Design Considerations

04
Dec

2015

“Rope Is Just Rope, Isn’t It?” (Fatzer’s Surprisingly Different Stabilo® Rope)

Stabilo rope's reliability and load capacity make it ideal for gondola, 2S and 3S cableways.

Stabilo rope’s reliability and load capacity make it ideal for MDG, BDG and 3S cableways.

Wondering whether choice of rope really matters? Look at it this way: If you were responsible for building a tram in your city, wouldn’t you want to know all you could about the track?

Awhile back, the Gondola Project posted an article about the often-overlooked issue of the weight-bearing cable or “rope” is it’s known in this, the “ropeway” industry. The gist of the story was that choosing the wrong rope, or leaving it to the last minute, can be inconvenient at best and extremely expensive or even unsafe at worst.

Today, we begin to examine Fatzer’s individual rope products, used for ropeways worldwide — this first one is Stabilo®. Fatzer ensures us that the differences between the products are subtle but important. Having produced literally thousands of miles of rope for transporting people in cable cars and chairlifts, they know what they’re talking about.

Most rope changes significantly with use, but not Stabilo. It remains, well, stable.

All ropes are made up of many wound strands of wire. Often, those strands are wound round a core of different materials. After the rope is put into use, the rope continually bends at the ropeway’s wheels. Friction from contact with the between strands of wire creates minute notches on them. The notches begin rubbing against each other, eventually breaking the wire.

Polyethylene core stabilizes movement and reduces elongation. (Photo from Fatzer.com)

Polyethylene core stabilizes movement and reduces elongation. (Photo from Fatzer.com)

Furthermore, with repeated cycles the strands quickly begin settling. Eventually they work their way into the core, changing it, narrowing its diameter and elongating the rope. The entire set of issues lessens the life expectancy of the rope.

Fatzer’s solution? Stabilize the core and prevent contact between the wire strands.

A Stabilo rope’s interior is filled with a polyethylene core rod, which is heated during the formation process. What results are compressed and minuscule layers of plastic between the strands, which are now kept separate at a uniform distance. So there’s a stable diameter at the core of the rope, for a weight-bearing cable that is less prone to stretching and, therefor, longer lasting.

The ideal applications for Stabilo ropes are continuously circling cableways, which demand longer and uninterrupted performance. All ropes stretch, though. Eventually even Stabilo requires maintenance for shortening (and ultimately replacement). Stabilo is the right choice for a ropeway that can only be halted at specified, predictable periods. Learn more here.

Materials on this page are paid for. Gondola Project (including its parent companies and its team of writers and contributors) does not explicitly or implicitly endorse third parties in exchange for advertising. Advertising does not influence editorial content, products, or services offered on Gondola Project.



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Design Considerations / Fatzer / Lessons / Technology
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13
Oct

2015

The 10 Most Beautiful Examples of Elevated Transport Infrastructure – Part 2

As I said yesterday, elevated transport infrastructure don’t get no love.

In this, the second of two posts, we wrap up our list of the 10 most beautiful examples of elevated public transport infrastructure from around the world.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

 

5. Station Square, Forest Hills Gardens – Queens, New York

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Forest Hills Station. Image by flickr user Peter Dutton.

As one of the first stops along New York City’s Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) commuter rail system, Forest Hills station is something to behold. Or not . . .

After all, the station itself is somewhat invisible, playing second-fiddle to the rest of the square. It doesn’t announce itself the way the rest of the plaza does, but instead acts as a curious Northern gateway into the square for daily commuters. Built in 1906 for the wealthy residents of Forest Hills Gardens of Queens, New York Station Square, understands the importance of vistas and viewsheds. It harkens back to old Europe, a place where enclosed public plazas are as common as parking lots are in Texas.

Read more



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09
Oct

2015

The 10 Most Beautiful Examples Of Elevated Transport Infrastructure – Part 1

Image by flickr user Steward Leiwakabessy.

Elevated transport infrastructure don’t get no love.

Architects and urban designers decry their ugliness and their ability to rip apart neighbourhoods and very few people are willing to step up and argue against that point.

But to prove that elevated infrastructure isn’t always the city killer critics claim, we asked readers of The Gondola Project to help us come up with a list of the 10 most beautiful examples of elevated transport infrastructure around the world.

To make this list we didn’t consider any standard transit metrics like speed, reliability and capacity. We also didn’t consider the view the various systems afforded their riders. All we considered were the aesthetics of the systems as they interact with the urban fabric that surrounds them.

Note: This list is highly unscientific and prone to gross subjectivity. Feel free to argue about them all you want. This list isn’t about science, it’s about inspiration. Hopefully, this list can help people imagine a world where elevated infrastructure doesn’t destroy the urban form, but actively contributes to it instead.

This is Part 1 of 2.

Read more



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25
Mar

2015

Quick Dwell Times Demonstrated Again – Steinbergbahn

The topic of dwell times has always been a gripping issue on the Gondola Project (see here and here). Arguably, this talking point is now increasingly important as more urban cable cars are built. And let’s be honest, in today’s fast-paced city centers, no one wants to spend a few minutes sitting in a station.

We previously witnessed 40 second dwell times on the gondola lift in Hasliberg, Switzerland but never had video evidence.

Luckily, thanks to reader Tommy W, he sent us a clip of the new Steinbergbahn in Saalbach, Austria which provides evidence that mid-station dwell times can indeed be 40 seconds. Take a look (starts at 1:43).

 



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02
Dec

2014

Design Solves Everything: Reversible Train Seats

Recently an incredibly intelligent individual casually said a few words to me during a meeting: “Design solves everything”. 

Strangely enough, I never thought about design in such an overtly simple manner.

And by pure coincidence, a few days later I found an awesome example of this phrase in action that I just had to share — the reversible train seat on Sydney Trains.



Now I’ve seen a few “traditional” reversible train seats but those are much more cumbersome to use. However with this design, travellers will no longer suffer from “backwards riding” motion sickness.

Why this seating arrangement has not been built into all trains by now is honestly a complete mystery to me. Or could it be that this is just another fine example of the old saying, “we don’t know what we don’t know“.

 



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02
Apr

2014

Fairy Tale Gondola in Grächen, Switzerland

If you have kids, taking them skiing is probably some of the most fun you can have together as a family. But what happens when just hitting the slopes is no longer enough?

Well, the Märchen-Gondelbahn system in Grächen (Switzerland) decided to one-up their offerings by introducing specially designed “Fairy Tale Gondolas”.

Fairy Tale Gondola. Image from RRO.ch.

Since the 2011/2012 season, children onboard cabins can now listen to timeless favourites such as Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty.

This one-of-kind feature was part of a larger multi-million dollar investment to attract more families to the resort. The classic fairy tales are voiced by Swiss actress Silvia Jost and last for the entire 7 minute journey.

A big thanks goes to Barry for sending us the link!



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Design Considerations / Just For Fun
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26
Mar

2014

Urban Gondolas: Innovative Station Designs, Part 2

This is a guest post by Billy Beasley.

It is the second article of a two-part series examining innovative station designs found in recreational cable cars that could be useful for urban implementation. Click here for the first article. 

Heavenly Mountain Gondola (Nevada)

In some situations, cabin parking may not be an issue — rather, it’s how to build a station in a terrain-constrained location.

One unique solution may be to literally “cut it in half”.

Heavenly Mountain Gondola mid-station. Image by Flickr user inkknife_2000.

This technique is used on many gondola systems but I’ll examine the gondola at Heavenly Mountain in South Lake Tahoe which takes guests from the resort village/hotels to the mountain.

The mountain wanted a mid-station on top of the ridge which has beautiful views of Lake Tahoe but instead of constructing a full station, they only built the mid-station for the side of the lift that was going up.



The uphill side of the line stops at the viewing deck but the downhill side travels down without stopping, saving time on the downhill ride time, space and money because only one side of the terminal and terminal equipment is being built. This was especially practical for Heavenly since there was no natural flat spot on the ridge so the deck had to be built sticking out from the side of the ridge. This would have meant that if the other side was built, the deck would have to be longer and stairs would have to be built to get to the other side where the best views are as well as shops and restaurants.

This could be useful in a tight urban space where there isn’t enough room for a full mid-station but access is required in one particular direction. 

Some aerial tramways terminals have shifting unloading platforms so only one tram unloading dock needs to be built instead of two. This technique conserves space and would be helpful for an urban gondola in a tight situation.

 

Skyeship Express Gondola (Killington, Vermont)

Killington, Vermont’s Skyeship Express Gondola is a two-stage gondola that can be run two different ways: as one continuous gondola or as two separate systems. At the mid-station, the cabins will either turn back around and go back down the line and the lift functions as two totally different system or the cabins continue on to the second stage and the lift functions as one big system.

Check out Ski-Lifts.org for pictures of the mid-station and system design.

This could be useful for an urban gondola that wants to alter its route for traffic and flow patterns. For example, running the lift as two different sections in the morning and rush hour for peak times and running it as one big system during non-peak times. 

 

Breckenridge Quicksilver Super6 – Double Loading (Colorado)

Double loading can also be used, which alternates cabins between two different loading areas to improve station efficiency. Breckenridge’s Quicksilver Super6 was the first American lift to utilize double loading. As the chairs come into the terminal, one turns and heads back up the mountain like a regular detachable lift while the next chair travels onto another lift loading area and this continues on in an alternating pattern. The chairs from the lower loading section of the station then rejoin the line of the upper loading section and the chairs travel up on one line then unloads like a regular chairlift.

Check out Colorado Ski History for great overview and pictures of this system.

The upper loading section is used for guests coming from the mountain and the lower is used for guests from the town and nearby hotels. The two loading zones have separate loading cues and separate loading locations so there is no intermingling or confusion between lines. This could be used on an urban system where passengers are coming from two different areas or in situations where having two loading areas are necessary to ease congestion.

But if all else fails and nothing else works, you could just put that terminal in the side of a mountain, like what was done on the Huashan Xifeng Cable Car in China!

Thanks to skilifts.orgcoloradoskihistory.com and doppelmayr.com for the information and thanks for reading. Feel free to comment what you think and have a nice day.

 

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Design Considerations
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