New Urban Gondola To Open This Year: The Nizhny Novgorod Cable Car

Post by Steven Dale


The Nizhny Novogord Station. Image via nnkd.ru.

Everytime this happens, I get excited . . .

Over the weekend, Toms sends me a link to a new Urban Gondola system. But this isn’t just a proposal, concept or idea. This one is actually being constructed right now.

The system will connect the downtown of Russia’s fifth largest city, Nizhny Novgorod, to an outlying municipality named Bor located 3 kilometers to the North, across the Volga River.


Bor Station rendering, Nizhny Novogorod Cable Car. Image via nnkd.ru.

Designed and manufactured by the Poma group of companies, the system uses the now-all-too-familiar Diamond cabins made popular in Medellin and Rio.

After several delays, the system is due to open later this year and is a curious blend of the modest and the ambitious (for a complete list of specifications, check the project website):

  • Length: ~ 3.5 km
  • Speed: 18 km/hr
  • Wind Tolerance: 72 km/hr
  • Slope of line: 2% (basically this is a perfectly flat system)
  • Minimum operating temperature: -30 degrees celsius
  • Capacity: 1,000 pphpd

Most curious is the price of the system. At 550 million rubles, this system is priced at around ~$6 million USD per kilometer (~$20 million USD total), which is an absolute rock bottom price. It would be useful to know if that price includes station architecture – but even if it didn’t, that would still be a remarkably cheap urban cable system.


Nizhny Novogorod Cable Car Station. Image via rrkd.ru.

Having said that, the system isn’t as robust as other urban gondola systems in terms of intermediary stations, capacity and corners. In many ways, the system bears a striking resemblance to the Vinpearl Land Gondola in Vietnam which came in at much the same price.

(That price doesn’t also state what the annual operations and maintenance costs are expected to be. It’s important to recognize that capital costs are only half the equation here. If the O&M costs are outlandish and outside of norms, that can quickly eat away at any capital cost savings.)

Unlike the Vinpearl Land system, however, the Nizhny Novogorod Cable Car (NNCC) caters to the local commuter. According to the project website, the existing connection between Bor and Nizhny is a circuitous 27 km journey of highways and vehicular traffic.

Replacing that journey with a 3 km long straight shot by gondola seems logical and appropriate.


Nizhny Novogorod Cable Car. Image via nnkdru.

Preliminary reports suggest the price of riding the cable car will be equivalent to a single bus fare but there’s no word on whether or not transfers between the system and Nizhny’s other public transit modes will be allowed. (Note: A commenter states this may not, in fact, be true.)

As always, if anyone finds any more information about this system, please post it (with links) in the comments.

Construction of the Bor Station for the Nizhny Novgorod gondola. Image by Lzhl.


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  1. Does a wind tolerance of 72 km/hr represent when it is unsafe to ride in a cabin, or when they have to be stowed or when there is catastrophic failure of the cable? From Wellington, 2nd windiest inhabited place in NZ, after Kaikoura (and in 3rd place is Scott Base in the Ross Dependency).
  2. It appears to be a mono-cable system, hence the poor wind tolerance. The 72km/h is likely to be the point where the system shuts down. If a working system is caught in a wind gust, the system will slow or stop till the gust has passed and the system sensors deem it is safe to move the cable again - this is usually for a few seconds. If it was a really windy day, the cabins would be likely to be stowed away if average wind speeds where at the 'upper limit' for a significant amount of time. The 3S and Funitel detachable systems can operate without disruption in wind speeds of up to 100km/h. These technologies would be the only option for a city like Wellington.
  3. "Preliminary reports suggest the price of riding the cable car will be equivalent to a single bus fare" That's probably not correct. Bus fare is 12 roubles so taking a cable car will cost five times more. http://translate.google.ch/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newtariffs.ru%2Ftariff%2Ftarify-stoimost-proezda-passazhirov-v-obshchestvennom-transporte-i-metro-nizhnego-novgoroda-d
  4. they're making progress: [img]http://www.myxin.ru/fotos/poezdki/nnov/11.04.11/nnov-9.jpg[/img] [img]http://www.myxin.ru/fotos/poezdki/nnov/11.04.11/nnov-17.jpg[/img]
  5. Interesting station. Very ski-hill.
  6. Matt the Engineer
    And why not? Ski hill stations are practically off-the-shelf components. For the price they're trying to build this for, I think it's a great idea. Other than the cost of land and the pretty architecture that cities generally build for any project, there's little reason urban gondolas need to cost more than ski gondolas. It should actually be easier to construct - you don't have to helicopter equipment up to the top of a hill, you can bring it in by ship/rail/truck. If you're trying to impress the world with how beautiful a gondola station can look, you're going to spend a lot of money. But sometimes function is much more important than form.
  7. all the renderings look directly like a ski gondola with a separate architectural component. we shouldn't rule out the possibility of a future, after-the-fact and potentially well designed covering.