Since 1871 until today

Mount Rigi through the ages

The Queen of the Mountains - the Rigi. The first mention of them was found in a document of the district of Schwyz in 1353. However, the Rigi experienced a great boom in the 19th century with the construction of the large hotel palaces and the Mount Rigi railways in 1871.

Mount Rigi through the ages

HERE AND NOW

2017
July 1 & 2: Inauguration of the newly-refurbished high platform at Arth-Goldau train station. After 7 years of reconstruction work, the new high-platform was inaugurated with fanfare and celebration.

21ST CENTURY

2016
In the third quarter of 2016, Mount Rigi Railways smashed its previous record of passengers and clocked the best results in its 145 year history. With over 305000 passengers in the months of July, August, and September, Mount Rigi Railways achieved its best quarterly result ever.

2014
The new service center at Rigi-Kaltbad is opened with integrated train station and expanded shopping selection

2012
July 1. Grand opening of the Mineral Bath & Spa at Rigi Kaltbad. Star architect Mario Botta designed the complex with a unique and unmistakable style and character

2010
As of the timetable change in December, Mount Rigi Railways fully accepts the SBB General Abonnement (GA) as well as the associated Swiss Travel Pass and Day Ticket products.

2010
September 7. Groundbreaking of the new Goldau train station of the Arth-Rigi-Railway.

2009
Aquisition of the SBB Railway Manager's House in February. Demolition in October/November 2009. Preparation for the construction of the new Goldau train station of the Arth-Rigi-Railway between 2010-12

2009
Summer: Steam locomotive #7 (Built in 1873) runs along its old stretch atop Mount Rigi to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Swiss  Museum of Transportation.

20TH CENTURY

1999
Rigi Bahnen invent a new kind of rack and pinion switch. The patent is registered worldwide. The prototype is first installed at the ARB Rigi-First station.

1996
Summer: The historic steam locomotive no. 7 (built in 1873, now at the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne) travels its old route to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Vitznau-Rigi railway.

1993
15 July: The launch of the new panoramic cabins coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Weggis – Rigi Kaltbad aerial cable car.

1992
26 and 27 May: The Rigibahn-Gesellschaft and the Arth-Rigi railway join to form the RIGI BAHNEN AG (effective from the beginning of 1992), including the takeover of Skilifte Rigi AG.

1991
Construction completed on the new railyard and maintenance building in Vitznau.

1990
Launch of the rail connection Arth-Rigibahn – Vitznau-Rigibahn in Rigi Staffel.

1968
15 July: The aerial cable car between Weggis and Rigi Kaltbald starts operations.

1966
Opening of the «Hostellerie Rigi» hotel at Rigi Kaltbad.

1961
9 February: Catastrophic fire in Rigi Kaltbad. The former Grand Hotel is completely destroyed. 13 people perish in the fire.

1959
1 September: The valley railway line from Arth am See to Goldau is closed down and replaced with buses.

1948
25 July: The «Rigi First» hotel burns the ground.

1945
After the end of the Second World War, Mount Rigi goes from being the preserve of the holidaying elite to a day trip destination for mass tourism.

1945
The Arth-Rigi railway's last steam locomotive is sold for a scrap price of just 4,000 francs.

1942
The former railway line between Rigi Kaltbad and Rigi Scheidegg is closed down.

The signs are still visible (tunnel, Unterstetten bridge, kilometre signposts, water tank site, passenger car as a holiday home, etc.)

1937
Steam locomotive no. 7 is decommissioned and put on display at the Swiss Museum of Transport (Lucerne).

Today two other steam locomotives remain (no. 16 + 17) at the Rigi-Bahnen vehicle park.

1937
3 October: The railway line between Vitznau and Rigi Kulm is electrified.

1931
Commissioning of the railway from Rigi Kaltbad to Rigi Scheidegg.

1914
After the outbreak of the First World War, rich and aristocratic visitors suddenly stop coming to Mount Rigi.

1907
1 May: The railway line between Goldau and Rigi Kulm is electrified. The Arth-Rigi railway is thus the very first electrified standard gauge cogwheel railway in the world!

1906
The Vitznau-Rigi railway commences winter operations for the first time. The Arth-Goldau adhesion railway is electrified.

19TH CENTURY

1884
The Arth-Rigi railway runs all year round for the first time.

1881
King Ludwig II of Bavaria visits Rigi Kulm and presents the owner of the Grand Hotel with an exquisite tea set. It can still be viewed today in a glass cabinet in the dining hall.

1879
The American traveller and author Mark Twain visits Mount Rigi and writes his humorous journal: «A trip to Mount Rigi».

1875
4 July: Opening of the Arth-Rigi railway (Arth am See – Goldau – Rigi Kulm).

1875
Opening of the fashionable Grand Hotel Schreiber at Rigi Kulm. It has rooms for 300 guests, as well as every imaginable convenience available at the time.

1874
The Vitznau-Rigi railway is a worldwide sensation, transporting more than 100,000 passengers in its fourth year of operations.

1874
Opening of the railway from Rigi Kaltbad to Rigi Scheidegg. It is the highest adhesion railway in Europe and connects the high-class hotels at Kaltbad, First and Scheidegg.

1873
23 July: The Vitznau-Rigi railway traverses along the «parade section» from Staffel to Kulm for the first time.

1871
21 May: Inaugural celebrations are held for Europe's first mountain railway from Vitznau to Rigi Staffelhöhe.

1870
21 May: Trial run of the very first Mount Rigi steam locomotive, the «Stadt Luzern», on the 53rd birthday of its creator, Niklaus Riggenbach.

1868
Opening of the high-class Rigi Kaltbad hotel with 240 beds, dining hall, salon for social gatherings, women's sitting room, writing room and a music salon.

1868
Queen Victoria of England rode on horseback from Küssnacht to the lookout at Rigi Känzeli and wrote excitedly in her diary: "We are amused!"

1863
Engineer Niklaus Riggenbach patents his cogwheel system for mountain railways in France.

1860
The tourist transportation business on Mount Rigi is booming. In Weggis, there are 30 horse stables with around 1,000 horses, as well as countless carrying chair bearers and guides.

1859
Architect Friedrich Albrecht presents his exciting project for Mount Rigi: an aerial railway using balloons. Passenger gondolas on a metal track were to be pulled up the mountain by helium balloons. It worked...but only on paper!

1857
Opening of the Regina Montium hotel on Rigi Kulm.

1840
Opening of the spa hotel at Rigi Scheidegg. The hotel offers remedies involving drinking and bathing in spring water.

1832
For the first time, Weggis can be reached by boat from Lucerne. It becomes an interchange station for Mount Rigi visitors looking to walk, ride or be carried up the mountain.

1818
Travel agencies in England offer the first guided tours to Switzerland. More adventurous and well-healed tourists were given the choice of visiting Mount Rigi.

1817
21 May: Birth of mountain railway pioneer Niklaus Riggenbach, the engineer who designed the Vitznau- Rigi railway. The railway was also opened on 21 May – his 54th birthday.

1816
Opening of the first guesthouse at Rigi Kulm. Just three years later, over 1,000 visitors a year make their way to Mount Rigi's summit.

1814
Samuel Birmann publishes the first panoramic map for Mount Rigi visitors.

17TH & 18TH CENTURY

1792
The doctor, naturalist and poet Albrecht Haller publishes his poem «The Alps» and triggers the first wave of mountain tourism.

1784
Inauguration of the rock chapel at Rigi Kaltbad.

1775
The poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe visits Mount Rigi during his first visit to Switzerland and noted in his diary: «The splendour of the world all around».

1756
Opening of the first inn to stay at Rigi Kaltbad overnight.

1730
Pilgrims continue to visit Rigi Klösterli in great numbers, with some 25,000 pilgrims making the journey each year!

1721
Replacement of the chapel on Rigi Klösterli after it had become too small for the mass of pilgrims.

1700
11 July: Inauguration of the first Capuchin chapel at Rigi Klösterli.

1689
Pilgrimage tourism to Mount Rigi commences. The «Maria zum Schnee» pilgrimage chapel at Rigi Klösterli is inaugurated: 15,000 pilgrims make the journey to visit it each year.

MIDDLE AGE

1585
The first chapel (including a hermitage) is built at Rigi Kaltbald. Several hermits take up residence here in summer.

1540
First mention of the supposed healing properties of the natural spring at Kaltbad when Barthli Joler from Weggis was returned to health after bathing in the cold water. This marks the early beginning of wellness tourism on Mount Rigi. By the year 1600, over 100 people a year make the trek to bathe in the spring water.

1479
Albrecht von Bonstetten – humanist, geographer and dean of Einsiedeln Abbey – describes Mount Rigi as «Mons Regina» in his chronicle.

1421
The Lucernese chronicler Renward Cysat describes how dragons flew to and fro between Mount Pilatus and Mount Rigi. The legend suggests that these ancient creatures had their nests on Mount Rigi's southern slope around Vitznauerstock, above Vitznau.

1353
The first mention of Mount Rigi as «Grat Riggen» in an official document from the old Schwyz district.

ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND YEARS AGO

During the last ice age Mount Rigi was what is known as a nunatak, rising up like an island in a sea of ice. The bones of cave-dwelling bears and hyenas, as well as the remains of a fire, have been found in the Steigelfadbalm cave.

50 MILLION YEARS AGO

The Alps and the pre-alpine Mount Rigi landscape are formed as the African continental plate drifts northwards.

150 MILLIONS YEARS AGO

The landscape currently dominated by Mount Rigi is completely flat. Rivers deposit detritus and rubble on the shores of the prehistoric Tethys sea.