24
Jun

2013

Two Old (And Awesome) Gondolas In Zurich

Post by Steven Dale

As we’ve learned from the BUGA festivals in Germany (here and here), there are few things German-speakers love more than to look at flowers while riding cable cars. Why? Why not? Who am I to judge?

And apparently this trend is not new: In the mid-part of the 20th century, Zürich hosted a horicultural fair and a national exhibition separated by just 20 years — and both were serviced by a different cable transit system.

Even weirder? From what I can ascertain (and I could be wrong), both plied basically the same route.

Sadly, neither system exists today. The first system (built in 1939) was dismantled shortly after the fair and the second system (build in 1959) was dismantled seven years later.

Which is a shame because they’re knockouts to behold.

Blumenparterre Belvoirpark

The 1959 Zurich Gondelbahn.

Image via Seilbahn Nostagie.

Zurich Gondola 1939.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image via Seilbahn Nostalgie.

1939

 

Gondelbahn Zurich

1959

Are these the most beautiful gondola stations and towers? That’s not for me to say as beauty is completely subjective. But really look at what’s going on with these two systems. Look closely.

In the 1939 example, station and tower become one and the same. Sure there are some queueing issues to be dealt with, but no more so than with the Singapore Cable Car’s mid-station.

Meanwhile in the 1959 example, architect Werner Stücheli and engineer Max Walt designed two 55 metre towers that are as artistically sculptural as they are functional — the cable cars, after all, travel through the towers.

It’s a shame the cable industry doesn’t keep a better archive of their history and systems. The things we can learn from installations like this – particularly as the industry is moving towards a more urban form – could help inform designs and systems for decades to come.



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.

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.

Comments

  1. Matt the Engineer
    The 1939 design could really use a slide. Why wait for an elevator? Although I suppose if you size your elevator to be the same as your gondola, and provide enough that they run with the same frequency (you could even time them), it should be quick to get up and down.

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