Hakone Ropeway – CC image by Flickr user jeanphony

The funitel is a fast, detachable-grip gondola that offers a comfortable ride and high wind stability. The most obvious characteristic of funitel cabins are their short, double arms, which provide stability in winds up to 100 km/h.

Maybe the most intersting aspect of the funitel is that it runs along a single, dual-loop cable — which gives off the illusion of two cables. This set up makes functionality high but adds to construction and maintenance costs, as well as increased space requirements.

Funitels are not typically found in cities.
Major Characteristics:

Grip: A funitel cabin has four detachable grips that are attached by two arms. The detachability means cabins can detach from the cable and slow down for boarding and alighting when in a station.

Cables: A funitel configuration consists of a single dual-loop cable (see diagram below) which provides both support and propulsion.

Speed: About 7.5 m/s, which is equal to 27 km/h.

Capacity: Generally cabins hold between 20-30 passengers. This amounts to around 3,200-4,000 people per hour per direction.

Towers: Funitel towers are fairly large as they must accomodate the full width of the dual arm cabins. They can be either cylindrical or lattice structures.

One type of funitel dual loop set up.

Multiple funitel configurations

The Dual Loop: There are multiple configurations for the funitel but they all achieve the same effect of “doubling up” a single cable. Because there is only one cable, each segment of the cable moves at an identical speed which means both arms of the cabins also move at the same speed. This keeps cabins aligned and eliminates small speed discrepancies that could otherwise occur.

The Volkswagen plant in Bratislava uses a custom funitel to transport new cars.

The Car Funitel: One unique and intriguing use of a funitel system can be found in Slovakia at the Bratislava Volkswagen plant. Instead of cabins, the system was outfitted with custom designed car carriers, which transport new cars between the manufacturing plant and test tracks. The entire system is 432m long and can move 1,100 cars per day.

And a few funitel systems that have appeared on the site in the past:

If you’re looking for the original post on Funitel technology, you can find it here.