Kolmården Wildlife Park Cable Car



The Kolmården Wildlife Park Cable Car, Sweden

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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