Medellin MetroCable



Medellin Opens Fourth Urban Cable Car – Line H

Medellin’s newest Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) system, Metrocable Line H, officially started commercial operations on December 17. This 3 station urban gondola line has a length of 1,402 metres, 42 cabins, and a capacity of 1,800 pphpd.

Line H. Image from Metro de Medellin.

The cable car functions as a feeder line to the new Ayacucho Tram (2016) by extending the reach of rapid transit into the districts of La Sierra, Villa Turbay, and San Antonio de las Torres from the Tram’s Oriente terminus station.

Officials anticipate that the cable car will have immense social benefits for the local community. Tomás Elejalde, the General Manager at Metro de Medellin, was quoted as saying, “We hope to benefit at least 150,000 people.”

Travel times from La Sierra to the city center will be cut by ~40% (from 45 minutes currently to 28 minutes).

Line H map.

Line H map. The Ayacucho Tram is shown in the colour green.

Prior to Line H, Medellin was already considered the trailblazer in the world of CPT as it was home to three successful urban gondolas (Line K – 2004, Line J – 2008 and Line L – 2010). These aerial lifts, combined with its larger city renewal projects, established Medellin as the leader in sustainable urbanism.

While operations for Line H has just started, officials are continuing to work hard to improve transportation options in the City. Medellin’s next urban cable car, Line M (1.1km, 3 stations), is scheduled to open in Spring 2017 and will also link to the Ayacucho Tram.

Length (km) 1.4
Stations 3
Year Opened 2016
Line Capacity (pphpd) 1800
Cabins 42
Schedule 4:30am – 11:00pm


Installations / Medellin MetroCable / Metrocable Line H
Comments Off on Medellin Opens Fourth Urban Cable Car – Line H
Comments Off on Medellin Opens Fourth Urban Cable Car – Line H


Photo of the Week: Medellin Metrocable


A photo posted by Edder (@edder282) on

#TBT #Medellin #MetroCable #🇨🇴 Go watch @maxisms Colombia video ⏯:

A photo posted by Andrés Camilo (@andrescamilo___) on

Medellin MetroCable / Photo of the Week
Comments Off on Photo of the Week: Medellin Metrocable
Comments Off on Photo of the Week: Medellin Metrocable


Medellin/Caracas, Part 1

Last week I travelled to Medellin, Colombia and Caracas, Venezuela to tour five of the most important CPT systems in the world. This is Part 1 of a photo essay on those systems. In this part, a brief overview of the history of cable transit in this part of the world will be explained. Image by Steven Dale.


Modern Cable Propelled Transit started in Caracas, Venezuela with the Mount Avila Gondola. This system was originally built in the middle of the last century to carry people from Caracas to the top of Mount Avila where the luxurious Hotel Humboldt had been built. Political and economic strife caused the government to leave for neglect both the hotel and gondola. The gondola itself was not reopened until 1999, after a successful rebuild.

The Avila Mountain Gondola In Caracas. Image by Steven Dale.

An Avila Mountain Gondola From Below. Image by Steven Dale.

A gondola passes over two original and well-preserved antique gondola cars at the Mount Avila Caracas Terminal. Image by Steven Dale.

The Avila gondola cannot, however, be truly classed as cable transit. It lacks integration to the local transit network and really exists more for tourists, not local commuters. It did, however, indirectly inspire the nearby city of Medellin, Colombia to pursue a fully-integrated CPT system to serve the impoverished and dangerous barrio of Santo Domingo. The system would take almost 5 years to open, from conception to fruition and would be the world’s first true CPT system. They would name it The Metrocable. The first line, consistent with the city’s existing Metro system, would be named Linea K.

A Linea K Metrocable Car in Medellin, Colombia. Image by Steven Dale.

The Metrocable over top the Santo Domingo barrio. Image by Steven Dale.

Gondolas depart a Linea J Metrocable station. Image by Steven Dale.

Metrocable Linea K would be an enormous success. Crime rates in Santo Domingo plunged and area investment skyrocketed. In the four years since Linea K opened, crime in Santo Domingo virtually disappeared, jobs have increased 300% and 3 banks have opened along the Metrocable route. With such an obvious success story, Metro officials had little trouble convincing decision-makers to open Linea J.

Unlike Linea K, Linea J would connect several smaller barrios in the western end of the city. These barrios suffered from similar economic conditions but did not have the population density that Linea K had. This was considered a good thing as Linea K suffered from overcrowding almost immediately upon opening, a situation not witnessed on Linea J.

A Linea J gondola. Image by Steven Dale.

Meanwhile, Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela was not to be undone. The opening of the second Metrocable line in Medellin made Chavez lust after a similar system in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. Within 2 years, Chavez’s dream would be realized with Caracas opening their own cable transit system in early 2010. It was also to be named The Metrocable.

Like the Medellin systems before it, the Caracas Metrocable would provide transit to under-serviced barrios with a history of crime and poverty. But unlike the Medellin systems, Caracas would feature enormous stations that included social facilities such as gymnasiums, police stations, community centres and markets. The Caracas Metrocable would also be the first in the world to feature extreme 90 degree turning radii at stations.

Gondolas enter and exit a station in Caracas. Image by Steven Dale.

The Caracas Metrocable. Image by Steven Dale.

The Metrocable loop between Medellin and Venezuela came full circle in early 2010. While Chavez was opening his first system in Caracas, Medellin was opening their third Metrocable line. But this time, the line looked more similar to the original Mount Avila system from Venezuela circa 1999.

While still fully-integrated into the Medellin Metro, the new Linea L services the Parque Arvi at the top of a nearby mountain in Medellin and requires an additional fare of 1,550 Colombian Pesos (roughly $1 US dollar). Linea L would give quick, affordable access to wilderness and parkland facilities that had previously only been accessible to wealthy land-owners in Medellin. This was a welcome change, given Colombia’s historically wide gap between rich and poor.

A Linea L gondola. Image by Steven Dale.

Medellin as seen from the Linea L, Parque Arvi nature preserve. Image by Steven Dale.

Both cities are engaged in major plans to expand their Metrocable offerings and cities throughout Latin America are embarking upon cable transit plans of their own.

Read Part 2.



How to Deliver A Rolls Royce 2500m up a mountain

Throughout the years, we seen cable systems transport a lot of things — from cattle, to trucks, to noisy passengers.

And today, we can officially add to this very special list a Rolls Royce Phantom.

Image from

Image from

And in case you’re wondering how they did it, you can view a video of the whole shebang by clicking on this link. Enjoy!

Dursey Island Cable Car / Just For Fun / Medellin MetroCable
Comments Off on How to Deliver A Rolls Royce 2500m up a mountain
Comments Off on How to Deliver A Rolls Royce 2500m up a mountain


Reducing Violence by Transforming Neighborhoods: A Natural Experiment in Medellín, Colombia

The American Journal of Epidemiology recently published a report, Reducing violence by transforming neighborhoods: a natural experiment in Medellín, Colombia, which examines the effects of “neighbourhood level interventions”. In this research paper, the “intervention” studied was the implementation of the Metrocable Line K in 2004.

Medellin Metrocable Line K. Image by Steven Dale, CUP Projects.

The paper looks at 25 neighbourhoods that were serviced by the Metrocable and 23 similar neighbourhoods from around the city that were not effected by the Metrocable. Researchers conducted a survey of these neighbourhoods in 2008, and compared them to the responses from a 2003 city-wide household survey on violence and neighbourhoods.

A cursory look at the findings indicate that the intervention neighbourhoods (those which were effected by the Metrocable) experienced a 66% faster decline in homicide rates than in the control neighbourhoods. Yet, in actuality, violence and homicide rates in both cable and non-cable areas decreased dramatically.

It should also be noted that while the government was constructing the Metrocable, they were simultaneously making other improvements to the gondola neighbourhoods, including: “additional lighting for public spaces; new pedestrian bridges and street paths; ‘‘library parks’’; buildings for schools, recreational centers, and centers to promote microenterprises; more police patrols; and a family police station next to a gondola station.”

Overall the results are encouraging for Medellín. Crime is down and community relations have improved. While this study concludes that there is statistical proof that infrastructure improvements can help decrease violence, it also clearly states that other factors could have influenced the results.

Medellín was lucky to have had a major government infrastructure intervention happen just a year after PREVIVA, the city-wide survey on violence, was conducted. Even without a survey, it will be interesting to see if there are any actual or perceived effects from the 2011 gondola system in Rio de Janeiro, and the proposed system in La Paz.

If you would like to read the full study, it is available here.



Weekly Roundup: Bolivia To (Officially) Build Largest Urban Cable Car Network

Conceptual Drawing of the La Paz Cable Car network. Image via Doppelmayr.

A quick look at some of the things that happened this week in the world of cable cars, urban gondolas, and cable propelled transit:

  • Bolivian President Evo Morales officially signs paperwork to build the world’s largest cable transit network. To be completed by 2014, the network of 3 lines will span 10.7 km and have 11 stations – for an all-in price of $235m. For those that are counting, that’s a per kilometre cost of less than $22m. If project managers and manufacturers are able to meet that aggressive timetable, it’s going to be increasingly difficult for transit professionals to ignore this technology’s impact and future potential.


Medellin to Build Two Urban Gondolas – Integrated Into A Light Rail Line!

Metro Medellin's planned LRT/Tram line (in green) and two new Metrocable lines (in Purple and Pink).

Metro de Medellin is in no rush to slow down.

The transit agency of this Colombian metropolis has been expanding their public transportation system at breakneck speeds for the past 15 years and things just continue apace.

The agency recently released plans for their Corredores Verdes (Green Corridor) Light Rail/Tram plan. Their approach is a three-pronged strategy to connect the western district of the city with downtown and includes:

  • An ~ 5 km long LRT/Tram system with 8 stops that terminates/originates at the central San Antonio Metro station. The connection to San Antonio will allow easy transfers to both Linea A and Linea B of their impeccably-operated elevated metro system.
  • Two Urban Gondola lines (Metrocables) serving hillside barrios. The lines will be ~ 1.5 km long and have three total stations each (two terminals and one intermediary station).

Of particular note is Medellin’s approach to ticketing along the route. If the agency’s promotional video is to be believed, the LRT system will adopt a technique created and popularized by Curitiba’s famed BRT system.

Rather than have LRT drivers deal with ticketing, on-vehicle ticketing agents or a policed honor-system, enclosed station platforms will be equipped with turnstiles allowing for people to pay their fare prior to queueing for the tram. This approach speeds boarding and increases efficiency dramatically:

Curitiba's BRT system - the first to pioneer enclosed platforms at street level with ticketing and turnstile features. Image via Wikipedia.

Medellin's planned LRT system appears to borrow the ticketing approach used by Curitiba. Image via Metro de Medellin.

Metro de Medellin is quickly gaining a reputation for being one of the most innovative transit planning bodies on the planet and this project should only solidify that reputation.

The agency is a poster-child for multi-modality and non-conventional thinking. With Medellin’s recent acquisition and expansion of the Metroplus bus service combined with the addition of the LRT/Tram, this agency will soon seamlessly blend four separate technology modes (Metro, LRT/Tram, Urban Gondola and BRT) in order to provide public transportation for 2.5 million people.

This is how you do multi-modality:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...