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Medellin Continues Urban Gondola Expansion

Line H, opened in December 2016, is currently Medellin’s newest urban cable car. Image by Secretaría de Movilidad de Medellín.

In transit planning and city-building circles, Medellin is often regarded as the birthplace of modern Cable Propelled Transit (CPT). Last week, the Colombian metropolis announced that the City will open its sixth urban cable car, Line P, by Q3 of 2019.

For those unfamiliar with Medellin, the City’s journey to international superstardom began with the implementation of Line K in 2004.

In brief, Medellin’s first urban cable car was met with worldwide acclaim for its remarkable ability to physically and symbolically integrate impoverished and disconnected barrio residents into the city proper.

Alongside social infrastructure improvements, the cable car sparked incredible urban renewal efforts where Medellin was transformed from a violent cartel-run city to a vibrant urban metropolis known for its innovative city-building ideas.

Line K’s remarkable success led to the construction of subsequent urban gondolas, including the newest CPT system to date, Line H.


Line H became Medellin’s fourth cable car line after it was inaugurated last December.

The cable car was built with a capacity of 1,800 pphpd to help improve transportation for the 150,000 residents living in eastern Medellin’s Commune 8. Similar to Line K and Line J, the cable car complements a higher-order rapid transit line — the Ayacucho Tram.

The cable car effectively takes riders from the tram’s eastern terminus at Oriente to the Villa Sierra neighbourhood on the hillsides — overcoming an elevation difference of 197m.

Medellin Metrocable Line H. Image by Secretaría de Movilidad de Medellín.

In the past, there was only one steep narrow road connecting Villa Sierra, but now the gondola provides the community with an alternative five minute ride to the Oriente tram station.

Technologically, the MDG system is nearly identical to existing cable cars in Medellin which utilizes 10-passenger carriers built by POMA/Sigma Cabins. At 1.4km in length, Line H is the second shortest gondola line in the City.

System characteristics of Metrocable Line H and Metrocable Line M. Image from El Colombiano.


Similar to Line H, Metrocable Line M serves the eastern parts of Medellin and is the second cable car connected to the Ayacucho Tram.

Originally scheduled for completion in July 2016, Metrocable Line M has faced a number of delays related to complicated geological/structural issues at its Miraflores transfer station.

However, these challenges have been resolved and reports indicate that the system is now 70-80% complete. From its bottom station (Miraflores) to its top station (Trece de Noviembre), passengers will travel over 11 towers while experiencing a vertical rise of 275m.

Residents are told that the system should be ready for passenger service by August 2018. At 1km in length, Line M will be the shortest urban gondola in Medellin.


Earlier this year, the government released a tender for Medellin’s sixth urban gondola, Line P. After receiving two submissions, a French consortium was chosen as the winning bidder to construct the US$99 million project (COP 298 billion).

Line P will be Medellin’s longest (2.8km) and highest capacity (4,000 pphpd, 127 cabins) cable transit system. Technically speaking, Line L is longer at 4.8km, but it functions solely as a recreational system.

With a directional capacity increase of 1,000 pphpd over its cousin systems Line K and Line J, Line P will benefit an estimated 420,000 persons. This capacity increase is designed to serve the northwestern communities including areas considered the most dangerous in Medellin — Commune 5 (Castilla), and Commune 6 (Doce de Octubre).

With supplementary social interventions such as 30,000 square meters of new public space, the City hopes to replicate the success it has seen in the Santo Domingo neighbourhood. Officials believe that travel times to the city centre will decrease from 60 minutes today (via two bus lines) to just 15 minutes.

Rendering of Acevedo Station – Metrocable Line P. Image from Mayor of Medellin.

At its western terminus, the 4-station Line P will be connected to the Acevedo intermodal station. Once operational, residents can transfer between three rapid transit lines — Metro Line A, Metrocable Line K and Metrocable Line P. Implementation works are planned for the next 18 months.

With six urban gondola lines by the end of 2019, Medellin will have built 14.7km of cable cars spread over 20 stations — making it the world’s second largest CPT network. While that is less than 50% of La Paz-El Alto’s Mi Teleferico (at full build), Medellin’s continued efforts to expand its urban gondola network is equally impressive and noteworthy.

Based on operating statistics, the cable cars have been nothing short of success as the combined ridership of Line K, Line J, Line L and Line H have totalled 241 million passengers since 2004 while Line K and Line J operate with an availability of 99.09 – 99.90%!

The opening of two additional CPT lines in the next two years will build on Medellin’s past success and will further cement the City’s as one of the leading urban innovators in the new millennium.


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New Haifa Urban Gondola Proposal Builds on City’s Ropeway Legacy

Haifa Urban Cable Car – University of Haifa Station. Image from

When an Israeli city is brought up in a conversation, ropeway technology probably isn’t often the first topic that comes to mind. However, for the city of Haifa in northern Israel, readers might be surprised that Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) has actually been an integral part of the city’s transport network for nearly sixty years. Geographically, since the city was built beside the Mediterranean coast along the slopes of Mount Carmel, ropeways have provided a logical means of overcoming Haifa’s topographical constraints. Today, two ropeways have been constructed in the city — the Haifa Cable Car (pulsed gondola) and the Carmelit.

Carmelit. Image by random exposure.

The Carmelit is a short 1.75km, 6-station underground funicular that was opened in 1959 to connect the business district at the foothills of Mount Carmel to the residential areas on the top of the mountain range. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, it appears the system is out of commission until 2018 as it suffered fire damage earlier this year.

Haifa Cable Car (Pulsed Gondola). Image by מיכאלי.

Three kilometres northwest of the Carmelit is the city’s second cable transport system. Built in 1986 at the western end of the Bat Galim waterfront, this 355m long bubble-shaped tourist gondola takes visitors on a 5-minute aerial ride while providing passengers with sweeping views of the sea and mountain. The system is primarily a toy for tourists, but recently has been “re-functioned” as transit line for students attending Gordon Academic College (located on the mountain top).

Given the city’s legacy of rope-propelled transport, it probably should not be a surprise that the city is now hoping to be the first Israeli city to implement an aerial transit cable car. We first learned about an aerial ropeway project in Haifa back in 2010, but earlier this year, the Minister of Transport released detailed plans to build a 10-passenger Monocable Detachable Gondola (MDG) to connect Haifa Bay Central Bus Station to two of the city’s post-secondary institutions.

Haifa Urban Cable Car’s alignment shown in the dotted green line. Screenshot from Youtube.

Check Post Station. Image from fm1075.

Dori Station. Image from fm1075.

Designed to reduce vehicular congestion, ease parking shortages, and to provide alternative transportation access, the 4.6km urban gondola will link five station areas: the bus terminal, Krayot Junction (Check Post), Dori Street, the Technion Israel Institute of Technology and the University of Haifa. Travelling at a maximum speed of 5m/s, the cable car climbs Mount Carmel to Technion from the bus terminal in just ten minutes before taking another nine minutes to arrive at the University of Haifa.

Technion Station. Image from fm1075.

From a technical standpoint, the US$79.6 million (ILS 280 million) cable car will feature 76 cabins leaving every half minute with an initial capacity of 1,200 pphpd (expandable to 2,400 pphpd). The system will be fully integrated with the local transit network and officials estimate that 4,000 – 5,000 passengers per day (2 million per year) will ride the gondola. If everything goes according to schedule, the urban cable car should open by 2020.

Interestingly, Israel may give La Paz’s massive Mi Teleférico network a run for its money as the world’s urban cable car hub. Reports indicate that the country is working on a number of aerial ropeway proposals including ones in western Haifa, Tiberias, Afula, Carmiel-Maaleh Adumim, Jerusalem, and Zirkhron Yaakov. In fact, news reports this week suggest that Jerusalem is moving forward with plans to connect the Old City with a tourist gondola despite some controversies.

As strange as this may sound, perhaps in the near future, Israel will not only be home to religious pilgrimages, but also act as a hub for those seeking transportation (CPT) enlightenment. 

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Photo of the Week: Koblenz Cable Car

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La Paz Releases New Transit Map

In less than fours years, La Paz has completely transformed its public transportation network. Today, many readers may immediately recognize the city’s famous Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) lines but few may know much about its complementary system of buses (e.g. WaynaBus and LaPazBus).

Unfortunately, the true transport effects of this interconnected network was difficult to comprehend, especially for outsiders, since the city’s transit mapping had yet to fully keep up with the pace of development. That is, until now.

Metropolitan Public Transit Map La Paz El Alto. Image from Issuu.

Last week, the state agency, Mi Teleférico released a new schematic design of its metropolitan transportation network map — showcasing how riders can take full advantage of the linkages between cable car and bus. Taking inspiration from other big city transit maps, La Paz’s metropolitan transport system is now clearly laid out for all riders to see.

With this new map, there’s a lot of symbolism at play for both La Paz and CPT technology. The crisp modern map design not only heralds a new age of development and maturity for La Paz’s rapid transport network, but it also reinforces CPT’s ability to function as a reliable, safe and efficient mode of rapid transit.

As La Paz continues to modernize, it will an exciting time for readers as six more urban gondola line — totalling 16km and 19 stations — are scheduled to open in the upcoming years.

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Construction Works Continue to Advance on Santo Domingo Cable Car

Civil works appear to be nearing completion at one of the cable car’s four stations. Image from Listin Diario.

Since Santo Domingo broke ground on the Caribbean’s first urban cable car two years ago, locals have been patiently waiting for the system to open its doors for passenger service. Despite a few delays, construction works for the Santo Domingo Cable Car (Spanish: Teleférico de Santo Domingo) have been accelerated in recent times.

Empalme del primer tramo #telefericosantodomingo #movilidadsostenible

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Dominicanos trabajan en el primer empalme de cable #telefericosantodomingo #movilidadsostenible

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Reports and photos from the Dominican Republic’s capital suggest that construction crews are labouring day and night in order to complete all civil, electromechanical and implementation works by year’s end.

Once finished, the cable car is expected to benefit up to 287,000 locals, of which 65% do not own a personal vehicle. The 4-station, 5km cable car will reduce commute times by 30 minutes and provide users with a direct connection to the Eduardo Brito Metro station at the Gualey terminal.

Opening Dec 2017
Length (km) 5
Capacity (pphpd) 3,000
Speed (m/s) 5.0
Cabin capacity 10
Travel Time 20 mins

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La Paz Installs Cable on Sky Blue Line (Línea Celeste)

Drone installing cable long first section of the Sky Blue Line. Image from Mi Teleférico.

The Sky Blue gondola (Spanish: Línea Celeste) will be a critical interconnecting transit line in La Paz’s urban cable car network. This past weekend, ropeway specialists were busy at work as they installed the first section (861m) of the Sky Blue Line’s rope between San Jorge Station and Liberator Station.

Once the system is fully built, the 4-station line will unite the city’s South zone with the El Prado area. In turn, users will be able to transfer seamlessly to the White Line at San Jorge Station and to the Green Line and Yellow Line at Liberator Station. Specifically, connectivity at Liberator will be strengthened immensely as it will function as only the second station in the entire cable car network where users can directly transfer between three separate urban gondola lines.

Sky Blue Line. Image from Mi Teleférico.

Similar to the upcoming Purple Line, the Sky Blue Line is built with a maximum speed of 6 m/s (21.6km/h) and a maximum capacity of 4,000 persons per hour per direction. These specs are a noteworthy upgrade from existing gondola lines which have speeds of 5 m/s and directional capacities of 3,000 persons per hour. Effectively, these improvements will help decrease wait and travel times as cabin headways and spacing will be reduced to 9 seconds and 54m respectively.

While construction first kicked off in July 2017, the first section of the cable car (Liberator to San Jorge) is expected to open in early 2018. The remaining sections are scheduled to begin passenger service in mid-2018.


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