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Aug 03, 2023
System Dossier


Post by gondola-project

Wrocław, pronounced ‘Vrots-waff’, is the capital of Lower Silesia, located in the southwest corner of Poland. Wrocław’s unique location has resulted in a fascinating history where the city was caught up in several conflicts such as the Napoleonic Wars, when the city became the center of German liberation; and World War II, when the city, called Breslau by the Germans, was captured by the Red Army in 1945. Shortly after the war, the country was transferred to Poland and officially named Wrocław.

Remnants of Bohemian, Austrian, and Prussian influence can be seen throughout Wrocław’s unique combination of Gothic and Baroque architecture. Today the city has grown to become the financial, commercial, and cultural hub of western Poland, and was named in 2016 the European Capital of Culture.

Wrocław is also highly regarded as an educational hub that contains a student population of 130,000. Many of Poland’s highest ranked universities such as the University of Wrocław and the Wrocław University of Technology reside in the city. The Wrocław University of Technology will remain the topic of this dossier as it is the site of Poland’s lone urban CPT system.

Polinka is a 373-meter long Aerial Tramway (ATW) that travels 7m over the Oder river connecting two sections of the campus and several other attractions in the city such as the Hydropolis and the Wyspianski beaches. The ATW system is somewhat unique since it uses two low capacity 15 person cabins (CWA’s Omega IV cabins) to shuttle passengers across the river. In the urban market, this model of cabin is typically seen in continuously circulating Monocable Detachable Gondolas (MDG) while ATWs generally use larger cabins to increase line capacities.

Before the cable car was constructed, a footbridge was considered and analyzed. Ultimately a gondola was chosen as it was less expensive and unlike a bridge, an aerial lift would not interfere with marine traffic. With the help of Doppelmayr Garventa Group, Polinka opened in 2013 and replaced a 20 minute walk across the Grunwaldzki bridge. Today, that same journey only takes two minutes.

Unfortunately shortly after opening, the system was shut down for 1.5 months as a barge captain accidentally damaged one of the cabins with an excavator after he failed to take the necessary precautions to avoid the ATW. Since then, the cabin has been repaired and the system continues to shuttle passengers across the river.

To access the cable car, students at the University simply flash their ID cards. Meanwhile other passengers must either show a valid URBANCARD or pay the equivalent of a public transport ticket (US$0.80 or 3 zł). Despite the accident, the unique aerial lift has positively raised the University’s public profile across the country. Additionally, the system has been well integrated into the everyday life on the campus.

Overall, the Polinka demonstrates how ropeway technology can be applied in an university setting to help solve challenging topographical barriers in a creative and economical manner.

System Statistics

Year opened2013
Length (km)0.373
Capacity (pphpd)366
Speed (m/s)5.0
Trip time (minutes)2


Image credits: CC BY-SA 4.0, by MOs810


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