03
Jul

2015

Weekly Roundup: Prefab Wooden Cable Car Station; Paris and Kolkata May Study Urban Ropeway

Post by Nick Chu

Prefab Wooden Summit Station. Image from Treehugger.

A quick look at some of the things that happened this week in the world of urban gondolas, cable cars and cable propelled transit:

Cable Car Proposed to Solve Last Mile Problem at Large Railway Stations (Paris, France)
It’s only a 1km between Paris’s Gare de Lyon (90,000,000 annual passengers) and the Gare d’Austerlitz (30,000,000 annual passengers) two of the metropolis’s biggest train stations — about a 10-minute walk. But if you’re hurrying between stations in summer, hauling a heavy suitcase, that’s a very long 10 minutes. So city councillor Jean-Bernard Bros of the RPG has called for a cable car study. Station to station, this system would cross the Seine River and over Charles de Gaulle Bridge.

Kolkata to See Aerial Ropeway Transit? (Kolkata, India)
Think your local traffic is bad? No wonder a local Indian ropeway manufacturer is working on a proposal with officials for an aerial ropeway in two sectors of Kolkata: Sealdah to the BBD Bagh area and Howrah to the new state secretariat at Nabanna. The system will travel at speeds of 12.5km, have 8-10 person cabins with an hourly capacity of 2,000-2,500 and cost Rs 20 crore per km (~USD$3 million).

Prefab Wooden Cable Car Summit Station (Toggenburg, Switzerland)
The construction of a wooden summit station was complete after its cable car helped haul 3,600 tons of materials over 1,200 trips. Built to respect local traditions and designs, the new facility was installed to further develop culture-based tourism in the region.

02
Jul

2015

Photo of the Week: Teleférico de Madrid

Post by Nick Chu

Fotos Teleférico

Image by Flickr user PP Madrid.

Photographer:
Photo by Flickr user PP Madrid.

About:
The Teleférico de Madrid has delighted passengers for nearly 50 years. Built by the now defunct Von Roll cable car manufacturer, it takes riders on a 2.5km journey at maximum heights of 40m. Visitors get a fantastic view of Casa de Campo and Parque del Oeste.

Every Thursday, the Gondola Project team will select stunning captures of CPT lines. We hope this will continue to bring more attention to the technology and provide visually impactful examples of cable car systems worldwide. If you’d like to submit or nominate a picture for our “Photo of the Week”, we’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or send us an email at gondola@creativeurbanprojects.com.

01
Jul

2015

Gulmarg Ticket Scam: An Expensive and Cautionary Lesson

Post by Steven Bochenek

Gulmarg Gondola. Image from Wikipedia.

A huge system of rip-offs was recently exposed in the Jammu and Kashmir Cable Car Corporation. This sophisticated and carefully organized scam sold cheaper, fake tickets to the public for the Gulmarg Gondola, one of Asia’s most scenic cable cars. The tickets looked so genuine that, according to the news story, management believes the scam could only have been an insider job. Authorities believe the fraud has been going on for a long time.

The scam was revealed when passengers were overheard speaking of cheaper but identical looking tickets. When their tickets were scanned for authenticity, it was only their bar codes that proved false and gave them away.

The entire affair is an expensive and painful lesson for the corporation and its shareholders. Gondola systems provide inexpensive infrastructure, but builders should not skimp on any necessary elements.

Had they used the cable car industry’s leading ticketing control systems, this scam would have been far harder to execute. We’ve always believed that it’s worth the investment to do things right. Paying for quality at the start means fewer hiccups later on. As the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” And in this case, they truly paid for what they got.

30
Jun

2015

Would You Call This An Eye-Sore?

Post by Steven Bochenek

After ugly mobile homes die they could become ACTV vaporetto stations, but no one is calling this transit system an eye-soar. Image by Steve Bochenek.

After ugly mobile homes die they could become ACTV vaporetto stations, but no one is calling this transit system an eye-soar. Image by Steve Bochenek.

If you’ve ever been to Venice, you know that it is always busy and getting around is never easy. There are no roads, just canals and walkways between buildings which can suddenly shrink by 80%, courtesy of the unique and quaint if frustrating urban planning. If you’re in a hurry, learn to say ‘Permesso’ while gently pushing your way through the crowds — or travel by water on the vaporetto.

A vaporetto is a waterbus, part of the ACTV transit system. It boasts 19 lines and is well loved by locals and tourists alike. Venetians carting bags of groceries on vaporetti sit cheek by jowl with international visitors. You are continually reminded that, though this town’s biggest industries are tourism and art, people do live here and Venice is not just some huge wet marble museum.

Great views, mildly interrupted by cheap and practical infrastructure (on the left). Image by Steve Bochenek.

Great views, mildly interrupted by cheap and practical infrastructure (on the left). Image by Steve Bochenek.

Like any public transit system, you have to buy tickets, struggle with complicated route maps and endure advertising. Unlike many systems, this one’s infrastructure is simple with tiny costs, yet is a huge draw for locals and visitors alike.

For travelers on a budget, vaporetti are the best way to see Venice on the cheap. (Gondolas — the kind not typically promoted on this site — may be romantic and famous but they’re slow and instantly impoverishing.) The babble of languages I heard included French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Tagalog and of course English in American, Australian, South African, Scots and English varieties.

A rhetorical question: Do you think this highly practical form of public transport is an eye-sore and destroys views of Venice? Probably not, even though those diesel engines spew fumes and blast harsh noises that carry over the water and bounce against the marble palazzo, back in your ears. Imagine titanic bolts rolling around in a massive dryer. The vaporetto stations, squat yellow boxes of Plexiglas and metal, look like what mobile homes become after they die. And heaven knows the advertising for cosmetic dentistry and health insurance can be annoying.

Enjoy the view while waiting for your stop  — or read the ads! Image by Steve Bochenek.

Enjoy the view while waiting for your stop — or read the ads! Image by Steve Bochenek.

Quick, spot the eye-soar! (A vaporetto is on the right.) Image by Steve Bochenek.

Quick, spot the eye-sore! (A vaporetto is on the right.) Image by Steve Bochenek.

None of these annoyances were here hundreds of years ago and they do regularly interrupt a lovely vista — but clearly they’re not harming tourism.

In fact, the ACTV and its vaporetti are a vibrant and living case study of how interesting yet low-cost transit can also become a crowd-pleaser and moneymaker.

A mode of transportation loved by tourists and locals. Image by Steve Bochenek.

A mode of transportation loved by tourists and locals. Image by Steve Bochenek.

The word ‘eye-sore’ is a common complaint we hear in NIMBY meetings when the gondolas we do promote here are proposed — especially in North America. We think they’re practical with simple low-cost infrastructure and, drawing tourists and commuters alike, a boon to the economy. Just like Venice’s vaporetti.

29
Jun

2015

System Dossier: BreckConnect

Post by Nick Chu

New BreckConnect Gondola

Image by Flickr user Visit Colorado.

The BreckConnect is a 2.3km (1.4mi) cable car which links the Town of Breckenridge to the Breckenridge Ski Resort. The opening of this system in 2006 meant that bus traffic between the two main activity nodes were significantly reduced. This was particularly important since the alpine resort is one of the most popular in America with over 1.5 million annual skier visits.

In the past visitors had to board crowded and untimely buses but now passengers simply park at the Miners and Tailings lot and then hop onto the gondola. The system effectively functions as the backbone of the Town’s transit network with many connections to the Summit Stage bus system.

The gondola was also able to connect to new areas of development at two mid-stations — Shock Hill and Peak 7. Thanks to the improvements in transport connectivity, property values at these sites were enhanced since visitors now had direct “Ski-in and Ski-out” privileges. Together, the Town and the resort continues to work together to stimulate more development.

The system has a built in capacity of 2,800 pph (with 120-143 cabins) which enables it to accommodate large flows of passengers travelling between the various sites. Similar to the Telluride and Mountain Village Gondola, the entire gondola system is free to ride for all passengers. To take a virtual ride of the system yourself, check out this great Youtube video.

A big thanks goes out to Billy Beasley for helping with this article. 

Length (km) 2.3
Stations 4
Year Opened 2006
Capacity 2,800
Fare Free
Trip Time 8-10 minutes
Maximum speed (m/s) 5
26
Jun

2015

Weekly Roundup: Urban Cable Car Proposals in San Diego, Amsterdam and Taiping

Post by Nick Chu

 

Illustration of San Diego Skyway.

Illustration of San Diego Skyway.

A quick look at some of the things that happened this week in the world of urban gondolas, cable cars and cable propelled transit:

Study Complete in San Diego (San Diego, California)
The study for a 2-mile (3.2km) urban gondola from San Diego Bay to Balboa Park is now complete. Estimates predict costs of $65-75 million and annual ridership of up to 1.1 million. The complete ride on the 4-station line would take about 12 minutes. Officials agreed to study the project more, focusing on design, engineering, environmental and regulatory issues.

Bukit Larut Plans to Proceed (Taiping, Malaysia)
Bukit Larut (aka Maxwell Hill) may soon get its cable car. The Perak Government is proceeding with plans for a 3.5km, RM65 million (US$17.3 million) cable car, an idea first raised 1997. Opponents’ concerns about environmental impact and financial sustainability were trumped. The cable car will have less impact than a new road, and the Taiping Zoo already receives 650,000 visitors annually.

Amsterdam Cable Car (The Netherlands)
Amsterdam is seriously considering a cable car connection Amsterdam-Noord and the city centre. As Noord has grown in recent years, so has ferry usage across the IJ River. Some believe a cable car could improve cross–river transport.

Daredevil Flies into Cable Car (Chamonix, France)
Arnaud Longobardi, a speedflyer, pulled off an almost impossible feat. He launched himself off the side of a mountain, gliding at speeds of up to 80kph, before this perfect landing in a moving cable car.

25
Jun

2015

Photo of the Week: Katsuragiyama Ropeway

Post by Nick Chu

Image by Flickr user ★Kumiko★.

Photographer:
Photo by Flickr user ★Kumiko★

About:
Japan’s Katsuragiyama Ropeway, a 1.8km sightseeing gondola, opened in 1992. Traveling at a maximum height difference of 411m, the system is located in the Shizuoka Prefecture. So it provides magnificent views of Mount Fuji before taking passengers to the summit of Katsuragi.

Every Thursday, the Gondola Project team will select stunning captures of CPT lines. We hope this will continue to bring more attention to the technology and provide visually impactful examples of cable car systems worldwide. If you’d like to submit or nominate a picture for our “Photo of the Week”, we’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or send us an email at gondola@creativeurbanprojects.com.

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