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Bayerische Zugspitzbahn Bergbahn AG

A success story

History & milestones

between tradition & modernity

An overview of the most important milestones in the fascinating history of Bayerische Zugspitzbahn Bergbahn AG. 

The beginnings

Access to the Zugspitze: a revolution

The first ascent of the Zugspitze by Lieutenant Josef Naus in 1820 marked the beginning of the development of Germany’s highest mountain. The vision of making it possible for everyone to visit the Zugspitze took its starting point here.

As early as the end of the 19th century, the idea of a mountain railway leading up to the Zugspitze plateau was first deliberated. But it took another 30 years before this project could be implemented. The reason: a lack of financial backers and the turmoil of the First World War.

In 1930 the time had finally come: With the maiden voyage of the cogwheel train, the opening of the Schneefernerhaus hotel and the summit cable car a year later, the Zugspitze and the Zugspitze plateau were made accessible to guests.

Records & expansions

Development of the “panoramic mountain” Wank and the Garmisch-Classic area

Little by little, the mountain world around the Zugspitze, the Garmisch-Classic area and Mount Wank were opened up to visitors. As early as 1926, the Kreuzeckbahn was opened as the first cable car in Bavaria. In 1928, Partenkirchen’s “panoramic mountain” was opened up with the construction of the first Wankbahn cable car. Even then, one or two records were broken: for example, the surface lift on the local mountain was the longest and steepest surface lift in all of Europe when it was opened.

However, the Second World War also marked a turning point for Bayerische Zugspitzbahn. It was not until 1949 that the Sonnenkar ski lift was put into operation and the further expansion and establishment of the Zugspitze ski area could begin.

In the 1960s, Germany’s highest mountain was finally made accessible from the valley with the Eibseebahn cable car.

Major projects were also implemented in the Garmisch-Classic area and on Mount Wank in the following years: for instance, the passenger cable car from the Kreuzeckbahn valley station to the Osterfelderkopf, the Olympic lift on the Olympic course, Kreuzwankl chairlift and the first surface lift on Mount Wank.

Expansion & innovations

First World Ski Championships in 1978 as a driver of innovation

The decision to host the Alpine World Ski Championships in 1978 meant a further boost to innovation. For example, the starting area for the Kandahar downhill run was extended with the new Kreuzjochbahn lift, and the ski area on Mount Wank was significantly expanded. In addition, the large single-track “Hangbahn” cable car between Schneefernerhaus and the Zugspitze plateau was completed. The electrical supply in the areas was expanded, and more culinary establishments could be opened.

In 1980, the foundation stone was laid for the Maria Heimsuchung chapel, which was consecrated by the then Archbishop of Munich, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (later: Pope Benedict XVI). To this day, the chapel is the highest church in Germany.

Further extensions and conversions to the lifts and cable cars followed: The construction of the Rosi Tunnel meant that guests now could travel directly to the Zugspitze plateau by cogwheel train without having to change trains. The Gletscherbahn cable car was the first to connect the Zugspitze plateau with the Zugspitze summit and still serves as a convenient connection for the cogwheel train to this day.

Milestones

from 1820 to 2018

An overview of the most important milestones: