The Kolmården Wildlife Park Cable Car, Sweden

Post by Steven Dale

The issue of turns and corners always seems to pique people’s interest, so consider then Sweden’s Kolmården Wildlife Park Cable Car.

Opened just recently, this 2.6 km long system transports 1,360 pphpd and includes a whopping 6 turns (5 if you don’t include the main station)! Take a look:

This is a fascinating system because it creates as many questions as it answers:

Firstly, the system is incredibly slow with a top speed of just over 6 km/hr. That’s fine for a zoo/resort setting (such as this system is), but would be inappropriate for an urban setting. My industry sources have informed me that a higher speed with such cornering would be possible, but would come at additional cost.

What that cost is and what that top speed would be is uncertain.

Stylized route plan for the Kolmården Cable Car. Notice how each and every turn is to the right. Image via Doppelmayr.

Secondly. While the system has 5 (or 6) turns, notice that each and every one of them is a right hand turn. This is due to the uni-directional flow of traffic – in this case counter-clockwise.

The basic rule of turning without intermediary stations is this:

Vehicles can only flow in one direction and all turns must be either to the left (in the event of a clockwise traffic flow) or right (in the even of a counter-clockwise traffic flow).

This makes sense as the sideways grip that characterizes detachable gondolas would prevent bi-directional traffic flows. (As the gondola’s arm must always travel on the convex side of a corner.)

However note the slim profile of the towers (1:00). Would it be possible to “stack” a second line on top of (or beside?) the first with vehicles travelling in the opposite direction, and therefore turning in the opposite direction?

My sources have indicated that, yes, such a configuration would be possible – again, with additional cost. In effect, to make such a configuration work, one would have to double the bull wheel and engine infrastructure and some of the line infrastructure – almost doubling the cost of the initial line.

But as this system uses simple and relatively inexpensive off-the-shelf MDG technology, one could argue that the increase in cost might be marginal compared to the other alternatives – especially given the resulting increase in service.

Engineers? You’ve got an opinion, I’m sure. Go for it.


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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. Since we're reaching way out there you can also design systems that turn both directions even though only one direction of turn is possible: If you can only make right turns, and you need a left...3 rights make a left...this is true when driving in cities too. Or you could just put in a station which may be more useful from an urban gondola perspective.
  2. I actually believe that somewhere on this site (or the forums), someone posted a link and/or picture of just such a set-up. So they exist - but the tower infrastructure is big and bulky.
  3. how about this, looks like a turn splitter? [img]http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5295/5534994795_ba7ccf8453.jpg[/img] http://www.flickr.com/photos/rannuge/5534994795/
  4. Its a way to have turns on a chairlift or skilift , there is no split - these turns are used on one-way lines like ski ones, where is only allowed to go up. the load line is that on the left (with guy on the chair) and do an approx. 45° turn on right, the pulley is on an upper level respect the load line . All this just because is possible to make the turn only on the side opposite of the grip -you could make a turn right on the up line, but for having a turn left on the return line you need 3 turns right.. Fixed grips anyway.
  5. Matt the Engineer
    Crazy idea. Why not have a rotating detachable grip? Rotate the grip at the stations, then the grips will be pointing the same way for both directions, and both directions can make the same turn. Of course the grips would lock into place (0 degrees or 180 degrees). This could allow you to make turns in both directions, as long as you turned the grips first.
  6. I've thought of something similar, but I suspect it would be more technically challenging that we suspect.
  7. Thank you for sharing my video :)
  8. Thanks for creating the video
  9. you could also rotate the whole gondola while it is going through a station. Of course, that only works if all turns along the line are in the same direction.

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