01
Jun

2010

Aerial Technologies, Lesson 6: Pulsed Gondolas

Post by Steven Dale

The Grenoble, France Pulsed Gondola System. Image by Marv!

Pulsed Gondolas are a semi-rare subset of the CPT universe and generally not appropriate for mass transit installations. Most were built in the mid to late 20th century, and it’s uncommon to find pulsed systems built nowadays.

Pulsed Gondolas behave with trains of gondolas moving together in packs (or ‘pulses’) in either an MDG or BDG configuration. This would seem like an intriguing concept at first, except for one problem: As far as I know, all Pulsed Gondolas are non-detachable. This lack of detachability translates into slow speeds, long wait times, and low capacity. It also means that corner-turning is fairly impossible (though not entirely).

You can see in the video below how a pulsed system operates in stations. Notice how not only do the vehicles slow down, but so does the bullwheel itself. In other words, for people to board and alight a Pulsed Gondola system, all vehicles must be stopped at the same time for this form of the technology to function:




Because of their lack of detachability, Pulsed Gondolas are very cost-effective. This, I suspect, is why some places still opt to build these systems rather than others. If all you require is a point-to-point system with no intermediary stops and a system capacity below 500 pphpd then maybe a Pulsed Gondola is for you. Otherwise, look elsewhere.

There is one question worth pondering, however: Let’s consider advanced aerial systems like Funitels or 3S systems. These systems can move upwards of 6,000 pphpd. Is there a way to fuse the Pulsed Gondola concept of vehicle trains and remix that with a more contemporary detachable system?

Currently such a version of the technology doesn’t exist, but if it could be developed safely and cost-effectively, cable systems could double or triple line capacities. Such an increase would make them competitive with virtually all standard transit technologies, metros and subways included. As cable vehicles themselves are quite cheap compared to systems as a whole, the small marginal increase in cost would more than justify the large marginal increase in capacity.

For another video of a Pulsed Gondola system, check out this past post on the Spokane Falls Skyride.

Return to Aerial Technologies, Lesson 7: 3S

Return to Aerial Technologies, Lesson 5: Aerial Trams



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Comments

  1. With evenly spaced stations there would be no disadvantage using pulsed gondolas. It is a constraint to station placing and route selection but could work in some places. Also pulsed gondolas make a full stop at station also platform doors would be possible. A full stop is needed to comply with the design laws in urban transit. At ski resort station attendants are at all stations need to stop the gondolas circulating and let disabled people alight and board the gondolas.
  2. "Is there a way to fuse the Pulsed Gondola concept of vehicle trains and remix that with a more contemporary detachable system?" (like Funitel or 3S) I don't see why you would combine Pulsed technology with something like 3S. 3S itself is great, and part of this greatness comes from the fact that it runs continuously! Make a Pulsed 3S would make it a lot less attractive, no? I think my problem is, I really don't see the advantages of such a system like Pulsed gondolas. Are there any, apart from its cost-effectiveness?