering, only the first section (the current route) was implemented and the continuation was completed by the development of the trams.
Operation began in 1889 and a few years later the water ballast was switched to electric drive. The millionth passenger could already be transported in the 1920s. Because of depts since the beginning of the 1950s, the Swiss Bank saved the train at the last minute in 1976 before it would have closed. This rescue made a total renovation possible in the 90s, so that the Polybahn is now operated fully automatically. A small cable car, adds a nostalgic flair, connecting the two stations measuring 176 m in lenght. The journey takes only a few minutes and there are always two cars running. With today's cycle of 2-5 minutes, the Polybahn can move up to 1,200 people per hour.
The train does not run on Sundays, try to steer your trip to one of the other days on the train. Because from the upper station, the terrace, the city shows you its most beautiful side and offers a nice balance to the hustle and bustle in the alleys.
With the Travel Card for tourists, the ride on the Polybahn is free. Enjoy the short but interesting drive.
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