Posts Tagged: tram

10
Oct

2012

Meran 2000 Bergbahn

The Merano 2000 Bergbahn. CC image by Flickr user Alexander Klotz.

There is more than one intriguing feature to the Meran 2000 Bergbahn, an aerial ropeway built in 2010 at the Merano 2000 ski resort in South Tyrol, Italy. At first the it may appear to be a simple (yet stunning) two-cabin tram — the stations are small, the system branded a vibrant red, and the cabins large (each cabin can hold 120 people.) But there’s more…

THE MID-STATION

A view from the mid-station. Image from Merano 2000.

First off, the system has three stations, not just two. And even more interestingly the mid-station consists of an underground waiting area, a large lattice pylon (tower), and a bridge. Yes, I said a bridge. Essentially, because of the alignment, the mid-point is located in a rather difficult location (apparently mid-air?)

Instead of constructing a really tall station that would reach to the ground below (which would be more costly and require a larger footprint) or re-aligning the system, engineers decided to span the distance between the cabins and nearest parallel mountainside with a large metal and cantilever (with support) bridge.

Now, when I say cabins, I mean cabin. The other point to this design is that as far as I can tell, only one cabin can utilize the mid-station since the bridge only reaches as far as one side of the tower. This is more obvious in the diagram below.

The bridge is entirely static except for the last bit which folds down for the approaching cabin once it has come to a complete stop. You can see the bridge in action in this video (or here):

Another intriguing aspect to the mid-station is that the cabins only stop when requested. If everyone is going to the top (or bottom) station, the system will continue past the mid-station/bridge. Only when the “request a stop” button is pushed does the cabin stop. (This reminds me of some other form of transit … oh right, buses and streetcars!)

THE MAIN STATIONS
As previously mentioned, the Merano Bergbahn stations are small. And by small I mean really narrow. Since the system is a reversible aerial tram there can never be more than one cabin at each end station at any given time. Therefore to save space the loading/unloading platforms in these stations are moveable, sliding back and forth depending on which side the cabin is on.

The base station with its sliding platform. CC image by Flickr user Alexander Klotz.

Other than being really awesome, a big reason for the small size (at least at the bottom station) was to stay away from the river, which would have led to additional complications and cost. If station sizes can be reduced to avoid naturally occurring obstacles, imagine how they could be designed to fit into urban contexts…

THE ARCHITECTURE
Finally, the last point to note is the architecture, which is really rather striking.

The top and bottom stations are mostly concrete but clad in a ruby red metal mesh. The top station also has a bistro which is almost entirely surrounded by windows — I can only imagine that the view is spectacular.

Mountain Station by day. Image from Merano 2000.

Mountain Station by night. Image from Merano 2000.

FINAL NOTE
As a final observation, one video I watched showed the inside of one of the cabins. And it was equipped with a bike rack, which seemed rather appropriate to point out especially as a feature for urban systems and as a follow up to a recent guest post about bikes on transit. In this case it is definitely a feature that seems like it could be removed for the winter to allow more room for people and skis.

The Merano 2000 biker friendly aerial trams

In conclusion, if you’ve ridden on this system or have anything to add, tell us in the comments! We’d love to hear your thoughts.



Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.

29
Aug

2012

Swearing on Public Transit Can Get You Fined

Riding public transit can be an overwhelmingly positive experience. You don’t have to drive in traffic, you get to read your favourite book, and you can save money. However, any regular transit rider knows that once in a while, something always happens which gives you that urge to just vent out a little (or a lot). The real nice thing is, the fashion in which you swear is entirely up to you, whether its in your own mind, muttered under your breathe or shouted verbally at your fellow passenger.

However, should you choose to voice your displeasure out loud, you may get fined depending on the district you live in. For example, in Milwaukee, a rider was hit with a $500 ticket from an undercover deputy for cursing on a bus.

Because we all know that anytime someone gives you a ticket, it'd provoke us to swear less. Image by Flickr user greenkozi.

Now while I thought that was a little ridiculous, it’s apparently not uncommon. In Hong Kong, they decided to take it a bit further. There’s supposedly a law which regulates swearing and the most bizarre (or hilarious) thing about this is that the amount you’re fined is directly dependent on where you decide to spew your profanity. For example, if somehow you’re caught cursing on the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car, you’ll get hit with a HK$5000 fine (USD $650)!

Just don't get caught swearing on a bus. You might be jailed for 6 months.

So my question is: who and how did one determine these figures? And why does it cost me 5x more to swear on a cable car than a funicular?

While we’ll probably never find these answers, we do know one thing for sure. If you’re feeling down and out in Hong Kong and wanted to vent some frustration in public, at only HKD$100 (USD$13) per swear word, the tram is definitely your most economical option.

 



Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.