System Dossier



System Dossier: Emirates Air Line

Image by Transport for London

London, England is home to a wide variety of world famous landmarks. Many destinations such as Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben clock tower are steeped with incredible historical significance. Other attractions, however, add their own modern flair and character to the city. This includes the popular Emirates Air Line cable car.

In 2012, the Big Smoke was at the centre of the sporting universe. Fans and athletes of all nationalities arrived at the British capital to experience the Games of the XXX Olympiad. This presented a perfect opportunity for the city to launch the cable car attraction.

Image by flickr user clive darra.

Transport for London (TfL) partnered with Emirates to construct the United Kingdom’s first urban gondola. The cable car was completed in less than a year, just in time for opening of the Games on June 28th, 2012. The cable car built by Doppelmayr is an MDG (monocable detachable gondola) system that is situated in the Royal Borough of Greenwich – located on the eastern side of the city. This area contains many exciting tourists attractions such as the Cutty Sark and local history spots like the National Maritime Museum.

The Emirates Air Line transports passengers roughly 1 kilometer across the Thames River at a maximum height of 90 meters between its two stations: the Royal Docks, and the Greenwich Peninsula. From the Royal Docks, passengers can visit Newham City Farm, the Museum of London Docklands, and the ExCeL convention center. The Greenwich Peninsula is a 5-minute walk from the O2 Arena and North Greenwich subway station.

A one-way trip over the Thames River takes approximately 10 minutes; however, after 7 p.m., the run extends to around 13 minutes allowing passengers to indulge in the breathtaking views of Canary Wharf and the London skyline. The system attract over 1.5 million passengers per year and is one of the few, if not only transport line in London which generates a profit.


Length (km) 1.1
Year Opened 2012
Ridership 1.5 million
Line Capacity (pphpd) 2,500
Fare Price (£) 4.50 (1-way, adult)
Trip Time (minutes) 10
Maximum speed (m/s) 6.0
System Dossier
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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:

Montjuïc Cable Car / System Dossier
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System Dossier: Yeosu Cable Car (여수해상케이블카)

Yeosu Cable Car. Image by 문화체육관광부.

Yeosu is a charming maritime city (pop: 300,000) on the southern coastline of South Korea. Roughly translated from Korean as “good water”, Yeosu is surrounded by 317 islands and is famous for its coastal beauty. Since hosting the 2012 World Expo, it has become a growing tourist destination.

To enhance the city’s appeal, the Yeosu Cable Car was built in 2014 by Poma and was estimated to attract one million passengers in its first year. It’s Korea’s first water crossing ropeway and, somewhat surprisingly, Asia’s fourth (Singapore, Hong Kong and Nha Trang have their own respective “seafaring gondolas”).

Outside of Korea, the system appears to have had little exposure and attention. However, a quick glance reveals several design elements worthy of further discussion.

To begin, the cable car connects two main areas, Jasan Park (Yeosu mainland) and Dolsan Park (Dolsando Island).

Jasan Park is a popular sightseeing spot with views of Yeosu Harbour and Odongo Island. It also has a memorial of national hero Yi Sun-sin, one of the world’s greatest naval commanders. The park is opened year round, free.

From Jasan Park, the 1.5km long cable car crosses over a small section of Turtle Bridge (photo), before climbing to heights of nearly 100m via two large lattice towers. These tall towers were probably required to allow ships to safely pass beneath because Namhae Sea (Gamack Bay/Yeosu Strait) remains an active port.

Aside from technical requirements, the tall towers undoubtedly add to the ride’s overall thrill and excitement. 100m up, passengers enjoy spectacular views of the water, Namhae island and the city.

Once arriving at Dolsando Island, visitors are treated to more spectacular vistas of Yeosu city, the coastline and Dolsandaegyo Bridge. The bridge was built in 1984, and is Korea’s longest cable stayed link (450m). Brilliantly illuminated at night, the bridge is a tourism big draw around the clock.

Cities aspiring to build their own cable car, should take note. It’s clear that system proponents did their design homework. The cable car incorporates many elements found in successful recreational ropeways:

It even took a page from a rare ticketing feature we only know exists in the Langkawi Cable Car. That is: “premium cabin tickets” for 5-8 of your friends which allows you can to skip the entire line. Sure it’s capitalistic, but if you have a large group, the US$5 extra per person seems reasonable. It’s unlikely to be used significantly, but a valuable option to have.

For this rapidly developing nation, the Yeosu cable car appears to satisfy the growing demand for more domestic attractions. Visitors can get to the ropeway by bus and taxi from 9am-10pm (M-F/Sun) and 9am-11pm (Sat).

Length (km) 1.5
Stations 2
Year Opened 2014
Cabin Capacity 8 (reg); 5 (crystal)
Fare $9-19
Trip Time 13 minutes
Maximum speed (m/s) 5


Installations / System Dossier / Yeosu Cable Car
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System Dossier: MÍO Cable (Cali, Colombia)

MIO Cable (Leitner Ropeways)

MÍO Cable. Image by LEITNER Ropeways.

With 2.3 million residents, Cali is the third most populous city in Colombia. Coincidentally, in September 2015 it became the third Colombian city to implement a Cable Propelled Transit line (after Medellin and Manizales).

This 2.0km transit system, named MÍO Cable (English: My Cable), is fully integrated with the city’s public transportation network and directly serves the 120,000 residents of Siloé. Siloé is one of Cali’s most disadvantaged neighbourhoods and because it is situated on hilly terrain, it was nearly impossible to implement traditional rapid transit solutions cost-effectively.

Since MÍO Cable opened, travel times to the central bus station, Cañaveralejo, has been reduced to just 9 minutes from 35 minutes in the past (a 74% reduction in travel time!).

LEITNER Ropeways was the manufacturer of this urban cable car. It is the sixth ropeway that the company has built in Colombia.

The system began operations in September 2015, but residents were welcome to ride free of charge until November. Since the promotional phase ended, riders pay a fare of USD $0.60 (COP $1,700). Residents can travel conveniently throughout the community as the system is operational for 18 hours a day (5am – 11pm). During its first week of commercial operations, the system already transported 16,000 residents!

Length (km) 2.0
Stations 4
Year Opened 2015
Capacity 2,000 (up to 3,000)
Fare $0.60
Trip Time 9 minutes
Maximum speed (m/s) 5
MIO Cable / System Dossier
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The new Sentosa Line – Singapore Sky Network


Sentosa Line. Image from Flickr user darrenbloggie.

In June 2015 the island-nation of Singapore opened its second urban gondola, the Sentosa Line, just ahead of its 50th year anniversary celebrations. The original system, Singapore Cable Car, has now been rebranded as the Mount Faber Line. Collectively, the two systems are now part of the Singapore Sky Network, all of which were built by Austrian ropeway experts, Doppelmayr.

Unlike the first system which transported users from Mount Faber to the island resort of Sentosa, the new cableway provides riders with intra-island service via three stations: 1. Siloso Point; 2. Imbiah Lookout; and 3. Merlion.

The 8-passenger gondola offers users an exhilarating alternative to ordinary buses with aerials views from up to 80m over the island’s lush vegetation. The cable car is just one of the many infrastructure upgrades being made to enhance the island’s accessibility and connectivity.

Note the design of the cabins, in five bright colours. It feels appropriate for the leisurely and recreational atmosphere of Sentosa. Consider the contrast it makes stark contrast to the sleek metallic black, chrome-trimmed cabins on the Mount Faber Line, designed to offer riders a more elegant experience.

In the face of growing competition from a rapidly developing tourism market, the Sentosa Line is a welcome attraction to help the island improve transport options and bring further excitement to its annual visitor base of 20 million.

Length (km) 0.8
Stations 3
Year Opened 2015
Capacity 2,200
Fare $13.00
Trip Time ~4-6 minutes
Maximum speed (m/s) 4.0
System Dossier
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System Dossier: Roosevelt Island Tram


The Roosevelt Island Tram is considered America’s first CPT system and a true pioneer in the field of urban cable car transport. The Tram was necessitated by the development of Roosevelt Island when many residents started moving onto the island’s new housing projects in the 1970s.

The Tram was built by Von Roll (a now defunct manufacturer) and was first opened for passenger service in July 1976. It was designed as a stop-gap measure to temporarily transport commuters over the East River to Manhattan before a subway was to arrive.

However, as time passed with no signs of an underground connection, citizens continued to take to the skies where the aerial lift became further entrenched into the lives of island commuters. Perhaps due to a combination of its novelty, aerial views (up to heights of 76m), and the fact that most commutes in New York are dark, cramped and miserable, the Tram quickly became an instant success and was soon converted into a permanent piece of transport.

Even though the island is served by a subway today, over 2 million riders hop aboard the Tram for panoramic views each year. In fact, it is considered an icon of the island and has been featured in popular media channels, including Spider-Man (2002) film.

After 34 years in operations, the Tram owners (Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation) decided to upgrade the system in 2010. Amazingly, the Tram ran for more than double its projected service life of 17 years with only two breakdowns. POMA, a French manufacturer of cable lifts was selected to modernize the system and after 8 months of construction work, the Tram reopened to passengers in November 2010.

The new system, no longer operates in a jig-back (aerial tram) configuration, rather the cabins are able to operate independently from each other. This new “dual haul” configuration results in improved efficiency, reliability and demand responsiveness.

Length (km) 1.0
Stations 2
Year Opened 1976 (modernized 2010)
Capacity 1,500
Fare $2.75
Trip Time 3-4 minutes
Maximum speed (m/s) 8
System Dossier
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System Dossier: BreckConnect

New BreckConnect Gondola

Image by Flickr user Visit Colorado.

The BreckConnect is a 2.3km (1.4mi) cable car which links the Town of Breckenridge to the Breckenridge Ski Resort. The opening of this system in 2006 meant that bus traffic between the two main activity nodes were significantly reduced. This was particularly important since the alpine resort is one of the most popular in America with over 1.5 million annual skier visits.

In the past visitors had to board crowded and untimely buses but now passengers simply park at the Miners and Tailings lot and then hop onto the gondola. The system effectively functions as the backbone of the Town’s transit network with many connections to the Summit Stage bus system.

The gondola was also able to connect to new areas of development at two mid-stations — Shock Hill and Peak 7. Thanks to the improvements in transport connectivity, property values at these sites were enhanced since visitors now had direct “Ski-in and Ski-out” privileges. Together, the Town and the resort continues to work together to stimulate more development.

The system has a built in capacity of 2,800 pph (with 120-143 cabins) which enables it to accommodate large flows of passengers travelling between the various sites. Similar to the Telluride and Mountain Village Gondola, the entire gondola system is free to ride for all passengers. To take a virtual ride of the system yourself, check out this great Youtube video.

A big thanks goes out to Billy Beasley for helping with this article. 

Length (km) 2.3
Stations 4
Year Opened 2006
Capacity 2,800
Fare Free
Trip Time 8-10 minutes
Maximum speed (m/s) 5
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BreckConnect / System Dossier
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