System Dossier

07
Sep

2017

System Dossier: Awana Skyway

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Genting Highlands, also known as Resorts World Genting, is a Malaysian resort complex situated at the top of Gunung Ulu Kali (1,800 meters above sea level). This “City of Entertainment” is located about an hour’s drive from the nation’s capital of Kuala Lumpur and comprises of five hotels, shopping malls, a theme park, and casinos.

The idea of this hilltop resort was conceived by Malaysian entrepreneur Lim Goh Tong while he worked on a hydro-electric plant in the nearby Cameron Highlands. After an arduous construction process, Resorts World Genting opened its doors for business in 1971.

Today, Genting Highlands is a remarkable success. The resort is a one of the most popular weekend getaway destinations in the region, attracting over 20 million visitors annually from across Malaysia and the rest of Asia. As this destination contains the country’s only legal land casino, it’s no surprise that Genting Highlands is dubbed the “Las Vegas of Malaysia”.

Aerial view of Resorts World Genting. Image by flickr user Chee Hong.

Currently Resorts World Genting is undergoing a 10-year transformation project (valued at RM10.3B/US$2.5B), in order to bolster the resort’s international profile. A number of world-class entertainment options for visitors are part of the plan, which includes the world’s first Twentieth Century Fox World theme park, the newly opened SkyAvenue shopping mall and, of course, the new cable car system — the Awana Skyway.

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03
Aug

2017

System Dossier: Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Spectacular view of the rainforest, Coral Sea, and Cairns from the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Image by Rainforest Skyrail Cableway.

Rainforests are some of the world’s most diverse ecosystems despite covering only 6% of the earth’s surface area. In fact, rainforests are so diverse that they contain more than half of the planet’s plant and animal species. These tall, dense jungle regions are replete with valuable resources such as a variety of foods, raw materials, and medicines. Unfortunately, large swaths of rainforest are destroyed each year for the purposes of mining, timber, and grazing cattle.

Australia, on the other hand, has been a leader in the protection and preservation of these forests. The Wet Tropics of Queensland located in northeast Australia is a World Heritage Site covering over 900,000 hectares and is internationally recognized as one of the world’s pristine tropical rainforests.

A popular excursion that allows tourists to experience this tropical rainforest is the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, a 7.5-kilometer cableway that travels above Baron Gorge National Park and Macalister Ridge. This ambitious project was proposed in 1987 by a 5th generation Cairns family, the Chapmans, who currently still own and operate the system today. Due to the rainforest’s sensitive nature, many years were initially spent consulting with local, state, and government officials as well as seeking approval from the indigenous Djabugay tribe in order to ensure maximal environmental and cultural protection.

When construction began in 1994, the developers used an innovative set of techniques that were new to cableway developments in order to adhere to the strict environmental codes imposed on the project. This included no swath clearing along the cableway route, no new access roads, and minimal interference with the rainforest environment. Additionally, the cableway towers and stations were placed strategically in areas of the rainforest where gaps already existed, reducing the number of trees that had to be removed.

When Skyrail was completed in 1995, the ropeway was recognized as the longest multi-stage Monocable Detachable Gondola (MDG) system in the world. Since its inception, numerous upgrades have improved the system’s riding experience including the installation of eleven Diamond View glass floor cabins in 2013. Today, the ropeway continues to be a unique attraction as it is a part of a larger tourist experience that takes riders deep into the rainforest.

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Image by Flickr user Eric.

The gondola experience begins at the Smithsfield terminal, which is located 15 minutes north of the coastal town of Cairns. From Smithsfield, the system stops at two mid-stations, Red Peak Station and Barron Falls Station, before reaching Kuranda – a small rainforest village. Both mid-stations offer their own their unique experience that allows passengers to hop on and off the gondola and learn more about the interesting rainforest environment by foot.

At Red Peak Station, a complimentary Ranger guided tour is provided along a boardwalk, and at Barron Falls Station, riders have access to lookouts over the Barron Gorge and Falls as well as access to the Rainforest Interpretive Centre. While the gondola travels at a maximum speed of 5 m/s, the system often moves at a slower pace giving riders an optimal amount of time to enjoy the scenic views.

Lookout over the Barron Gorge and Falls. Image by Flickr user Shaun Johnston.

Lastly, the gondola reaches its conclusion at Kuranda Village. This relaxing, laid-back village gives tourists a first-hand experience of life in the rainforest. From handcrafted jewelry to the local cuisine, and an Australian wildlife attraction, there is no shortage of options for visitors to learn and experience everything that the rainforest has to offer. All in all, visitors typically spend 1.5 hours one way and 2.5 hours roundtrip experiencing the cable car and its associated amenities. Tour packages are available and can be combined with the Kuranda Scenic Railway – a train built over 120 years ago that also connects Kuranda to Cairns.

The incredible success that Skyrail has experienced can be seen with the numerous national tourism awards and international environmental awards representing a breakthrough in ecotourism and sustainable tourism standards for many projects to come.

To see the cable car in action, check out the live webcam provided on the Skyrail website.

 

Length (km) 7.5
Year Opened 1995
Capacity (pphpd) 600
Cabin Capacity (persons) 6
Stations 4
Speed (m/s) 5


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Skyrail Rainforest Cableway / System Dossier
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07
Jul

2017

System Dossier: Mexicable

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With a population of 21.2 million people, Mexico City is the largest Spanish-speaking city in the world and one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas. Similar to many megalopolis’, the city faces incredible challenges when it comes to congestion. In fact, the Mexican Capital has been ranked as the world’s most congested city where residents spend an average of 2.5 hours each day commuting!

To improve transportation options for its residents, a 4.9 kilometre Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) system was built in 2016 in the disadvantaged hillside community of Ecatepec de Morelos. The 7-station line, completed by LEITNER Ropeways, transports passengers from the isolated region of Sán Andres de la Cañada (located at the Sierra de Guadalupe mountain) to Via Morelos where commuters can connect to the Mexibús system.

The Monocable Detachable Gondola (MDG) system was financed through a combination of public and private sector funds with the federal and state government covering 40% of implementation costs. Thanks to the cable car, travel times have been reduced from 1-2 hours to just 17 minutes.



While Mexico’s first urban cable car has shaved countless hours off commute times, relieving transport congestion is not the only noticeable benefit of the system. Numerous socio-economic benefits such as increased tourism, a greater sense of inclusion, and enhanced passenger safety have all been reported by residents.

As one of the most dangerous municipalities in Mexico City, Ecatepec residents were often a victim of crime while taking public transit in the past. However, since the opening of the cable car, residents have reported being robbed less while feeling much safer onboard a secure gondola that is being constantly monitored by CCTV.

In addition, the cable car is electrically powered which significantly reduces COemissions. This advantage is particularly important in a city that is consumed by extreme levels of smog.



Lastly, the cable car has brought important progress to Ecatapec, one of the poorest regions in the city. Street lamps have been built, roads have been paved, and public spaces have been revamped. Over 50 street-art murals were painted along the cable car route, helping create a more scenic and memorable ride. Since opening, Mexicable has been a remarkable success and continues to attract approximately 20,000 riders per day.


Year opened 2016
Length (km) 4.9
Line Capacity (pphpd) 3,000
Cabin Capacity 10
Stations 7
Fare 6 pesos (US$0.30)
Trip Time (minutes) 17


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27
Jun

2017

System Dossier: Teleférico da Providência (Providência Cable Car)

Teleferico da Providencia in Rio de Janeiro. Image by Flickr user Mídia NINJA.

Morro de Providência is a favela located just north of downtown Rio de Janeiro. This community is regarded as the city’s first favela (informal settlement) with beginnings that date back to 1897. Soldiers returning from the Canudos War decided to inhabit the area after the promise of homes by the government was left unfulfilled.

As the community is situated on a hillside, the neighbourhood’s topographical barriers have left residents with poor access to municipal services and has facilitated social exclusion. In an effort to improve conditions within Morro da Providência, the government invested R$163 million to integrate and “re-urbanize” Rio’s informal settlements into the city proper. These efforts were enacted as part of the program called Morar Carioca. The program sought to enhance quality of life through diverse actions that included sanitation and road reforms, housing construction, and transportation improvements.

Artwork from school children depicted on the cabins. Image by Flickr user Mídia NINJA.

Introduced to the neighbourhood in 2014, the Teleférico da Providência was the second Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) system to open in Rio de Janeiro after the Teleférico do Alemão. The cable car, built by Doppelmayr, is a 721 meter-long MDG system that travels through Morro da Providência in just 5 minutes.

The cable car begins at the Estacio Central do Brasil (Rio’s central train station), and ascends the hillside to Americo Brum — located at the top of hill (situated 83 meters above sea level). This is the station where residents of the community get on and off the cable car. From there, the cable car descends into the district of Gamboa. Both terminal stations are strategically located next to higher order transit lines.

Whereas Gamboa station is situated next to Providência station on the VLT Carioca Line 1 (LRT), Central station connects riders to a diverse array of transport lines which include Metrô Rio (subway), Supervia (commuter rail) and a bus terminal. The cable car provides much-needed transit improvements to a formerly disconnected area which in the past was just serviced by uncoordinated fleets of moto taxis and mini-buses.

As part of efforts to build community, the cable car’s cabins feature artworks drawn by students from the local Francisco Benjamin Galloti Municipal school.

The cable car is operated by the Urban Development Company of the Region of Porto de Rio de Janeiro and serves 20,000 local residents. The Teleferico Da Providencia has made a profound impact on Providencia and demonstrates how ropeways can shape the routine and culture of a community by making life just a little bit simpler on a day-to-day basis.

 

Year Opened 2014
Length (km) 0.721
Stations 3
Capacity (pphpd) 1000
Trip Time (minutes) 5
Speed (m/s) 5
Fare (USD) $0.30

 

 

 

 



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System Dossier / Teleférico da Providência
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07
Jun

2017

System Dossier: Bursa Teleferik (Bursa Gondola)

The Bursa Teleferik. Image by Flickr user Kaan Süleymanoglu.

Uludağ is a highly regarded mountain and recreational resort situated at the highest peak of the western Anatolia region in Turkey. The resort is a year-round attraction that offers skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer.

Access to the popular vacation destination has been served by an aerial tram that has connected the ski resort to the nearby Turkish city of Bursa since 1963. However, by 2012, the cable car was considered outdated and the city decided to install a new ropeway system. As such, Bursa commissioned LEITNER Ropeways to build a record setting gondola.

The Bursa Teleferik. Image by Flickr user ustegen.

The new 8.8km cable car, completed in 2014, officially became the world’s longest monocable detachable gondola (MDG). The system begins its journey at Teferrüç station located at the southern end of Bursa. From there, the cable car travels through two more stations (Kadıyayla, and Saralan) before it reaches the summit of the Uludağ at Kurbağa Kaya station.

Each station, designed by Turkish architect Yamaç Korfali, offers their own various services from shopping centers to restaurants to hotels. To reach the top of the Uludağ, the cable car climbs a vertical distance of 1,400 meters.

The Bursa Teleferik. Image by Flickr user sinan özcan.

One of the many advantages of the upgraded ropeway is that it significantly increases accessibility to the resort. Previously, the only way to access the resort was through 35 kilometres of winding road.

Another advantage of the cable car is that this transportation option has become its own popular attraction. Many visitors ride the cable car to simply view the region’s lush vegetation and wildlife during the 25-minute trip to Uludağ. The Bursa Teleferik demonstrates that cable technology can be a reliable transport option for hard-to-reach locations while also giving its passengers an unforgettable ride experience.


Year opened (reopened) 1963 (2014)
Length (km) 8.8
Stations 4
Capacity (pphpd) 1,500
Trip time (minutes) 25
Speed (m/s) 6.0
Fare 20 Turkish Liras (10 USD)

 



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Bursa Teleferik / System Dossier
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26
May

2017

System Dossier: Bondinho Aparecida (Aparecida Cable Car)

Bondinho Aparecida approaching the Morro de Cruzeiro. Image by Flickr user Fábio Canhim

Aparecida is a quaint city in Brazil located approximately halfway between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The city is a center of religious tourism that sees 11 million tourists who flock to the city on an annual basis to experience the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida – the largest Marian shrine in the world, the second largest church in the world, and also the origin of the city’s name. Another popular tourist hotspot is the Morro de Cruzeiro, a religious hill that overlooks the city. On top of the hill lies access to the Torre Mirante, another attraction that acts as a lookout tower.

Bondinho Aparecida overlooking the National Shrine. Image by Flickr user Fábio Canhim

To improve connectivity between these two sites, private developers financed a 1.1-kilometer cable car that takes passengers on a vertical rise of 117 meters from the base of the National Shrine to the top of the Morro do Cruzeiro. The MDG system, known to the city as the “cable car of the patroness” is operated by the tourist agency Bontur. In the first year of operation, the cable car, which consists of 47 cabins holding 6 passengers each, attracted over one million riders. This demonstrates the ropeway’s popularity amongst tourists. On the ride passengers can experience incredible views of the city and the National Shrine.

Sai da frente que o bonde 🚊 vai passar 😄😎😀 dia #maravilhoso ♥♥♥ #bondinhoaparecida #aparecida #fé #paz #amor #felicidade

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However, despite the success of the gondola, its construction didn’t come without conflict. During the development phase of the gondola, many residents of Aparecida were unhappy with the cable car route as the ropeway crossed over several residential homes and a neighborhood cemetery.

Some residents described the gondola’s setting as “disrespectful”, and “an invasion of privacy” while others described it as the best thing to have happened in the city. Therefore, while ropeways can add a unique charm to the city, they can also cause problems with local residents. Developers should be conscious of these issues when constructing cable cars and should make great efforts to work collaboratively with the local community.


Year opened 2014
Length (km) 1.1
Capacity (pphpd) 1500
One-way fare (Brazilian Real) 14
Stations 2

 



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Bondinho Aparecida / Installations / System Dossier
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06
Apr

2017

System Dossier: Expo Alt Urban Gondola (Telecabina Aramón Zaragoza 2008)

Expo Alt Urban Gondola. Image by Flickr user jmig1.

Zaragoza is a historical city in Spain that dates back to Roman times. Located at the center of the Ebro Valley, Zaragoza’s historical influence from a variety of cultures helped differentiate itself from its more well-known neighbours, Madrid and Barcelona.

Zaragoza is a highly prosperous city, which is demonstrated by its wide boulevards, and high-end shopping and dining. In 2008, it hosted the World Fair which attracted 5.6 million visitors.

The main site of the Expo, which housed many of the pavilions, was a 62-acre set of land situated along the Ebro River. Projects such as the 80-meter Water Tower and the fresh water aquarium (Europe’s largest) were constructed in consistency with the Expo’s theme of water preservation and conservation.

 

Expo Alt. Image by Flickr user Loadmaster.

Expo Alt. Image by Flickr user Loadmaster.

Adding even more excitement to the Zaragoza Expo was the installation of Expo Alt, a 1.2 km cable car ride that transported passengers to the Expo site. The MDG system built by Leitner Ropeways transported passengers across the Ebro River to the Expo site from one of Zaragoza’s main train stations, Zaragoza-Delicias. The cable car was operated by Aramón Group, a renowned Spanish firm who owns and operates five ski resorts within the Aragonian region.

During the trip, riders would be elevated to a height of 50 meters allowing for some fantastic views of both the beautifully designed Water Tower and Bridge Pavillion. Even at the stations, riders were treated to some splendid architecture. Both stations, designed by the Spanish Architect Ignacio Vicens, capture the intricate structure of an ice crystal.

Expo Alt urban cable car crossing the Ebro River. The Bridge Pavilion can be seen beneath the gondola. Image by Flickr user by jmig1.

At the conclusion of the Expo’s three-month span, the gondola attracted one million passengers — demonstrating the system’s importance in bringing visitors to the Expo site. As ridership slowed down after the Expo, system operations were eventually discontinued.



Year Opened (closed) 2008 (2011)
Distance (km) 1.2
Stations 2
Speed (m/s) 6.0
Capacity (pphpd) 2600
Fare round-trip (euros) 5


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