Funicular powered by wastewater yes its very true. In Fribourg, a city located 20 miles/ 30 kilometers southeast of Bern, you even do something good, when you go to the toilet. Because in the beautiful old town, you can find the last wastewater railway in Switzerland. The “Funi” (funicular railway), is an engineering masterpiece, listed as a cultural asset of national importance. This nostalgic railway has been running since 1899 – with no electricity, no motor, or exhaust fumes. Ascending a total 185 feet/ 56.4 meters climb in altitude, the upper carriage uses filtered wastewater from the city in a 792.5 gallon/3000-liter tank to power it. This is a massive leap forward in using natural resources to power something that would generally require electricity, but with all wastewater, treatment is needed, this is where companies such as Veolia Water Technologies can help in keeping the wastewater environmentally friendly.
Everyone in Fribourg knows the funicular as one of the town’s curiosities. The line was opened in 1899 and links the town center to the Basse-Ville (the lower area of the town).The Fribourg funicular is a listed historical monument and unique in Europe… it is actually one of the last one to run on waste water from the town, which is used thanks to a system of counterweights. The creaking and clattering of the rack of the hundred-year old machine is obviously worth seeing, especially as it will take you deep into the soul of the town. The funicular was – and still is – the link between the “Basse-Ville” and the center of Fribourg. History and modernity… a true symbol!