While everyone’s all a-buzz about London successfully completing their cable car in time for the Olympics, the subsequent Olympic cable cars may, in fact, be of far greater importance to the technology’s spread.
While no one can doubt the importance of having cable transit on display in one of the world’s most-touristed cities during one of the world’s biggest events, the system itself is highly unremarkable. With the possible exception of the custom-designed towers, there’s hardly anything noteworthy about London’s off-the-shelf MDG system. That’s not a criticism, it’s just a fact.
2014’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, however, are going to push cable technology in directions its never been before.
While the 20-odd lifts being installed are largely for alpine/resort locations, the technological advancements are huge:
- Two of the lifts will be of the advanced 3S variety.
- The first of the two lifts will have an intermediary station – the first 3S ever to have such a feature. No word yet if there will be an turn co-located at the station.
- The first of the two lifts will also have the capacity to transport cars as well as passengers. We know this has already been accomplished with Funitel technology but this would be the first 3S to ever have such a feature.
- The second of the two 3S lifts will be the longest 3S in the world at 5.383 km.
- The second of the two 3S lifts will also approach and possible eclipse the 30 km/hr barrier – the first known detachable gondola to ever reach such speeds.
These are the kind of technological leaps the industry isn’t known for, but should be.
If the big industry players (and their customers) can commit themselves to continual improvements and advancements such as these, the future for the technology looks great.