August 24, 2017

3134 SWITZERLAND (Ticino) - The Monte Brè funicular and Lake Lugano

Lake Lugano, named after the city of Lugano, is a glacial lake which is situated on the border between southern Switzerland and northern Italy. Well-known mountains and tourist destinations on the shores of the lake are Monte Brè to the east, Monte San Salvatore west of Lugano, and Monte Generoso on the south-east shore. The lake is 48.7km2 in size, 63% of which is in Switzerland and 37% in Italy, has an average width of roughly 1km, a maximum depth of 288m  found in the northern basin.

Lugano, the largest city with an Italian speaking majority outside Italy, is located on the lake shore just to the west of where the River Cassarate enters the lake, and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Switzerland. The city's waterfront forms a crescent around the bay between the Brè (925m) and the San Salvatore (912m) mountains. It is served by three funicular railways. The Lugano Città-Stazione funicular connects Lugano railway station to the city centre, whilst the Monte Brè funicular and the Monte San Salvatore funicular ascend nearby hills to vantage points.

The Monte Brè funicular links a lower station in the Lugano suburb of Cassarate with an upper station at the summit of the Monte Brè. The top yields views of the city and Lake Lugano. It is composed of two separate and independent sections. The first links the stops of Cassarate and Suvigliana and is only 196m long. At Suvigliana passengers must cross the road to reach the lower station of the second, and significantly longer, section (1,403m), which is very sinuous.

The concession for the construction of the funicular was granted in 1905, with the intention of creating a resort where the inhabitants of Lugano could enjoy the cool during the heat of summer. The lower section opened in 1908, with the upper section following in 1912. In 1959, the cars of the lower section were replaced with the new metal-bodied cars in a then-modern style, with a capacity of 42 persons each. Similarly new cars were provided for the upper section in 1984, although in this case the cars had a capacity of 68 persons and were designed with a nostalgic look. In both cases, the cars are still in use.

About the stamps
The first two stamps are part of the series Flora - Mushrooms, about which I wrote here.

The last stamp was issued on May 8, 2014, to mark The 125th Anniversary of the Pilatus Cogwheel Railway. The Pilatus Railway is a mountain railway in Switzerland and is the steepest rack railway in the world, with a maximum gradient of 48% and an average gradient of 35%. The line runs from Alpnachstad, on Lake Lucerne, to a terminus near the Esel summit of Pilatus at an altitude of 2,073m.

Lake Lugano - Wikipedia
Monte Brè funicular - Wikipedia
Monte Brè funicular - Official website

Sender: Kerstin / Pik (postcrossing) CH-353496
Sent from Lugano (Ticino / Switzerland), on 16.08.2017

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