Love is in the Air! (Again) – Emirates Air Line Cable Car

Post by Nick Chu

Emirates Air Line Valentines Day special. Image by Tfl.

Emirates Air Line Valentines Day special. Image by Tfl.

Looking for a way to really impress your sweetheart come this Valentines Day? Well, if you’re in London next week, the Emirates Air Line cable car will offer passengers a chance to woo their partner with a romantic experience aboard a private cabin excursion.

For just £50 per couple, you and your lovebird get roundtrip tickets, Laurent Perrier champagne, and a box of Godiva chocolates. Not too bad of a deal if you ask me.

The cable car will be gushing with romance, from playing a mixture of modern and classic lovey-dovey songs to towers being lit up in glowing pink! And in case you’re ready to take the next big step, proposing on a cable car is a surefire way to melt her heart and get her to say yes.

Spots will probably fill out quickly, so better plan ahead Romeo before tickets sell out.

TFL - Valentines 3

Infrastructure doesn’t get any more romantic than this. Image by Tfl.




Look How Far Cable Cars Have Come In Six Years

Post by Steven Dale

Caracas Metrocable. Image by Steven Dale.

This website went live on December 1, 2009. In that time, a whole lot has changed (note: all numbers drawn from our own internal research, estimates and databases):

  • Back in 2009, less than 10% of the world’s ropeway projects were built in the urban market. Today more than 20% of cable cars are built in cities.
  • Back in 2009, only six 3S / Tricable Detachable Gondola cable cars existed in the world. Today, 15 are operational — a growth of 150% in just six years.
  • Back in 2009, only three urban cable cars existed in Latin America (not including tourist systems). Today, more than ten are now operational with approximately another two dozen in the various planning and implementation stages.
  • Back in 2009, American interest in cable cars was limited to the occasional private sector tourism play. Today, there are several government-led cable car projects in various stages of research, planning and development with more popping up seemingly by the week.

In no way are we claiming responsibility for that growth. Our role is tiny in the grand scheme of things.

Our role is to educate, to enlighten and—most of all—to provide the fastest, easiest place on the internet for people who want to learn about cable cars to be able to do so.

Knowledge that’s easy-to-find, easy-to-access and easy-to-understand spreads quickly. That, perhaps, has been the biggest lesson of this entire experience—at least for me.

Wanna’ spread an idea? Don’t assume that the idea is your property and try to protect it. Just give it away.

The rest will take care of itself.



Photo of the Week: Teleférico da Providência (Rio de Janeiro)

Post by Nick Chu



World Record Setting Gondola Opens: Fansipan Legend (Cable Car)

Post by Nick Chu

Just yesterday we wrote a post of the massive changes happening in the Vietnam and the ropeway industry. And today it appears that the Fansipan Legend (cable car) finally made its maiden voyage! Despite its remote location, pictures and posts of the cable car are already sprouting up on social media.

After a 2+ year wait, dignitaries and guests were invited to experience what is currently the world’s longest 3S cable car (until the Hòn Thơm–Phú Quốc Ropeway opens) and the world’s highest elevation change for a 3S (1410m).

While some still have concerns over the cable cars impact on the environment, the gondola has undoubtedly opened up natural scenery that was once available only to an exclusive minority. From what was previously an exhausting 2 day hike, visitors of all ages and mobility levels, can now partake in an exciting 15 minute aerial journey to the roof of Indochina.

For more coverage of this groundbreaking event, click here.




New Heavyweight Ropeway Champ: Vietnam

Post by Nick Chu

Queen Cable Car (Cáp Treo Nữ Hoàng Hạ Long City). Image from Cap Treo Ha Long.

Ha Long Bay’s new cable car will break two records: Tallest tower and largest cabins. Image from Cap Treo Ha Long.

The world of ropeways is being completely flipped upside down as we know it. In the past, ask someone about cable cars and they’d likely think of the snowy alpine peaks of Switzerland/Austria/France — or perhaps more recently, the rugged urban terrain of South America. However, in the near future, Vietnam may become the mecca of ropeways.

In fact, next to Bolivia, Vietnam may be one of the most cable car crazed nation in the world and the country is in the midst of a massive ropeway construction boom.

It’s difficult to say exactly how many systems are in the planning/construction phase, but it appears there are three record-breaking cable cars currently underway. And this doesn’t include the headline-making ropeway that was proposed for the world’s largest cave, Sơn Đoòng.

Amongst the flurry of activity, here’s a recap of some of the most impressive cable car projects.


188.8m tower recently completed. Image by Cap Treo Ha Long.

1. Tallest Ropeway Tower and Biggest Ropeway Cabin: Queen Cable Car (Cáp Treo Nữ Hoàng Hạ Long)

Scheduled to open this year, the Cáp Treo Nữ Hoàng (directly translated to Cable Car Queen) will single-handedly break two records. Its 230-passenger cabins will be the largest while its 188.8m tower will be the tallest.

Previously, these records belonged to the double decker cabins found in the Vanoise Express (200 persons) and the 113.6m tall tower on Gletscherbahn Kaprun 3 in Austria.

This aerial tram system is part of a larger development project (includes an aquarium, giant ferris wheel, and waterpark) aimed to boost tourism in Ha Long Bay. 

2. Longest 3S Gondola: Hòn Thơm – Phú Quốc Ropeway

3S Alignment. Image from Doppelmayr.

3S Alignment. Image from Doppelmayr.

At 7.9km (4.9mi) in length, the Hòn Thơm – Phú Quốc Ropeway will be the world’s longest 3S cable car. Seventy 30-passenger cabins operating at a maximum speed of 8.5m/s will result in a line capacity of 3,500 pphpd. This Doppelmayr-built system, broke ground last September and is scheduled to open in early 2017. It will also feature towers that are 160m in height! This itself is quite impressive but somewhat pales in comparison to the 188.8m record-setting towers in Ha Long Bay.

3. Biggest Difference in Elevation Between Terminals (3S): Fansipan Cable Car


Fansipan cable car terminal site. Image by Kham Pa.

Once the 6.3km (3.9mi) Fanispan Cable Car opens, it will set a new world record for the biggest height difference for a 3S gondola. It will travel to the roof of Indochina from its base station (1604m) to its top station (3014m) for a total elevation gain of 1410m!

This breaks the previous record (1251m) set by the 3S Pardatschgrat in Ischgl, Austria. At a cost of approximately US$200 million, it is may also be one of the most expensive cable cars ever built.


With these three projects, cable car manufacturers have once again demonstrated their ability to adapt, advance and meet the changing needs of their clients. If the projects in Vietnam are a sign of things to come, readers should expect to see even bigger and badder ropeways in the future.



Georgetown Gondola Gains (Even More) Momentum

Post by Nick Chu


Conceptual rendering of Georgetown Gondola. Image from Georgetown BID.


The Georgetown-Rossyln Gondola (Washington, DC) proposal is gaining great momentum with many sponsors agreeing to back a feasibility study. Yesterday, Arlington County voted unanimously in favour to join a consortium and provide $35,000 to study the cable car.

We’re not entirely sure what the alignment will be, but the concept itself appears to share many characteristics found in successful cable transit lines — that is, it solves a clear last mile problem, connects to a rapid transit stop, and serves an activity node (22,000 workers/10,000 at university). As a quick comparison, the Portland Aerial Tram connects to OHSU, which employs just 14,000.

While the Portland system faced some initial opposition, all of this has been largely forgotten and the system today is heralded as a huge success — providing efficient, clean and convenient commutes to 7,000 riders a day.

In fact, the Portland Aerial Tram runs at capacity during rush hours. Image by Flickr user nickfalbo.

Looking to the East Coast now, a very similar situation is happening at the Roosevelt Island Tram in New York City. It too, transports greater than 2 million riders a year (or about 6,300 per day) and is an iconic system that’s deeply loved by locals.

Would similar results be replicated for the Georgetown system? It’s hard to say without more detailed analysis, but a quick time comparison indicates that a gondola could reduce trip times to just 3-5 minutes versus a 10-15 walk across the Key Bridge today.

Strangely enough, it appears some critics worry that the project is too tourism-focused. Without personally speaking to these opponents, the reasons for their beliefs are unclear. However, if you ask any urban cable car (or world-class transit system), attracting both visitor and local ridership is a massive benefit, not a cause for concern. I mean, capturing tourists is a clear sign that your transit system is useful. And economically speaking, non-local riders can bring in much needed revenue for the system and can catalyze positive change.

For those interested in urban gondolas, this proposal is definitely not one too be missed. If all goes according to plan, project proponents believe that the study can be completed by October 2016.



Photo of the Week: MIO Cable (Cali, Colombia)

Post by Nick Chu

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