Gondola lift

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Gondola lift
TypeCable transport
Patriatta pulsed gondola lift in Murree, Pakistan Patriatta.jpg
Patriatta pulsed gondola lift in Murree, Pakistan
The London Cable Car over River Thames Emirates Air Line towers 24 May 2012.jpg
The London Cable Car over River Thames
The Mi Teleferico cable car system in La Paz, Bolivia, used for mass transportation purposes, is both the longest and highest urban cable car network in the world. Linea Roja de Mi Teleferico en La Paz, Bolivia.jpg
The Mi Teleférico cable car system in La Paz, Bolivia, used for mass transportation purposes, is both the longest and highest urban cable car network in the world.
The Aerovia cable car system in Guayaquil, Ecuador Primera linea de la Aerovia en funcionamiento.jpg
The Aerovia cable car system in Guayaquil, Ecuador
La telecabine d'Arrondaz in Valfrejus, France Valfrejus - Telecabine d'arrondaz.jpg
La télécabine d'Arrondaz in Valfréjus, France
Interior of a gondola at Killington Ski Resort, Vermont Skyeship Gondola.jpg
Interior of a gondola at Killington Ski Resort, Vermont
Classic 1960s 4-seater monocable gondola lift in Emmetten, Switzerland, built by GMD Muller Gondola lift lucerne 2006.03.18.jpg
Classic 1960s 4-seater monocable gondola lift in Emmetten, Switzerland, built by GMD Müller
Interior of a gondola lift station, in this case, an intermediate station where gondolas detach from the line, automatically travel through the building on tracks and attach to the line of the second section. The drive motors for both sections are visible below the bull wheels. Mueller gondola gstaad3.jpg
Interior of a gondola lift station, in this case, an intermediate station where gondolas detach from the line, automatically travel through the building on tracks and attach to the line of the second section. The drive motors for both sections are visible below the bull wheels.
Gondola Lift at Namak Abrud, Iran Namak abrud telecabine - panoramio.jpg
Gondola Lift at Namak Abrud, Iran

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 wire rope 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. It is often considered a continuous system since it features a haul rope which continuously moves and circulates around two terminal stations. [1] In contrast, an aerial tramway operates solely with fixed grips and simply shuttles back and forth between two end terminals. [2]


The capacity, cost, and functionality of a gondola lift will differ dramatically depending on the combination of cables used for support and haulage and the type of grip (detachable or fixed). Because of the proliferation of such systems in the Alps, the Italian : Cabinovia and French : Télécabine are also used in English-language texts. The systems may also be referred to as cable cars.


The Kohlerer-Bahn opened on June 29, 1908, in Bolzano, South Tyrol, the first modern aerial enclosed cable car solely for passenger service. [3]


Passenger lift

Gondola lift at the Yllas ski resort in Lapland, Finland Yllastunturi Gondola Lifts 20090301.JPG
Gondola lift at the Ylläs ski resort in Lapland, Finland

In some systems the passenger cabins, which can hold between two and fifteen people, [4] are connected to the cable by means of spring–loaded grips. These grips allow the cabin to be detached from the moving cable and slowed in the terminals, to allow passengers to board and disembark. Doors are almost always automatic and controlled by a lever on the roof or on the undercarriage that is pushed up or down. Cabins are driven through the terminals either by rotating tires, or by a chain system. To be accelerated to and decelerated from line speed, cabins are driven along by progressively swifter (or slower) rotating tires until they reach line or terminal speed. On older installations, gondolas are accelerated manually by an operator. Gondola lifts can have intermediate stops that allow for uploading and downloading on the lift. Examples of a lift with three stops instead of the standard two are the Village Gondola, the Excalibur Gondolas at Whistler Blackcomb and the Skyride at Alton Towers.[ citation needed ]

In other systems the cable is slowed intermittently to allow passengers to disembark and embark the cabins at stations, and to allow people in the cars along the route to take photographs, such as Lebanon's Téléférique which offers an exceptional view to the Mediterranean, the historical Jounieh Bay and the pine forest at the 80% slope which this gondola lift goes over. Such a system is called pulse cabin and usually several cabins are loaded simultaneously.

Tochal mountain telecabine in Tehran Province at 3,800 meters elevation Tochal-7th-Station.jpg
Tochal mountain telecabine in Tehran Province at 3,800 meters elevation

Open-air gondolas, or cabriolets as commonly called, are fairly uncommon and are quite primitive because they are exposed to the elements. Their cabins are usually hollow cylinders, open from chest height up, with floors and roof covers. They are usually used as village gondolas and for short distances. Examples are at Mont Tremblant Resort in Quebec, Canada, and at Blue Mountain Ski Resort (summer only, in the winter it is converted to a six person high-speed chairlift.) in Ontario, Canada, The Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah, Mountain Creek, and the new Village Cabriolet at Winter Park Resort in Colorado. Open-air gondolas can also come in a style similar to that of pulse gondolas, like the Village Gondola at Panorama Ski Resort, British Columbia.

The first gondola built in the United States for a ski resort was at the Wildcat Mountain Ski Area. It was a two-person gondola built in 1957 and serviced skiers until 1999. The lift was later demolished in 2004. The lift and its cabins were manufactured by a former Italian lift company: Carlevaro-Savio. One of the longest gondola rides in the world, Gondelbahn Grindelwald-Männlichen, is in the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland and connects Grindelwald with Männlichen.

Urban transport

In recent years, gondola lifts are finding increased usage in urban environments. Cable cars used for urban transit include the Metrocable in Medellín, Colombia and the TransMiCable in Bogotá, Colombia; Aerovia in Guayaquil, Ecuador; Portland Aerial Tram in Portland, Oregon, United States; Roosevelt Island Tramway in New York City, New York, United States; Metrocable in Caracas, Venezuela; Trolcable in Mérida, Venezuela; Cable Aéreo in Manizales, Colombia; Mi Teleférico in La Paz, Bolivia; Mexicable in the State of Mexico, Mexico; Teleférico de Santo Domingo; Yenimahalle-Şentepe teleferik in Ankara, Turkey; Maçka and Eyüp Gondolas in Istanbul; the London cable car in London, England; [5] Nizhny Novgorod Cableway, Russia. The Metrocable systems in Medellin and Caracas are fully integrated with the public transit network which provides passengers the ability to seamlessly transfer to the local metro lines, whereas the network in La Paz, the largest in the world, forms the backbone of the city's public transit system itself. [6] [7]

Disney Skyliner is a gondola-lift service, which opened on September 29, 2019, at Walt Disney World in central Florida. The system uses multiple lines and has five stations, and it connects Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios with one another and with several Disney-owned and -operated resort hotels.

In terms of urban gondola systems for the future, TransLink in Metro Vancouver has proposed to build a gondola up Burnaby Mountain to Simon Fraser University in an announcement in September 2010. [8] The project was sidelined in 2014, [9] but was revived in 2017. [10]

In late 2012, a widespread aerial gondola system was proposed for Austin, Texas, in an effort to expand mass transit options in the rapidly growing city. [11] The proposal was rejected by the local transit agency in 2017. [12]

A proposed gondola system in Montreal was ultimately rejected by the Old Port of Montreal. [13]

Ropeway conveyor

A ropeway conveyor or material ropeway [14] is essentially a subtype of gondola lift, from which containers for goods rather than passenger cars are suspended.

Ropeway conveyors 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 kilometers (47 mi) in length. The Kristineberg-Boliden ropeway in Sweden had a length of 96 kilometers (60 mi).

In Eritrea, the Italians built the Asmara-Massawa Cableway in 1936, which was 75 kilometers (47 mi) long. The Manizales - Mariquita Cableway (1922) in Colombia was 73 km long.

Conveyors can be powered by a wide variety of forms of power sources: electric motors, internal combustion engines, steam engines, or gravity. Gravity is particularly common in mountainous mining concerns, and directly employed; the weight of loaded down-going containers pulling the returning empties back up the slope. Gravity can also be used indirectly, where running water is available; a waterwheel is powered by gravity acting on water, and is used to power the cable. [15]

Bicable and tricable gondola lifts

Conventional systems where a single cable provides both support and propulsion of the cabins are often called monocable gondola lifts. [16] Gondola lifts which feature one stationary cable (known as the 'support' rope), and one haul rope are known as bicable gondola lifts, while lifts that feature two support ropes and one haul rope are known as tricable gondola lifts. Famous examples of bicable gondola lifts include the Ngong Ping 360 in Hong Kong, the Singapore Cable Car, and the Sulphur Mountain Gondola in Banff, Canada. This system has the advantage that the stationary cable's strength and properties can be tailored to each span, which reduces costs. They differ from aerial tramways , as these consist only of one or two usually larger cabins moving back and forth, rather than circulating. Bicable and tricable systems provide greater lateral stability compared with monocable systems, allowing the system to operate in higher cross-winds.

List of accidents

The National Ski Areas Association reports 0.138 fatalities per 100 million miles transported compared to 1.23 for cars. [17]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cable transport</span> Class of transport modes

Cable transport is a broad class of transport modes that have cables. They transport passengers and goods, often in vehicles called cable cars. The cable may be driven or passive, and items may be moved by pulling, sliding, sailing, or by drives within the object being moved on cableways. The use of pulleys and balancing of loads moving up and down are common elements of cable transport. They are often used in mountainous areas where cable haulage can overcome large differences in elevation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aerial tramway</span> Aerial lift in which the cars are permanently fixed to the cables

An aerial tramway, aerial tram, sky tram, aerial cablecar, aerial cableway, telepherique, or seilbahn 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. In comparison to gondola lifts, aerial tramways generally provide lower line capacities and higher wait times.

Cable car most commonly refers to the following cable transportation systems:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chairlift</span> Type of aerial lift

An elevated passenger ropeway, or chairlift, is a type of aerial lift, which consists of a continuously circulating steel wire rope 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 and various tourist attractions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Funitel</span> Type of aerial lift

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 portmanteau of the French words funiculaire and telepherique.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group</span> Austrian manufacturing company

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 2023, the group have produced over 15,000 installations in 96 countries. Their annual revenue in 2021/2022 was 886 million euros. 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ski lift</span> Transport device that carries skiers up a hill

A ski lift is a mechanism for transporting skiers up a hill. Ski lifts are typically a paid service at ski resorts. The first ski lift was built in 1908 by German Robert Winterhalder in Schollach/Eisenbach, Hochschwarzwald.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aerial lift</span> Method of cable transport

An aerial lift, also known as a cable car or ropeway, 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Singapore Cable Car</span> Gondola lift providing an aerial link from Mount Faber to the resort island of Sentosa

The Singapore Cable Car is a gondola lift providing an aerial link from Mount Faber on the main island of Singapore to the resort island of Sentosa across the Keppel Harbour.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Material ropeway</span>

A material ropeway, ropeway conveyor is a subtype of gondola lift, from which containers for goods rather than passenger cars are suspended.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Norsjö ropeway</span> Aerial tramway in Sweden

Norsjö aerial tramway is a 13.2 kilometre long aerial tramway between Örträsk and Mensträsk in the Norsjö Municipality in Sweden.

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tricable gondola lift</span> Cable car system introduced in 1991

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'.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Metrocable (Medellín)</span> First urban transit cablecar

Metrocable is a gondola lift system implemented by the City Council of Medellín, Colombia, with the purpose of providing a transportation service that complements the Medellín Metro. It was designed to reach some of the city's informal settlements on the steep hills that mark its topography. It is largely considered to be the first urban cable propelled transit system in South America. The transportation infrastructure is already established and has been in service since 2004.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Metrocable (Caracas)</span> Gondola lift system in Caracas, Venezuela

The Metrocable de Caracas is a gondola lift system integrated with the city's public transport network, which provides quick and safe transportation for those who live in the neighbourhoods situated on Caracas's mountainous regions. The system was built as a tool for social reform with stations set up to accommodate a variety of services such as daycares, libraries, police stations, markets and theatres.

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Arosa Lenzerheide</span> Ski area in Switzerland

Arosa Lenzerheide is a ski area located in Arosa, Lenzerheide, Valbella, Parpan and Churwalden, Graubünden/Switzerland. It originated 2013/14 by connecting the existing ski areas of Arosa and Lenzerheide. With a total of 225 kilometers of ski slopes and 43 cable cars it is the largest contiguous ski area in Graubünden.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aerial lift in India</span>

The Aerial tramway, also known as Aerial lift or Aerial ropeway and cable car popularly known as ropeway in India, is a public transportation system where cabins, gondolas or open chairs are hauled above the ground with the help of cables. They are usually built in mountainous areas where it is difficult to build roads or railway.


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