30
Oct

2014

Cable Car Photo of the Week: Linea Verde (Line Green) Meets Linea Amarilla (Line Yellow) in La Paz

Post by Nick Chu

Linea Verde meets Linea Amarilla in La Paz, Bolivia. Image by Photobucket ZPLAQ.

Linea Verde meets Linea Amarilla in La Paz, Bolivia. Image by Photobucket user ZPLAQ.

Photographer: 

Photo by Photobucket user ZPLAQ.

About:

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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28
Oct

2014

Military Cable Cars

Post by Nick Chu

Guest post by Ross Edgar.

Over the years, the Gondola Project has discussed numerous different applications of Cable Propelled Transit (CPT), highlighting the versatility and adaptability of such technology. However, one particular avenue of CPT remains largely unexplored: military cable systems.

Military applications of CPT do not readily spring to mind, yet in Alpine nations CPT has been used extensively for this purpose. An early example of this is the Reisszug in Salzburg which has provided a supply route from the city to the fortress since the early sixteenth century. More extensive use of CPT for military applications can be found throughout the twentieth century, particularly in Switzerland.

Reisszug. Image by Wikipedia User Magnus Manske.

The Swiss National Redoubt, originally conceived in the late nineteenth century, was designed as a defensive system to protect the country in the event of invasion. The National Redoubt was subsequently revised on a number of occasions throughout the twentieth century, most notably under General Henri Guisan during the Second World War. The strategy pragmatically recognised the limited resources and manpower of Switzerland in comparison to the major European powers. Therefore, a strategy was created that did not endeavour to compete with such power, but aimed to ensure that any incursion into Swiss territory would be so bloody and would result in such huge losses that invasion would be rendered entirely unattractive. This strategy repelled both Nazi and Soviet aggression and guaranteed Swiss neutrality throughout the twentieth century.

The twentieth century National Redoubt featured static defences protecting strategic transportation nodes including mountain passes and railway tunnels. These defences included forts, gun emplacements, bunkers and other hardened positions which formed an armoured ring around the Swiss interior, creating a fall-back position for the government and the population and denying access to the aggressor. These defences are characterised by their highly effective concealment with examples including bunkers disguised as chalets and gun turrets disguised as large boulders.

Today, such hardened positions have been largely replaced with more technological defences but the exact details are not in the public domain. However, the majority of structures still exist and a number are open to the public as museums. A select few of the original defences remain in military use and have been widely upgraded to meet modern threats.

It is as part of the National Redoubt that Switzerland employs CPT technology in a military context. Due to the topography of Switzerland and the strategic advantage of altitude, many defences are constructed on mountain passes, in high pastures or even on mountain peaks. While providing a military advantage, this also presents a logistical challenge with the requirement for transport of men and materiel to such inaccessible locations. Therefore CPT is used to connect installations, both with other installations and with the valley below.

DSCF2454

Can you seen the cable system? Image by Ian Edgar.

The example illustrated in this post is on the Weissfluhgipfel above Davos in the east of Switzerland. It is not entirely clear what military facilities are present on the Weissfluhgipfel or what specific purpose the cable system serves in this instance, but the presence of CPT technology serving a military facility is very clear. The terminus pictured is evidently built into the mountainside and presumably has subterranean access to the facility above. This facility has been clearly designed to blend into the surrounding landscape.

DSCF2460

Subterranean station? Image by Ian Edgar.

Information on Alpine military cable systems is not readily available as many of these defensive networks have not been methodically catalogued and, particularly in the Swiss case, are shrouded in secrecy. However, both Italy and France built similar extensive defensive lines in the Alps in the twentieth century, known as the Alpine Wall and the Alpine Line respectively. It would be logical to conclude that the obvious benefits of CPT technology in an Alpine environment would have been utilised here also.

Closer look at entrance. Image by Ian Edgar.

Closer look at entrance. Image by Ian Edgar.



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24
Oct

2014

Weekly Roundup: Students Propose Urban Gondola in Zurich; Vietnam Plans Cable Car in World’s Largest Cave

Post by Nick Chu

Sơn Đoòng Cave. Image by Flickr user Nguyen Tan Tin.

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



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22
Oct

2014

Aerobus: Ahead of Its Time?

Post by Nick Chu

We may have posted this video earlier but recently there has been some comments about the Aerobus which made me revisit the technology.


Based off some quick Google searches, it seems like it has been awhile since anyone online has given Aerobus the time of day. The last news article mentioned that a few developments were made in Ecuador but there appears to be little word on what progress has been made so far (at least in the English language).

Digging through Gondola Project’s past blog posts, we ourselves actually had some interesting but cursory discussions on the technology (click here).

But after watching the Aerobus promotional video again last night, it got me thinking: was the Aerobus a technology that was ahead of its time?

Perhaps to partially answer that question, we can take look at the technology and its basic claims/achievements:

  • Capacity: up to 10,000 pphpd
  • Speeds: up to 60km/h
  • Headways: 60 seconds
  • Estimated cost: $23 million/km

Now some of the variables are hard to ascertain. Supporters may assert that a few pilot systems were implemented back in the 1970s-90s but I imagine that argument, unfortunately, holds little weight in today’s time.

On the flip side, we often contend that “No City Wants to Be First But Every City Wants to be Second” and that without the internet, cable transit may not be where it is today.

So let’s just assume that another pilot Aerobus was safely redesigned, financed, and implemented in a city, would the technology take off? I certainly don’t have a clear answer right now but it’s got me thinking more.

If the technology has ever had a chance to redefine itself and gain a foothold in the urban transport market, the time may be now. In comparison to the 70s, in today’s environment the Aerobus may have many of the necessary ingredients to succeed: escalating traffic congestion, massive urbanizing populations and the increasing need for innovative, green and sustainable transit solutions.

But I feel that I’m almost certainly missing something here and maybe readers with a greater knowledge of the technology and history can help provide guidance to this post. What are your thought? Am I onto something or not even remotely?

I’d love to hear from you.

 



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17
Oct

2014

Weekly Roundup: Tender for Urban Cable Car in Brest (Téléphérique) Released.

Post by Nick Chu

Urban Cable Car (Téléphérique) in Brest. Image from Capucins Brest.

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

  • The tiny pacific island of American Samoa once had a cable car, that is until a military plane severed the line during an exhibition. While the system has been out of commission since the 1980s, the governor is now looking to rebuild the cable car.


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16
Oct

2014

Cable Car Photo of the Week: Telluride / Mountain Village Gondola

Post by Nick Chu

Telluride / Mountain Village Gondola. Image by Flickr user Ken Lund.

Photographer: 

Photo by Flickr user Ken Lund.

About:

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.



Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.

14
Oct

2014

The Hybrid Monorail-Funicular-Cable Car?

Post by Nick Chu

Every so often we are confronted with wonderful and mysterious transportation devices (see Chinese Tunnel Bus). Today, we happen to come across the Sistema Monorail Con Funiculares (or the Monorail System With Funiculars) — a conceptual transit system designed by ECOLVIAS from Medellin, Colombia.

There’s not much information about this technology but it does make me wonder what type of advantages/disadvantages one might discover if you fuse monorail technology with cable cars. Perhaps it offers greater stability, capacity and/or speeds? Or maybe it’s as simple as being able to travel in style onboard teardrop-shaped cabins. Without any additional details it’s really anybody’s guess at this time.

But perhaps our engineer readers have a better idea and could provide us with your thoughts!



Big thanks goes out to Guenther for the link.



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