Brest Téléphérique / Gondola



Brest Cable Car (Téléphérique) Opens for Service

Brest Cable Car. Image by Ph. Saget.

France’s first Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) system, the Brest Cable Car has finally opened for passenger service this past Saturday (November 19, 2016).

The 460m long CPT line crosses the coastal river of Penfeld at heights of up to 70m and connects the City Center to the Capucins neigbhourhood (former military/industrial site currently being revitalized).

For city builders, this system has been a long time coming as it effectively demonstrates how ropeway technology has evolved to meet the special needs of the urban market.

Cabin arriving at city center station. Image by Stéphane Pareige.


Firstly, this ropeway system is the second known urban cable car (after Japan’s Morizo gondola) to have implemented smart glass. Smart glass reduces visual intrusion into nearby sensitive land uses as the glass can change from a translucent state to a “frosted/opaque” state.  Read more

Brest Téléphérique / Gondola
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Video: Brest Cable Car Showcases World’s First Cable “Overpass” Design

After 2 months of testing, new footage of the Brest Cable Car (French: Téléphérique de Brest) has surfaced online.

The cable lift operates in an aerial tram configuration — however, unlike your typical aerial tram, the manufacturers (Bartholet) have built an incredibly unique system known as the “saut de mouton à câble” or SDMC Concept.

With this design, the two cabins operate on different track alignments, which enables the cabins to travel above and below each other as they move through the central 80m tower. This concept results in considerable space savings (i.e. smaller station footprint) as both cabins utilize the same platform.

SDMC Concept. Image from Bartholet.

SDMC Concept. Image from Bartholet.

SDMC concept in action. Image from Ouest France.

SDMC concept in action. Image from Ouest France.

In a city setting, this reduction in station widths will be particularly advantageous since urban real estate is often priced at a premium.

The cable car is scheduled to open in October 2016.

Brest Téléphérique / Gondola / Design Considerations / Engineering
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Brest Cable Car – Cabin Unveiling, Lighting Designs and Privacy Glass

Cabins for France’s newest urban cable car, the Brest Cable Car (French: Téléphérique de Brest) has been unveiled this week.

For those living in the City, the public can go to Siam Street (bottom station) between April 8-10, 2016 to get a first hand look at the cabins.

The two 60-person cabins are five meters long and 3 meters wide and designed with top-to-bottom glass panels. Several lightning additions will accompany passengers as they ride up and down the system. For instance, interior lights will be blue on the ascend but white on the descend.

Sneak peek at new cabins. Image from Brest.Maville.

Sneak peek at new cabins. Image from Brest.Maville.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of this urban cable car is the introduction of privacy glass. The windows will become “frosted” (or opaque) once the cabins travel nearby private homes and military areas.

Windows in "frosted" mode. Image

Windows in “frosted” mode. Image from Brest.Maville.

We’ve have witnessed its effectiveness first hand on Singapore’s Bukit Panjang LRT, and have identified its usage on Japan’s Morizo Gondola. However, this is one of the few urban cable systems in recent memory that has invested in smart glass.

This is definitely an exciting development for ropeway followers and is another sign that the industry is paying attention to the special needs of cities.

System testing is expected to begin in June while the opening date is planned this September.

For more information and photos, click here to read Brest Maville’s original article.

Brest Téléphérique / Gondola
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Brest Cable Car (Téléphérique de Brest)

Scheduled to open in Summer 2016, the Brest Cable Car (Téléphérique de Brest) will be France’s first urban cable car.

Originally designed as a Funitel, the system will use an Aerial Tram configuration and will employ some very special design techniques to minimize station size and cost. Can anyone spot what this is? 😉



New Urban Gondola in Brest, France by 2015 (The Brest Téléphérique)

Rendering of the Brest Téléphérique, due to open in 2015. Image via

The small Breton city of Brest, France will enter the small club of cities around the world with an urban gondola system to call their own.

Back in December of 2011, the topographically-challenged city of 140,000 inhabitants approved plans to proceed with a short gondola system spanning the city’s harbour and Penfeld River.

The system is modest with only 2 stations, and ~ 410 meters in length. It’s primary purpose is to connect the left bank of the city with the  future neighbourhood of the Capuchins. Befitting the areas naval heritage, the system will operating at a height of 60 meters to allow naval ships to pass underneath.

Reports state the system will cost ~ €15m and will be fully-integrated with the city’s existing public transport network – which, as we often point out on The Gondola Project, is a must for urban gondola systems to be optimally effective.

Of the many reports about this system, one thing catches my eye. Apparently the system will include “deux trains de trois cabines de 20 places transporteront les passagers toutes les 3 minutes, pour une durée du trajet estimée à environ une minute.”

Now, if Google Translate is right (and it often isn’t), we’re talking about a system characterized by “two sets of three cabins of 20 seats will transport passengers every 3 minutes for a journey estimated at about one minute” (thanks Google Translate!).

Regular readers will immediately spot something amiss here.

If that quote/translation is to be believed, that means this is a Pulsed Gondola configuration. As we’ve discussed before, Pulsed Gondolas rarely have any useful purpose in urban environments due to their (relatively) long wait times, low capacities and inability to turn corners. This, however, is exactly the kind of situation where a pulsed situation is useful.

Due to the extremely short distance of the line, the wait time and capacity issue is largely eliminated. That allows project planners to leverage the (relatively) low costs of a pulsed system while minimizing the negatives associated with the technology.

If this all pans out, it will be the first known pulsed gondola to be fully-integrated into a public transportation agency – and worthy of our attention.

Having said that however, the youtube video of the system that’s making the rounds seems to show a Funitel-based technology arranged in a Pulsed configuration:

We’ve seen configurations like this before, but they’re rare.

To be honest, the only system I know of that uses such a set-up is the Bouqetin Funitel in Val Thorens, France. I’ll also admit that I have no idea what the advantages of the system are. Presumably, it leverages the low-cost of the pulsed system with the high wind stability of the Funitel. I also suspect that they’re arranged in a Dual Haul configuration to allow for round-the-clock operations.

Those comments, however, are pure speculation and I’d love for other readers to chime in with their thoughts because this thing is certainly an oddball.

Bouquetin Funitel in Val Thorens, France. Image by flickr user 123_456.

No matter what, you can be sure we’ll follow this one closely.

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