Where Do We Go From Here?

Post by Steven Dale

Last week, I think, was a turning point for The Gondola Project.

If you’ll recall – or if you’re just joining us (welcome, by the way!) – last week we talked about the Funivia del Renon in Bolzano, Italy (Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3). I had toured the system and had some insight into what was going on there, but much information was lacking. Too much, apparently.

Luckily, my ignorance wasn’t an issue. The community here at The Gondola Project all chipped in and dug up research that I either hadn’t or couldn’t find. That research was important and far more valuable than me just yelling ‘gondola’ over and over again. That’s important and I thank you all so much.

Given the global nature of what we’re trying to pull off here, distance, languages, time and culture barriers make comprehensive knowledge of every important system in the world impossible for any one person.

But as our experience with Bolzano shows, if we work together on this we can actually accomplish a lot. So with that in mind:

Where do we go from here? Any suggestions?

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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.


  1. I would like to see some more information on how systems can be designed to allow for capacity to be increased. It seems if a system is running well under capacity it is judged a failure. However as it is extremely hard to predict demand it can be difficult to justify the cost of a high capacity system up front, sometimes leading to long wait times which undermines the LT1M wait time of most systems, this is not very good from a user perspective
  2. I would also like more infomation (if possible) on heating and cooling systems suitable for Gondolas and other elevated technology. I can think of a number of possible methods, but none of them are simple or cheap. Have you seen successful heating and cooling systems in your travels?
  3. Scott, Thanks for the questions. I'll address them in posts next week.
  4. Maybe some history would be interesting. For example Glasgow subway was once cable propelled. It is the subway with the smallest tunnel diameter but was converted to a conventional subway with electrical propelled cars. Also most cablecars where converted to electric trams and even some funiculars where converted to rack railway. It should be pointed out that state of the art cable technology is different than the old cable technology. Main problem of the Glasgow subway and cable cars was that the had one long haul cable and during acceleration a grip was slowly tightened to the cable which induces friction and cause a lots of wear on the cable. And replacing the cable is very expensive. Recent cable metros only grip and release the cable at standstill and the haul cable is divided into smaller sections. Still we can state that the cable propelled Glasgow subway was a full scale subway with enough capacity.
  5. Try to find another regular contributor of equal or greater quality to yourself. :)
  6. Dave, You auditioning for the job? :)
  7. Matthias, I know virtually nothing about the Glasgow cable subway. To be honest, I didn't even know it ever existed. Do you have any links/research/articles on it?
  8. Scott, That's why I'm interested in the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway in Australia. That system faced exactly the problem you described and they more than doubled the capacity for something like $2 million US (back in the late 90's).
  9. The Glasgow subway is still in operation but with electrical powered trains. The trains are even smaller than the London Tube. A tall person can only stand upright in the middle of the train if he can stand at all. The system is a circle so it is also the only subway which was never expanded. The cable propelled subway had no switches so the trains just had to go around all the times. I rode it once and because its a so small diameter i looked up the wikipedia article, from which i know it was once cable propelled. As the Scots are stingy the decides to built a cable subway to safe cost. So it has a very small diameter and also some steep inclines. At the end there where some problems mainly that the cable worn down to fast. But with todays technology it would be possible to build a low cost subway and have the benefit of small diameter tunnels and steep inclines without the negative side effects of the old technology.
  10. How about we look at specific transit corridors and projects where CPT is not being considered but should be? When planning a transit project, you are supposed to consider your needs in terms of capacity, frequency, speed etc. and then choose a transit technology that fills those needs. In what kinds of urban transit corridors is CPT the best solution? What other technologies does it compete with? It seems to me that an urban gondola would be a good alternative to a streetcar, light metro, and maybe even a bus route running in an exclusive lane in a dense urban environment. It seems like CPT is only used in highly unusual transit corridors, I think we should look at the common transit corridors where CPT would be a good idea.

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