Medellin/Caracas, Part 4

Post by Steven Dale

Last week I travelled to Medellin, Colombia and Caracas, Venezuela to tour five of the most important CPT systems in the world. This is Part 4 where I discuss the Medellin Metrocable's Linea L - Cable Arvi. Image by Steven Dale.

Medellin’s third and most recent Cable Propelled Transit line is Linea L – Cable Arvi. It is only a few weeks old and transports the people of Medellin up through the mountains and all the way to Parque Arvi (pronouned “Ar-bee”), a new nature preserve a few kilometres from the city. The park and transit line are part of a social project to help bring country retreats and nature to the masses, a privilege normally reserved only for the wealthy.

Despite the preserve being incomplete in time for Linea L’s official opening, the line has witnessed huge crowds, particularly on weekends. Unlike Medellin’s previous two cable lines, Linea L requires an additional fare to ride. To access Linea L, passengers must disembark at the Santo Domingo terminal of Linea K and cross over to another station and board Linea L. So while Linea L is very much a part of Metro Medellin as a whole, it is not “fully integrated” per se.

Authorities felt this lack of full integration was a necessary sacrifice. At 4.8 kms in length, Linea L’s USD$25 million price tag was rather affordable, however, were it fully integrated into the Metro’s single-fare zone, Metro Medellin did not expect this line to pay for itself. This is due to the very accurate assessment that users of Linea L will consist largely of local tourists. Full-integration was, therefore not necessary.

Nevertheless, transfers are relatively hassle-free due to an elevated cross-over connecting the two lines, and the system seems no more outside the scope of Metro Medellin’s mandate than either of its previous two cable endeavors.

A passenger cross-over connects the Santo Domingo terminals of the Arbi Linea L (left) and Linea K (right). Image by Steven Dale.

A passenger cross-over connects the terminals of Arvi Linea L (left) and Linea K (right). Image by Steven Dale.

As Linea L just opened, much civil work surrounding the terminals is ongoing. Also: Notice the solar panel affixed to the roof of the gondola. This feature powers interior electronics within the vehicles and is becoming very standard on all urban cable transit systems. Image by Steven Dale.

Ascending Parque Arvi from Santo Domingo. Image by Steven Dale.

En Route to the Parque Arvi terminal. Image by Steven Dale.

En route to the Parque Arvi terminal. Image by Steven Dale.

The Parque Arvi terminal is an elegant play of glass, wood and steel meant to reference the forest setting. Image by Steven Dale.

The Parque Arvi terminal perfectly demonstrates how the station architecture of cable is separate from the infrastructure itself. Stations are simply shells and can be as small, large, creative or bland as people desire. Image by Steven Dale.

Taking advantage of the space afforded by the maintenance facility, park designers integrated a farmers' market at the Parque Arvi terminal. Image by Steven Dale.

The Arvi Linea L affords riders an unrivaled view of the entirety of Linea K. Image by Steven Dale.

Return to Part 3.

Move on to Part 5.

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  1. In some of the pictures on this page I see solor panels, which makes me curious... I'm not sure what season you went, but was there any climate control for the cabins? (Considering they are travelling out in the sun the majority of the time, it seems like they could become rather hot, and quick!) Did you happen to ride it at night or evening? Any idea if there is cabin illumination?
  2. Jeff, Climate control and illumination are more than possible. Basic systems tend not to have those features, however.