Habegger Maschinenfabrik timeline

This is a timeline for the history of the Habegger Maschinenfabrik and it’s minirail system, from the founding of the original company to the current ownership.

1943 – Willy Habegger founds Habegger Maschinenfabrik, in Thun, Switzerland.

1960 circa – Habegger enters people mover transport market. Habegger develops an autopilot system for a concept for a mini-monorail – a minirail system. Honegger Elektronik AG of Zurich, Germany is hired to produce the autopilot unit for Habegger.

1964 – Habegger partners with Von Roll Corporation to construct a minirail system for Expo64 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The system uses Habegger trains and has a turntable system called Telecanape, which results in the entire minirail system being called Telecanape.

1965 – Habegger and Von Roll construct a second minirail system for the Transportation Exposition at Zurich, Germany. This system uses the first Von Roll Mk II trains produced. This ends the cooperation between the two companies for nearly two decades, as Von Roll goes on to produce their own monorail systems without Habegger. Habegger is now known as Habegger Engineering Company or Habegger Engineering Works.

1967 – Habegger is contracted to produce a minirail system for Expo ’67 in Montreal, Quebec. Habegger hires the Canadian branch of the British firm Hawker Siddeley to manufacture some trains for the ride. Habegger provided a few of their trains from Telecanape at Expo64. The system was named Minirail and part of it continues to operate at the theme park La Ronde today.

1967 – Habegger reaches a licensing agreement with Utah firm Constam Corporation company president, Hank Pater, to produce minirail systems in the United States. Constam’s first job is to build a minirail system at the California Exposition in Sacramento, California.

1968 – Constam Corporation opens their first minirail system at California Exposition. This system continues to operate today, during the expo.

1968 – Constam wins a second contract, to build a minirail system for Hershey, Pennsylvania.

1969 – Constam opens their second minirail system at Hershey, Pennsylvania.

1969 – Constam is reorganized into Universal Mobility, Inc. (UMI), with Habegger possibly owning the company as the American branch of Habegger.

1970 – UMI sells their first minirail system under the new brand name UNIMOBIL / Habegger to Magic Mountain.

1971 – UMI opens the minirail system at Magic Mountain, called Metro.

1972 – UM and Habegger develop a new minirail system. This system is called UMI Tourister Type II.

1973 – The first UNIMOBIL / Habegger Tourister system opens at Carowinds. This system was closed in 1994, and relocated to Acapulco, Mexico. The system was never in operation, however.

1974 – UNIMOBIL / Habegger Tourister system opens at Kings Island. This system was closed in 1993 when Kings Island closed their nature habitat region.

1975 – UNIMOBIL / Habegger Tourister system opens at Kings Dominion. This system was closed in 1993.

1979 – UNIMOBIL / Habegger Tourister system opens at Minnesota Zoo. This minirail system closed in 2013.

1980 – Willy Habegger loses control of the company. Berner Kantonalbank took over when Habegger experienced a liquidity crisis and was entering bankruptcy.

1982 – UNIMOBIL / Habegger Tourister system opens at Zoo Miami. This minirail system is still in operation.

1982 –Willy Habegger purchases the lifting technologies division back from Berner Kantonalbank. The rest of Habegger Engineering is sold to Von Roll Holding. Von Roll establishes a new monorail division called Von Roll Habegger.

1984 – A final UNIMOBIL / Habegger Tourister system is opened at the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition. This minirail was then sold to Zoo Miami, where it operates today. (Universal Mobility would eventually go bankrupt being fully dissolved by 1989.)

1984Unconfirmed: A segment of Habegger within Von Roll is sold to Waagner-Biro. (Only one source states this, and I’m not sure if this is true since Von Roll Habegger continues to operate after this point.)

1993 – Von Roll Holding sells Von Roll Habegger to AEG Westinghouse, which is a subsidiary of AEG Schienenfahrzeuge GmbH. AEG was owned by Daimler-Benz.

1995 – Daimler-Benz and ABB propose a merger of their rail industry activities to form Adtranz, which includes the monorail components.

1996 – Adtranz is established on January 1, 1996.

2001 – Adtranz is sold to Bombardier. (Bombardier previously had acquired Universal Mobility, Inc., rights when UM folded in 1989.)