18
Feb

2010

The Las Vegas Cable Cars

Post by Steven Dale

The Mandalay Bay Tram. Image by Steven Dale

I just returned from touring the Mandalay Bay and City Centre cable transit systems in Las Vegas. There’s much to say about both, but I’ll leave a more complex analysis for another day.

When it came to american public transit back in the late 1800’s, cable cars ruled the roost. One of the major hassles and costs associated with the systems, however, was the cable itself. No one knew how long one would last. Rare was the cable that lasted two years and most lasted less than one single year.

Replacing a cable was complex and expensive. In some instances, cable maintenance and replacement were the single largest operating expenses any cable transit operator faced.

Things change. Fast-forward 130 years later . . .

The Mandalay Bay Cable Car's Back-Up Cable. Image by Steven Dale

Above is a spool of cable for the Mandalay Bay Cable Car. It was a back-up, intended to replace the original cable once its lifespan had eclipsed. It arrived in the maintenance facility 11 years ago, when the tram first opened to the public in 1999. It’s never been touched, never been used. Why?

Because even after 11 years of operation and hundreds of millions of riders, the Mandalay Bay Cable Car is still using its original rope. Eleven years.

Things change.

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Cable Cars / Installations / Mandalay Bay
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