The Bad Reichenhall Predigtstuhlbahn is the only cable car in the world that has been listed as a historic monument.
And that listing is entirely justified.
For five reasons:
Epitome of a perfect cable car
When the Predigtstuhlbahn started operating on 1 July 1928, the response from around the world was clear: Bad Reichenhall has the perfect cable car. It outdid all the cable cars built previously in terms of elegance, speed and daring.
The monumental pylons visible from afar symbolise the mastery of nature by man and embody the Zeitgeist of the 1920s. When viewed from a distance, the pylons, which are inclined towards the valley, reinforce the upward motion and the daring aesthetics of the facility. The straight lines with a gradient of up to 75% represented a sensation at the time.
Technology that works
The entire drive equipment and machinery have been working perfectly purely on mechanical principles since 1928. And that is still the case today. Everything is still in its original state. Quality, robustness and durability are the outstanding trademarks of the technology on the Predigtstuhl. Nowhere else can people admire cable car technology in as good and well-maintained an original state as in the case of the Predigtstuhlbahn.
The Predigtstuhlbahn was also revolutionary where the cabins are concerned. For the first time, they were built to a light-weight design involving new materials such as aluminium and Perspex. “Glass pavilions” was what the Reichenhall people had wanted and that is what Leipzig company Bleichert supplied. It developed an entirely new design, which was also more aerodynamic with its twelve-sided shape than the previously common hefty box shape. A damper was fitted as an additional feature, which is still countering the swinging movement after the cabin has passed a pylon. The trip thus became an experience in itself rather than a mere means to an end.
Durable suspension cables
The Predigtstuhlbahn also marked a turning point in cable technology. Earlier cable cars suffered from frequent suspension cable breakages. The suspension cables of the Predigtstuhlbahn date all the way back to 1928 and are still as good as new. This is due on the one hand to numerous innovations in steel cable technology and new findings relating to cable tensioning on the other. The heart of the base station is therefore the tensioning room, located 14 metres below ground. There, 104 tonnes of weight ensure that the suspension cables are fully tensioned and the cable line leads steeply upwards. That represented an innovation in those days. The brilliant inventor of modern cable car technology Alois Zuegg had the then most massive tensioning weights in the world installed for the Predigtstuhlbahn. Standard today, it was revolutionary at the time.
Built for eternity
The buildings of the Predigtstuhlbahn were designed in the “New Objectivity” architectural style. They were also influenced by the so-called “Heimatstil”, i.e. Swiss chalet style.
The base and top stations were constructed in 1927/28 and their appearance was dictated purely by their function. The central section with the platforms for the cabins dominates, while the waiting, administration, storage and engineering rooms are less prominent. The window openings narrow towards the top, reflecting the shape of the mountain.
The Mountain Restaurant underlines the character of the mountain top and represents an extension of the town. The facade is consequently formal and austere. The use of wood as a building material was intentionally avoided. The idea was to create a contrast to chalets for the sophisticated and urban public.