19
Feb

2015

Cable Car Photo of the Week: Vinpearl Cable Car

Post by Nick Chu

IMG_5951 - Version 2

Vinpearl Cable Car. Image by Flickr user Kevin Ryan (all rights reserved).

Photographer:
Photo by Flickr user Kevin Ryan.

About:
Located in the coastal city of Nha Trang in Vietnam, the Vinpearl Cable Car connects passengers to Vinpearl Resort via a 12 minute, 3.3km ride. It is considered one of the world’s longest sea crossing gondolas.

Every Thursday, the Gondola Project team will select stunning captures of CPT lines. We hope this will continue to bring more attention to the technology and provide visually impactful examples of cable car systems worldwide. If you’d like to submit or nominate a picture for our “Photo of the Week”, we’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or send us an email at gondola@creativeurbanprojects.com.

18
Feb

2015

Maximum Travel Speed for a Cable Car

Post by Nick Chu

We recently received a great question from reader Roberto:

I was wondering what is the maximum speed now registered in the world for a cable car. So far I know, reversible cable cars (43 kph, Portland, USA) go faster than the well known loop cable cars (27 kph, Val d’Isère, France), which is not clear to me why. If you could also explain this issue, that would be great. Thank you in advance.

By the way, what can we expect in the near future for maximum speeds?

These are great questions Roberto. To start, it’s important to remember that Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) can be broken down into top-supported and bottom-supported systems. For bottom-supported systems, the fastest cable technology are funiculars which can travel at maximum speeds of 14 m/s (50km/h).

For top-supported systems such as the Aerial Tram and Gondola, maximum speeds are 12.5m/s (45km/h) and 8.5m/s (30km/h) respectively. Maximum gondola speeds as high as 9 m/s are rumoured but not confirmed.

Why detachable gondolas (“loop cable cars”) travel at lower maximum speeds is partially related to issues of design and economics. For a detachable gondola to reach higher speeds, it would require enormous stations to accelerate and decelerate cabins.

For most gondola systems — which travel in relatively short distances — the increase in speeds would only result in marginal time savings but result in much greater station costs, energy demands, system wear and tear, and etc etc. Aerial trams in comparison, are fixed-grip systems. They simply come to a full stop in a station which enables them to travel at higher maximum speeds. Also, aerial trams typically use larger cabins which are able to provide greater comfort and stability during high speed operations.

As for the future, high speed cable test facilities have reportedly designed ropeways operating at speeds of 18m/s (65km/h). While this is exciting, it’s important to note that before maximum speeds change, it must meet a series of stringent technical and legal requirements to ensure maximum passenger safety.


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Got a technical question about ropeways you want answered? Send your questions to 
gondola (at) creativeurbanprojects (dot) com in the subject heading and we’ll try to answer it.

17
Feb

2015

Assessing Intangibles in Transport Planning — Recreation, Chocolates & Proposals

Post by Nick Chu

Tourist riders on Medellin’s Metrocable. Image by Flickr user Juan Pablo Buritica.

As far as most transportation planners are concerned, urban transit systems should be evaluated based on major “function-related” items only (i.e. level of service, capacity, travel times, speeds, costs and etc).

Such an analysis is appropriate in transit applications if the only objective is to move users from point A to point B in the fastest and most cost-effective way possible. And in many instances, this is undoubtedly an important factor.

However, as astute readers know, debates on form vs function are often much more complicated than that — especially when “form-related” items are accounted for.

Factors such as experience and fun (novelty) are perhaps some of the biggest intangibles. For example, due to a cable car’s aerial nature, it often is a visible piece of infrastructure that provides passengers with panoramic views. In turn, this has the ability to improve ride experience, open up advertising partnerships and/or attract tourist riders.

While some of these items can be properly quantified in a study (i.e. sponsorship dollars), others such as the “fun” factor may be more challenging to address.

For instance, last week we reported that the Emirates Air Line cable car was offering romantic joint-ticket packages for Valentines Day. This week, we learned that the system transported over 25,000 passengers over the 4-day promotion period (nearly double the ridership over same period last year) while a marriage proposal took place in a private cabin.

Melanie, the lucky lady who was proposed to, was quoted saying:

“This was the most perfect moment just us, 100 feet up in the air surrounded by the awe of the London Skyline and with beautiful love songs serenading us. This moment we will remember forever. Waiting for sundown we took our return journey, now engaged and calling each other fiancé, the love songs continued to play as the sky went dark the lights of London came on and we enjoyed our chocolates absorbing the stunning scene. Richard pulled off a proposal beyond my wildest dreams.”

Something as simple (or as special) as the feasibility for a marriage proposal and dating event would be likely be lost in a traditional transport analysis because it’s beyond the purview of “transportation”.

But if you think about it, in many instances transportation is much more than simply getting from one place to another. Designed properly, it can be an integral part of a city that adds flavour and excitement to our lives.

So as transit plays a bigger role in everyday life for city residents, perhaps transport planners should start asking not only how public transport can move us around the city, but also how its intangibles can add character and open up opportunities for more “fun”.

13
Feb

2015

Weekly Roundup: Iraq and India Consider Cable Cars; and Some Pumped Way Up Kicks

Post by Gondola Project

The Vamps, kickin' it in a cable car. (Via YouTube.)

The Vamps, kickin’ it in a cable car. (Via YouTube.)

A quick look at some of the things that happened this week in the world of urban gondolas, cable cars and cable propelled transit:

Operation Cable Car (Iraq)
The long-developing Army Canal project in Baghdad—which aims to both restore the 25km waterway and introduce entertainment and tourism elements to the Iraqi capital—may also include a ropeway. Reports indicate that the city is looking for bids to install a cable car, though details about possible route or ridership remain elusive.

Up Above Kolkata (India)
Clever headlines aside, it’s encouraging to see reports that the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) in the state of West Bengal, India is looking at using a ropeway to connect Howrah station to Padmapukur. It looks as though the 4.5km-long system will will go out for tender soon.

Pop Zeitgeist (The Internet)
Earlier this week we were talking about publicity stunts staged in cable cars, and then lo and behold, British boy band The Vamps go and cover Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” while travelling in a cable car.

12
Feb

2015

Cable Car Photo of the Week: Millennium Cross Cable Car

Post by Gondola Project

Millennium Cross Cable Car in Skopje, Macedonia. Image by Flickr user Bojan Rantasa (creative commons).

Millennium Cross Cable Car in Skopje, Macedonia. Image by Flickr user Bojan Rantasa (creative commons).

Photographer:
Photo by Flickr user Bojan Rantasa.

About:
A stunning shot of the sun shining over the peak of Vondo Mountain in Skopje, Macedonia, where the 1,750m-long Millennium Cross Cable Car carries visitors up to the eponymous cross, one of the largest in the world.

Every Thursday, the Gondola Project team will select stunning captures of CPT lines. We hope this will continue to bring more attention to the technology and provide visually impactful examples of cable car systems worldwide. If you’d like to submit or nominate a picture for our “Photo of the Week”, we’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or send us an email at gondola@creativeurbanprojects.com.

12
Feb

2015

Riding Línea Roja in Full HD!

Post by Nick Chu

Last week we were pretty excited to share with you La Paz’s Línea Amarilla in full HD. This week, reader Peter K, found us brand new footage of the first aerial cable car in Bolivia’s capital, Línea Roja.

It’s hard to say which system is more spectacular but check it out and you be the judge!

 

09
Feb

2015

5 wackiest cable car promotional stunts

Post by Chris Bilton

Jonathan "Dangerman" Goodwin hanging from a cable car. Image from BBC.

Jonathan “Dangerman” Goodwin hanging from a cable car. Image from BBC.

Between the Valentine’s Day date night on Emirates Air Line in London and the Airbnb suite installed in a Courchevel cable car, it seems that the possibilities for what one can do with a gondola are limitless. Good promotional events just take the right kind of company and the right kind of cable car. But there’s a fairly long history of broadening riders’ experience through interactive fun. We took a look at some of the more memorable examples:

The Telecabine Show
The website/magazine for Three Valleys ski area in France, magdescine.com regularly posts videos of interesting happenings inside the gondolas. Episodes of The Telecabine Show have included live jazz bands performing to bemused cable car riders, and at least one pole dancer.

Dangerman versus Derbyshire
For the third episode of the BBC show Dangerman: The Incredible Mr. Goodwin, the eponymous thrill-seeker grabbed onto the base of the cable car at Matlock in Derbyshire and hung on as it ascended to the top of the Heights of Abraham. Judging by the number of camera angles, there had to be at least some preparation for the stunt.

Airbnb suite at 9,000 Feet
As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Airbnb is giving away a night for four in a converted cable-car at Courchevel in the French Alps.

Suspended Slackline
Red Bull is renowned for pairing brand with extreme stunts. So it’s not surprise that they were the source of this particularly fascinating—especially for us—tale of Alex Schulz walking on a slackline between to gondola cabins on the Zugspitze cable car in Germany.

Pumpkins Away
Inexplicably, the Hell’s Gate Airtram in B.C. has an annual event where riders are invited to toss pumpkins and Jack-O-Lanterns out of the cabin to try and hit a target below. In any case, it makes for some good YouTube footage.

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