Post by Steven Dale
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.
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.
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.
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.
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