Kiel Harbour Gondola (Stadtseilbahn, Kiel)

Post by Steven Dale

Jan sends along this interesting lead:


The Kiel Harbour Gondola (Stadtseilbahn, Kiel). Image via wikimedia.

I’d like to point you to a tiny CPT that once operated in my hometown Kiel (Germany), as it seems there are no English sources about it and it might be of interest for you.

It was a landmark and attraction in town as it was quite unique. It was installed by the owner of a department store to make a parking garage, that was located on the other side of the Old Harbour, more accessible. It spanned an enormous distance of ~140 meters, had two gondolas for 15 people each and one journey took about 70 seconds.

I suppose its one of the earliest urban CPT’s. It was opened in 1974 and transported nearly 3 Mio. people until it was closed in 1991 for financial reasons, although many people and the city tried to change the new owner’s mind. As it was free, it was quite popular: there are reports of 50m long queues at certain times.

But in the end the owner didn’t want to replace the old cable. And the staff costs were probably to high for the owner, as there was some sort of “cabin boy” aboard.

Thanks so much for this, Jan!

As so many of our readers are from German-speaking countries, it would be great if some of them could help gather more details on this system. Please put any information you find in the comments.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.


  1. looks quaint. the grips make it look like an aerial tram.
  2. Well there are only two cabins, so it must be like a mini Aerial Tram. Does anyone but me find it incredibly strange that a system (admittedly limited) could be installed cheaply enough to act as transport between a mall and a parking facility?
  3. Matt the Engineer
    Not in the slightest. At it's core, this is some steel cable, a handful of pulleys, a motor, and some boxes with doors. Your main cost is probably labor to run and maintain the thing (though running it can be easy enough that a minimum wage kid can do it). I find it incredibly strange that these haven't been installed between more parking lots and malls. Seattle is currently expanding our light rail system across the lake to the east side, but they're planning on running a ton of busses over the lake because the nearest station to the current park-and-ride is too far away to walk. Duh - put in a simple gondola connecting the station to the parking lot and you've saved saved who-knows-how-many buses.
  4. i find it more strange how expensive parking facilities are
  5. So two things, then: 1. Is this a new market we haven't really thought about for urban gondolas? Are we basically talking about something akin to the bottom-supported cable cars in Vegas only for shopping malls? 2. How do we convince P3 (Politicians, Policy-makers & Planners) that cable is straightforward, cheap and simple and they shouldn't mess with it? I'm honestly worried about how systems like Burnaby and London are dramatically increasing costs for no reason whatsoever.
  6. Matt the Engineer
    I think the real challange is to get another player or two in the marketplace. When there's just two manufacturers of anything, prices will be high. I think gondolas are looking more and more high class to try to justify their price. Regulators will regulate. And I'm fine with that. We don't want any cars falling from the sky.