Montjuïc Cable Car

26
Sep

2016

System Dossier: Telefèric de Montjuïc (Montjuïc Cable Car)

Telefèric de Montjuïc cars in Barcelona, Spain

The Catalonian capital of Barcelona, Spain is one of the major cultural and economic hubs in Europe. The bustling metropolis is replete with historical sights and landmarks keeping tourists busy for days.

One of the most famous locations belongs to the Montjuïc – a wide, shallow hill providing a panoramic vista of the city and the sea.

The top of the hill is the home to Castle Montjuïc – a fortress that dates back the 17th century. Montjuïc is also the site to the Palau Nationale, built for the 1929 Expo as well as the host of several venues for 1992 Olympic Games.


P1110098 Barcelone et le Telefèric de Montjuïc

The Telefèric de Montjuïc is a publically funded, cable propelled transit system that links the city to the top of the Montjuïc by climbing 84.5 meters on a 750-meter run lasting for approximately 8 minutes. The system is operated by Transport Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB), however, a separate fare must be purchased as the system is not integrated within the Autoritat del Transport Metropolia (ATM).

The cable car was built in 1970 but was upgraded in 2007 to increase capacity. The Leitner built MDG (monocable detachable gondola) system has three stations. Starting at the Parc de Montjuïc, the gondola glides over the Jardins de Mossen Cinto Veraguer up to the Mirador.

At Mirador station – which interestingly means sea-view – the gondola makes a 90-degree turn. The gondola then further ascends another several hundred meters until it reaches Montjuïc Castle at the top of the hill.

 

Length (km) 0.752
Stations 3
Year Opened 2007 (refurbished)
Line Capacity 1,495
Fare €8
Ridership (annual) 1.3 million
Maximum speed (m/s) 5









Photo Essay:



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Montjuïc Cable Car / System Dossier
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04
Feb

2014

Barcelona’s Montjuïc Cable Car, Part 1

Last fall I had an opportunity to tour and document Barcelona’s Montjuïc Cable Car and Funicular. This is the first of two parts documenting the Cable Car system. For the second part, click here. Click here for a discussion of the Funicular

Approaching Barcelona’s Montjuïc Cable Car from the adjacent Funicular station one could be forgiven for not even noticing that a cable car system existed on this mountaintop park.

Montjuic Funicular

The Barcelona Funicular to the right and the main Cable Car station to the left. Image by Steven Dale.

Unlike other cable car systems that insist on proclaiming themselves through extravagant towers and stations, the Montjuïc Cable Car is happy to be plain. The towers are simple, the stations are slim and nothing ever really calls attention to itself—and that’s a good thing.

It’s easy to want customized everything and I’m a strong advocate against simply porting a ski lift into an urban setting, but sometimes there is beauty in a humble system’s utilitarianism. Such is the case on Montjuïc.

Built primarily as a way to afford tourists—both local and foreign—a picturesque means of accessing the Montjuïc Castle, the MDG system by Leitner is a fascinating study of a system that straddles two worlds.

It both is a spectacular example of how to integrate a cable propelled transit system into a contemporary public transportation network and city but is also a lesson in how the needs of the tourist is so completely at odds with the needs of the local.

The system’s physical integration with the surrounding urban fabric and transit network is flawless. Transfers between the Funicular (itself fully-integrated into the wider Barcelona transit system) are seamless and the vehicles have a way of criss-crossing roads and parking lots that is unique in a developed, western landscape.

Montjuïc Cable Car

Montjuïc Cable Car top station. Image by Steven Dale.

Montjuïc Cable Car

The bottom station of the Montjuïc Cable Car. Image by Steven Dale

Yes, the system primarily services a recreational green space, but the way in which it engages with that green space has wider implications for our urban environments. That engagement is put on display best at the system’s mid-station. There, the station is nestled perfectly into an inclined hill; the system’s parking garage and maintenance bay hidden beneath a green roof. It’s as though the system itself doesn’t want to be seen.

Montjuïc Cable Car midstation and maintenance facility. Image by Steven Dale.

Montjuïc Cable Car midstation and maintenance facility. Image by Steven Dale.

Montjuïc Cable Car

The Montjuïc Cable Car mid-station. Image by Steven Dale.

Montjuïc Cable Car

The Montjuïc Cable Car mid station seen from above. Note that the maintenance facility is located below the green area. Image by Steven Dale.

Yet while the mid-station is a stroke of genius from a design perspective, it is flawed from a service perspective.

The system, at only 752 meters, is beyond modest—it’s short, plain and simple. And that shortness makes one question the need for a mid-station at all, particularly given how few people actually use it.

According to my guide, the mid-station was a necessity due to the fact that it was a rebuild of a previous system that also had a mid-station. The mid-station was needed to avoid certain archaeological / natural features typical of a heritage sight such as Montjuïc.

Nevertheless, one can’t help but notice that a good third of the trip is spent in said mid-station due to what is increasingly becoming a problem for the cable transit industry—dwell times.

Sure two minutes in a mid-station is a minor inconvenience for a tourist, but in a transit planning exercise, two minute dwell times are a complete non-starter. Look at the Caracas Metrocable where almost half the system’s travel time is spent in station.

Beyond that, however, the system is a winner from a physical design perspective.

Next week we’ll discuss what makes this system unique from an operational and ownership perspective.

Montjuïc Cable Car

Montjuïc Cable Car overview. Image by Steven Dale.

For the second part, click here.



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.

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Barcelona / Montjuïc Cable Car
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