Photo of the Week: Tianmen Mountain Cable Car

Post by Nick Chu



In Victoria, Australia Sour Grapes Are A Certain Shade Of Blue

Post by Steven Bochenek


Process indeed! Protestors consider legal action against this cable car’s very colour. (Photo credit: http://bit.ly/1hiOk8Q)

Last week the state government of Victoria, Australia signed a 50-year lease for a new tourist-oriented gondola on Arthurs Seat. It replaces a 1960 2-person chairlift that was shuttered in 2006 after a series of incidents. The process was long and arduous but necessary, following all the rules.

With the lease in place, the Arthurs Seat Skylift is essentially a go. Or is it?

The opposition group, Save Our Seat (SOS – get it?) appears hell-bent on delaying, obstructing and otherwise harassing a project that’s been in the works for years. Kyrie Greer of SOS said to the Mornington Peninsula News “it is shameful Parks Victoria and the state government have not gone with a more environmentally sensitive approach to revitalizing such an important part of Victoria’s heritage. Eco-tourism is the way of the future, not electricity-driven, high infrastructure-based developments.”

Apparently Ms. Greer doesn’t know that all transportation systems are electricity-driven. The cleanliness of a transit mode — or anything powered by electricity — is determined by: a) the fuel used to produce the electricity and b) how much electricity the transport system uses.

Ms. Greer never stated what the preferred alternative is (perhaps donkeys?) but vowed to continue the fight against the system, despite agreeing there’s “now little chance of stopping Skylift.”

SOS’s next tactic could be to challenge the system based upon it’s colour which is reported to be Pantone Process Blue. SOS is seeking legal advice about the council’s decision regarding the colour and may apply to the Victoria Civil and Administration Tribunal if there are “sufficient grounds to challenge it.”

Yes, the colour. Seriously.

Stuff like this is infuriating. Not because it’s about gondolas but because it’s about people incapable of swallowing sour grapes, attempting to subvert proper process because they didn’t like its results.

In life, sometimes things don’t go your way. In fact, most things won’t go your way. That’s just the way it is. Understanding that is part of being a mature person and a good local citizen.

Democracy may grant you the right to an opinion but nowhere is it written that your opinion has to be right. The democratic is also expensive and stuff like this needlessly increases costs. A good citizen doesn’t try to delay and subvert proper process by filing trivial grievances that waste everyone’s time and money.

I don’t know if the Arthurs Seat Gondola is a good idea or a bad idea and frankly I don’t care. It’s not my decision to make. It’s the decision of the State of Victoria, Parks Victoria and the local community council. And all parties have decided the gondola is a good idea.

I hope those parties also decide that Pantone Process Blue shouldn’t be allowed to get in the way of proper process.



Weekly Roundup: Kuelap to Get a Cable Car

Post by Nick Chu

• Sister Site of Machu Picchu (Peru)

Kuélap, one of the most remote and inaccessible sister sites of Machu Picchu, will soon get a cable car. Construction of the system officially started this week. The cable car will take passengers from the city of Tingo Nuevo to Chachapoyas fortress and reduce travel times from two hours to 20 minutes!

• 10 Hour Wait, FREE! (Singapore) 

The word ‘free’ does strange things to people. Last week we mentioned that the Singapore Cable Car was offering complimentary rides to all permanent residents and Singaporeans as part of the country’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Turns out that this might have been too much of a good thing. Thrill seekers flooded the system and the cable car was quickly overwhelmed. By midday, operators warned passengers to stay home since the estimated wait time was up to 10 hours!

• Future of Gondolas As Transport in Telluride a Warm Potato (USA)

Elected officials in Telluride and Mountain Village, Colorado are having trouble coming to a consensus on public transit after 2027. They managed to agree that their gondola is indeed ‘regional transit’ but who who will own it after Mountain Village’s “legal obligations to operate and maintain it ends” in 2027 has been put off for awhile.



Photo of the Week: Cologne Cable Car (Kölner Seilbahn)

Post by Nick Chu



Doppelmayr – Leader in 3S Technology

Post by Steven Bochenek

“What does the name 3s mean?” is a question we are often asked by decision-makers, who are considering gondola technology for their cities. We would love to say something sibilant and succinct, like Safe, Speedy and Stabilized. But the truth is more mundane.

The name 3S comes from the German drei Seile, three ropes, because cabins run along 3 cables. Two provide support and the third is for propulsion. And that is where the truth becomes more interesting! 3S tech combines the benefits of continuous-movement and reversible gondola systems.

Similar to an MDG or BDG, a 3S’s detachable grip cabins run in a continuous loop. Unlike those others, a 3S’s extra cables stabilize the ride against wind and can support far more riders.

What are the advantages for city riders and builders?

  • Greater speed — up to 8.5 metres per second. That is over 30kph or nearly 19mph. Consider: Manhattan is 13.4 miles long. When was the last time anyone drove it end to end in 45 minutes during rush hour?
  • Better capacity — can carry up to 35 passengers per gondola and 4,500 passengers per hour in each direction.
  • Easy placement — 3S gondolas can travel longer unsupported distances between towers. With a small footprint, they provide a flexible and simple solution for building infrastructure within dense cities.
  • New levels of safety — a revolutionary recovery concept eliminates the need for a rescue ropeway. Cable cars can simply be returned to the stations.
  • Low energy consumption — especially when compared to subways, trams and buses.
  • Flexibility — given its high wind stability between exceptionally long unsupported distances, the 3S can be adapted to nearly any environment.

Where can you see the best examples?

The world’s longest unsupported rope span between gondola towers in on the Peak 2 Peak lift at the Whistler/Blackcomb resort in British Columbia, Canada. It’s 3,026 meters (nearly 1.9 miles). Even on clear days, passengers have trouble seeing from one tower to the next. Peak 2 Peak also features the world’s greatest height from valley floor reaching 436 meters overhead.

Pardatschgrat, Austria boasts the world’s first self-elevating station in permafrost. At 2,600 meters, the conditions are highly changeable. To accommodate any possible shifts and ground movement, the structure was built on hydraulic jacks. (Previously those extreme conditions forced operators to shut the old system down for 10 to 20 days each season. This system also holds the world record for longest vertical rise: 1,251 meters.

One 3S system built in 2013 in Krasnaya Polyana, Sochi holds two world records: 5,386 meter inclined length and a speed of 8.5 meters per second (see above). The other 3S system in the Olympic Village can transport a record-breaking 4,500 people per hour.

The especially observant will note that all three of these systems are built by Doppelmayr. Currently, Doppelmayr is undoubtedly the world leader in 3S ropeway technology. In fact they’ve built nearly all the 3S systems in the world.

Why can’t you see any examples in any cities yet?

While we cannot answer this question, we agree with it. With ever-increasing traffic and human congestion at ground level (and below on subway transit) building overhead makes better and better sense. Plus with extreme weather conditions plaguing great cities, the stability of 3S technology is worth another look. It’s Speedy, Safe, Stable and Strong enough to carry a great deal of the load city infrastructure is no longer supporting. But it needs to be Seen.




Weekly Roundup: Lima to Get Two New Urban Gondolas by 2017

Post by Nick Chu

Cable cars announced in Lima, Peru. Image via elcomercio.pe.

Cable cars renderings (Lima, Peru). Image via elcomercio.pe.

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

Lima Announces Two Urban Gondolas (Peru)
President Ollanta Humala announced that the districts of El Agustino and San Juan de Lurigancho will receive two cable propelled transit systems by mid 2017. One system will travel east-west and connect the city’s northern BRT terminus (Naranjal) to San Carlos Metro station. Its 5-station alignment is expected to mobilize 7,500 nearby citizens, cost US$50.2 million and reduce travel times from 1-2 hours to just 25 minutes. The other urban ropeway will benefit 7,400 residents living near Catalina Huanca hill via 4 stations. Both cable car lines are expected to greatly improve transportation for some of the city’s poorest residents.

PICS: Table Mountain Cableway Maintenance (Cape Town, South Africa)
Ever wonder what it takes to maintain and upgrade a cable car system? In Cape Town, the technical crews have been hard at work to ensure that the iconic ropeway is operating at the highest safety standards. This year’s maintenance schedule includes general upkeep, a cabin facelift and a haul rope change. The system will be up and running again on August 10.

Asir Cable Car (Saudi Arabia) 
The 4-station Asir Cable Car transports leisure-seekers and vacationers between the Al-Sarat Mountains and Tihama Plains. The area is experiencing a boom in tourism and is now seeking international investors to build new cafes and foot outlets.



Photo of the Week: Teleferico do Alemao

Post by Nick Chu

Teleférico do Alemão #riodejaneiro

A photo posted by Joāo Paulo Engelbrecht (@jp_engelbrecht) on

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