Aerial lift

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Funivia del Plateau Rosa'.JPG
Plateau Rosa aerial tramway, in Cervinia, Italy, moves 120 people at a time to a 3,480 m (11,420 ft) glacier.
Telecabina Panticosa.jpg
8-passenger gondola lift in Panticosa Ski Resort, Spain.

An aerial lift [1] (U.S.), also known as a cable car (U.K., Europe), is a means of cable transport in which cabins, cars, gondolas, or open chairs are hauled above the ground by means of one or more cables. Aerial lift systems are frequently employed in a mountainous territory where roads are relatively difficult to build and use, and have seen extensive use in mining. Aerial lift systems are relatively easy to move and have been used to cross rivers and ravines. In more recent times, the cost-effectiveness and flexibility of aerial lifts have seen an increase of gondola lift being integrated into urban public transport systems.[ citation needed ]



Aerial tramway

CH Furtschellas aerial tram.jpg
Aerial tramway in Engadine, Switzerland, suspended on two support cables with an additional haul rope.
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Aerial tramway to the Aiguille du Midi, France, suspended on one support cable with an additional haul rope.
Video of an aerial tramway going downhill at Mount Tsukuba in Ibaraki, Japan.

A cable car (British English) or an aerial tramway, aerial tram (American English), uses one or two stationary ropes for support while a separate moving rope provides propulsion. [2] The grip of an aerial tramway is permanently fixed onto the propulsion rope. Aerial trams used for urban transport include the Roosevelt Island Tramway (New York) and Portland Aerial Tram.[ citation needed ]

Gondola lift

2017-01 Gondola lift Tignes 02.jpg
A gondola lift in Tignes, France.

A gondola lift consists of a continuously circulating cable that is strung between two or more stations, over intermediate supporting towers. The cable is driven by a bullwheel in a terminal, which is connected to an engine or electric motor. [3] Multiple gondola cabins are attached to the cable, usually with detachable grips, enabling them to slow down in the stations to facilitate safe boarding. Fixed grip variants exist, although these are considerably less common. Lifts with a single cable are sometimes referred to as "mono-cable" gondola lifts. Depending on the design of the individual lift, the capacity, cost, and functionality of a gondola lift will differ dramatically. Because of the proliferation of such systems in the Alpine regions of Europe, the French language name of Télécabine is also used in an English language context. Gondola lifts are also used for urban transportation. Examples include the Singapore Cable Car, Metrocable (Medellín), Metrocable (Caracas), Mi Teleférico (La Paz), and Emirates Air Line (London).[ citation needed ]

Bicable and tricable gondola lifts

The Ngong Ping 360 bicable gondola lift in Hong Kong, built by Leitner.
Eisgratbahn am Stubaier Gletscher.jpg
A tricable gondola lift at the Stubaier Gletscher, Austria.

Gondola lifts which feature one stationary 'support' rope and one haul rope are known as bi-cable gondola lifts, while lifts that feature two support ropes and one haul rope are known as tri-cable gondola lifts. Examples include Ngong Ping Skyrail (Hong Kong) and the Peak 2 Peak Gondola (Canada).[ citation needed ]


Funitel at Val Thorens, France Funitel Fond.JPG
Funitel at Val Thorens, France

A funitel differs from a standard gondola through the use of two overhead arms, attached to two parallel haul cables, providing more stability in high winds. [4] The name funitel is a blend of the French words funiculaire and telepherique . Systems may sometimes be referred to as "double monocable" (DMC), where two separate haul cables are used, or "double loop monocable" (DLM) where a single haul cable is looped round twice.[ citation needed ]

Because skis or snowboard have to be taken off and held during the trip, and because of the (usual) absence of seats, funitels can sometimes be uncomfortable for long trips, in the same way other large gondolas can be. Funitels combine a short time between successive cabins with a high capacity (20 to 30 people) [5] per cabin.


The Arabba Porta Vescovo Funifor Funifor Arabba Porta Vescovo.jpg
The Arabba Porta Vescovo Funifor
The returning haul cable (top), the support cables (middle), and the non-returning haul cable (bottom) are visible here. These structures appear at regular intervals along the line, to hold the cables together and keep a consistent track width Bezau Bergbahn5 TalstationSeilreiter.jpg
The returning haul cable (top), the support cables (middle), and the non-returning haul cable (bottom) are visible here. These structures appear at regular intervals along the line, to hold the cables together and keep a consistent track width

A funifor is a type of cable car with two support ropes and a haul rope, looped around. Each system is composed of a single cabin shuttling back-and-forth. Many installations are built with two parallel, but independent, lines. The funifor design was developed by the Italian manufacturer, Hölzl, which later merged with Doppelmayr Italia. Today, the design is therefore patented by Doppelmayr Garaventa Group. [6]

At the top of each track, the haul rope loops back to the bottom instead of looping over to serve the other track, as would occur with a normal aerial tramway. This is shown in the diagram below. This feature allows for a single cabin operation when traffic warrants. The independent drive also allows for evacuations to occur by means of a bridge connection between the adjacent cabins. [7] The main advantage of the funifor system is its stability in high wind conditions owing to the horizontal distance between the two support ropes. [6]

Diagram of the looped haul cable of the funifor system. The support cables are not shown Funifor diagram.svg
Diagram of the looped haul cable of the funifor system. The support cables are not shown


Lago-Maggiore 1411.JPG
Fixed grip chairlift at Stresa, Italy.
Chair lift in Bad Hofgastein Austria.jpg
A detachable chairlift with a bubble, in Bad Hofgastein, Austria.

Chairlifts are continuously circulating systems carrying chairs, which usually enable skiers to board without removing skis. They are a common type of lift at most ski areas and in mountainous areas. They can also be found at some amusement parks and tourist attractions.[ citation needed ]

Detachable chairlifts usually move far faster than fixed-grip chairlifts, typically 5 m/s (16.4 ft/s) compared with 2 to 2.5 m/s (6.6 to 8.2 ft/s). Because the cable moves faster than most passengers could safely disembark and load, each chair is connected to the cable by a powerful spring-loaded cable grip which detaches at terminals, allowing the chair to slow considerably for convenient loading and unloading at a typical speed of 0.75 m/s (2.5 ft/s), a speed slower even than fixed-grip. Chairs may be fitted with a "bubble" canopy to offer weather protection.[ citation needed ]

Hybrid lift

A hybrid lift in Turracher Hohe, Austria. Cgd panoramabahn.jpg
A hybrid lift in Turracher Höhe, Austria.

A hybrid lift is a fusion of a gondola lift and a chair lift. The company Leitner refers to it as telemix, [8] while Doppelmayr uses the term combination lift. [9] An example is Ski Arlberg's Weibermahd lift in Vorarlberg (Austria) which alternates between 8-person chairlifts and 10-person gondolas. [10]


A tuin in use in Nepal Aerial ropeways Nepal Tuin.jpg
A tuin in use in Nepal

In undeveloped areas with rough terrain, simple hand-powered cable-cars may be used for crossing rivers, such as the tuin used in Nepal. [11] [12]

Material ropeways

View along the Forsby-Koping limestone cableway, Sweden Kalklinbanan-Granhammar.jpg
View along the Forsby-Köping limestone cableway, Sweden

A material ropeway or ropeway conveyor [13] is an aerial lift from which containers for goods rather than passenger cars are suspended. These are usually monocable or bicable gondola lifts.

Material ropeways are typically found around large mining concerns, and can be of considerable length. The COMILOG Cableway, which ran from Moanda in Gabon to Mbinda in the Republic of the Congo, was over 75 km in length. The Norsjö aerial tramway in Sweden had a length of 96 kilometers.[ citation needed ]


The following abbreviations are frequently used in the industry:[ citation needed ]

ATWAerial TramwayTPHTéléphériquePBPendelbahn
MGDMonocable gondola detachableTCDTélécabine débrayableEUBEinseilumlaufbahn
BGDBicable gondola detachableTPH 2STéléphérique 2SZUBZweiseilumlaufbahn
TGDTricable gondola detachableTPH 3STéléphérique 3S3S3S-Bahn
MGFPMonocable gondola fixed grip pulsedTCPTélécabine pulséeGUBEinseil-Gruppenumlaufbahn
MGFJMonocable gondola fixed grip jigbackTCVTélécabine à va-et-vientGPBEinseil-Gruppenpendelbahn
BGFPBicable gondola fixed grip pulsedTPH PTéléphérique pulséZweiseil-Gruppenumlaufbahn
CLFChairlift fixed gripTSFTélésiège à pince fixeSBSesselbahn fix geklemmt
CLDChairlift detachableTSDTélésiège débrayableKSBkuppelbare Sesselbahn
CGDChairlift gondola detachableTSCD
Téléporté débrayable avec sièges et cabines
Kombibahn (Sessel + Gondel)
RPCRope conveyorTélécordeMaterialseilbahn

See also

Related Research Articles

Aerial tramway Aerial lift in which the cars are permanently fixed to the cables

An aerial tramway, sky tram,cable car, ropeway or aerial tram is a type of aerial lift which uses one or two stationary ropes for support while a third moving rope provides propulsion. With this form of lift, the grip of an aerial tramway cabin is fixed onto the propulsion rope and cannot be decoupled from it during operations.

Yan Lift

Yan Lift, incorporated as Lift Engineering & Mfg. Co., was a major ski lift manufacturer in North America. Founded in 1965 and based in Carson City, Nevada, the firm came under scrutiny by state safety officials after a fatal accident in 1985, and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July 1996 after multiple other accidents resulting in 3 deaths.

Gondola lift

A gondola lift is a means of cable transport and type of aerial lift which is supported and propelled by cables from above. It consists of a loop of steel cable that is strung between two stations, sometimes over intermediate supporting towers. The cable is driven by a bullwheel in a terminal, which is typically connected to an engine or electric motor. They are often considered continuous systems since they feature a haul rope which continuously moves and circulates around two terminal stations. In contrast, aerial tramways solely operate with fixed grips and simply shuttle back and forth between two end terminals. Depending on the combination of cables used for support and/or haulage and the type of grip, the capacity, cost, and functionality of a gondola lift will differ dramatically. Because of the proliferation of such systems in the Alpine regions of Europe, the Cabinovia (Italian) or the French name of Télécabine are also used in English texts. The system may often be referred to as a cable car.


An elevated passenger ropeway, or chairlift, is a type of aerial lift, which consists of a continuously circulating steel cable loop strung between two end terminals and usually over intermediate towers, carrying a series of chairs. They are the primary onhill transport at most ski areas, but are also found at amusement parks, various tourist attractions, and increasingly in urban transport.

Detachable chairlift

A detachable chairlift or high-speed chairlift is a type of passenger aerial lift, which, like a fixed-grip chairlift, consists of numerous chairs attached to a constantly moving wire rope that is strung between two terminals over intermediate towers. They are now commonplace at all but the smallest of ski resorts. Some are installed at tourist attractions as well as for urban transportation.


A funitel is a type of cableway, generally used to transport skiers, although at least one is used to transport finished cars between different areas of a factory. It differs from a standard gondola lift through the use of two arms attached to two parallel overhead cables, providing more stability in high winds. The name funitel is a blend of the French words funiculaire and telepherique.

Doppelmayr Garaventa Group

Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group is an international manufacturer of ropeways and people movers for ski areas, urban transport, amusement parks, and material handling systems. As of 2019, the group have produced over 15,000 installations in 96 countries. The Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group was formed in 2002 when Doppelmayr of Wolfurt, Austria merged with Garaventa AG of Switzerland to form the world's largest ropeway manufacturer.

Doppelmayr USA

Doppelmayr USA, Inc is an aerial lift manufacturer based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and a subsidiary of the worldwide Doppelmayr Garaventa Group. The United States company was formed in 2002 after the merger of Garaventa of Goldau, Switzerland, and Doppelmayr of Wolfurt, Austria. Between 2002 and 2010, the company was named Doppelmayr CTEC. From 2011 the company has operated using the Doppelmayr brand name, in common with most other Doppelmayr Garaventa Group subsidiaries. Its only competitor is Leitner-Poma of America.

High Technology Industries, known as HTI Group is a group of companies with its headquarters in Italy. All global players, the subsidiaries are active in the following different fields: ropeways for transporting passengers and materials, snowmaking systems, wind turbines, snow groomers and tracked utility vehicles. Around the world, the group is represented by 70 subsidiaries as well as 131 sales and service points.

Poma, incorporated as Pomagalski S.A., and sometimes referred to as the Poma Group, is a French company which manufactures cable-driven lift systems, including fixed and detachable chairlifts, gondola lifts, funiculars, aerial tramways, people movers, and surface lifts. Poma has installed about 7800 devices for 750 customers worldwide.

Tricable gondola lift Cable car system

The tricable gondola lift, also known as the 3S gondola lift, is a cable car system that was developed by the Swiss company Von Roll transport systems in Thun to unite the benefits of a gondola lift with those of a reversible cable car system. ‘3S’ is an abbreviation of the German word dreiseil, meaning ‘tricable’.

Leitner-Poma of America, known simply as Leitner-Poma, is a United States aerial lift manufacturer based in Grand Junction, Colorado. It is the American subsidiary of French-based Poma, which is owned by the Italian company HTI Group. The North American company was formed in 2000 when the Seeber Group, owner of Leitner, bought Poma and merged both companies' North American subsidiaries. Leitner-Poma of America operates a Canadian subsidiary based in Barrie, Ontario called Leitner-Poma Canada Inc.

The Hashikurasan Ropeway is the name of Japanese aerial lift line in Ikeda, Tokushima, as well as its operator. The line climbs Mount Hashikura of Hashikura-dera, a famous temple.

Hybrid lift

A hybrid lift is a type of ski lift that combines the elements of a chairlift and a gondola lift. First introduced by Poma, who refers to them as Telemix, they have since been built by most lift manufacturers who refer to them by a variety of names; Doppelmayr refers to them as a combined lift, Bartholet refers to them with the French name, téléporté mixte, while the more generic terms chondola and telecombi are common in North America.

1990 Tbilisi aerial tramway accident

The 1990 Tbilisi aerial tramway accident was an aerial tramway accident in Tbilisi, the capital of Soviet Georgia on June 1, 1990, which resulted in 20 deaths and at least 15 injuries.

Leitner Ropeways is a business that manufactures and distributes products and equipment for ropeways, snow groomers, urban transportation systems, and wind energy in Italy and internationally. The company was founded in 1888 and was recognized in 2003 to be owned by the Leitner Group, later the HTI Group. The company also provides spare parts, repairs and testing.

Awana Skyway Aerial lift in Pahang, Malaysia

The Awana Skyway, also referred to as the new Awana Skyway, is a gondola lift system connecting Awana Transport Hub, Chin Swee Temple and SkyAvenue in Genting Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia since December 2016. The Awana Transport Hub terminus consists of the new Awana Bus Terminal, the station building and a new 8-storey car park while the other terminus is located at SkyAvenue.


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  3. Cable Propelled Systems in Urban Environments Archived 2012-03-14 at the Wayback Machine Edward S. Neumann - Retrieved on 2010-08-05
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