Post by Steven Dale
Mid last year a company called Teleferic Valencia announced plans to build the world’s longest Urban Gondola system at around 13 km with 7 total stations.
The announcement caused little buzz outside this seaside Spanish city and I just heard about this system the other day thanks to a kind reader’s email. According to Valencia Property Hound (VPH), the system is expected to cost €100, mostly coming from the private sector. Check out the company’s video:
I have no idea how serious this is. The above video seems to have decent production values, but few tangible facts (even given my limited Spanish) It seems semi-legit, but also smacks of a Toy for Tourists type installation. Such urban installations rarely get off the ground and when they do, they don’t last for long.
Aside from the ubiquitous sight-seeing tour bus, most tourists seem to prefer traveling a city much the same way the locals do. It enhances their appreciation for how the locals live. Which is – arguably – the whole point of visiting far off places and cities in the first place. Specialty urban transit systems targeted at tourists just don’t tend to work.
But who knows . . . Maybe it will work for the tourists. The system is linking an F1 race track, a cruise ship port, museums, etc. But this system certainly isn’t, however, geared for locals who would be unlikely to spend €14 for a round trip (at least beyond their initial voyage to see what everything’s all about).
But if you look closely, you realize that the numbers here just don’t add up. The VPH website says the cabins will carry between 15 and 30 people. Who is VPH quoting? If it’s officials with Teleferic Valencia, then someone was clearly given the wrong information and someone in PR is probably getting pink-slipped. That, or Teleferic Valencia has little understanding of ropeway technology at all. Let me explain:
The video clearly depicts 8-10 person MDG cabins such as are found in Medellin or Caracas. If the cabins were to carry 30 people, then a 3S system would be in order. But if a 3S system were to implemented, there is no way Teleferic Valencia could build a 13 km, 7 station line. Not for the €100 price tag VPH provides. No way. Ever. The trip speeds quoted also seem strangely suspect.
None of this proposal seems to fit together. So what’s the deal? Is this a legitimate proposal? Is it just a way to spur real estate development in the Valencia Portlands? What is this system? Anyone have any thoughts or additional insights to lend to this conversation? Is this just another monorail?
Special thanks to Katharina who sent in the above links!
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