Medellin MetroCable



Medellin Breaks Ground on 6th Urban Gondola

Acevedo Transfer Station. Image from Mayor of Medellin.

Since Medellin sparked the modern renaissance of Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) systems fourteen years ago with the opening of Line K, the City’s urban cable car network has been growing at a steady and measured pace.

In the northwestern district of the City this week, Medellin broke ground on the USD$99 million (COP 298 million) Line P. With the Mayor present, crews began levelling soils at construction sites and started locating temporary power grids.

Unlike the previous generation of urban gondolas, Line P will feature some upgrades from the previous aerial lifts. The maximum speeds on the 2.8km system has been upped by 1 m/s (3.6km/h) to 5.5 m/s (19.8km/h) and the system capacity has increased by 1,000 pphpd to 4,000 pphpd (spread over 138 cabins).

With a travel time of 11 minutes, the system is expected to decrease commute times by 75% and benefit 420,000 residents who live in some of the most disconnected, disadvantaged and violent neighbourhoods — Commune 5 (Castilla) and Commune 6 (Doce de Octubre). The system will have four stations spread out in the community to maximize coverage and benefits to residents.

Once Line P is completed in July 2019, Medellin’s Metrocable systems will total 14.7km in length, thereby cementing its position as the second largest urban gondola network in the world after Mi Teleférico in Laz/El Alto, Bolivia.

But before Line P is finished, the City’s fifth urban gondola, Line M, is expected to enter commercial services in August 2018. With the continued expansion of the City’s transit network, Medellin is actively fulfilling the goals that it set for itself as part of its 2006-2030 transit master plan.


Pedregal Station. Image from Mayor of Medellin.

Doce de Octubre Station. Image from Mayor of Medellin.

El Progreso Station. Image from Mayor of Medellin.

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Medellin Continues Urban Gondola Expansion

Line H, opened in December 2016, is currently Medellin’s newest urban cable car. Image by Secretaría de Movilidad de Medellín.

In transit planning and city-building circles, Medellin is often regarded as the birthplace of modern Cable Propelled Transit (CPT). Last week, the Colombian metropolis announced that the City will open its sixth urban cable car, Line P, by Q3 of 2019.

For those unfamiliar with Medellin, the City’s journey to international superstardom began with the implementation of Line K in 2004.

In brief, Medellin’s first urban cable car was met with worldwide acclaim for its remarkable ability to physically and symbolically integrate impoverished and disconnected barrio residents into the city proper.

Alongside social infrastructure improvements, the cable car sparked incredible urban renewal efforts where Medellin was transformed from a violent cartel-run city to a vibrant urban metropolis known for its innovative city-building ideas.

Line K’s remarkable success led to the construction of subsequent urban gondolas, including the newest CPT system to date, Line H.


Line H became Medellin’s fourth cable car line after it was inaugurated last December.

The cable car was built with a capacity of 1,800 pphpd to help improve transportation for the 150,000 residents living in eastern Medellin’s Commune 8. Similar to Line K and Line J, the cable car complements a higher-order rapid transit line — the Ayacucho Tram.

The cable car effectively takes riders from the tram’s eastern terminus at Oriente to the Villa Sierra neighbourhood on the hillsides — overcoming an elevation difference of 197m.

Medellin Metrocable Line H. Image by Secretaría de Movilidad de Medellín.

In the past, there was only one steep narrow road connecting Villa Sierra, but now the gondola provides the community with an alternative five minute ride to the Oriente tram station.

Technologically, the MDG system is nearly identical to existing cable cars in Medellin which utilizes 10-passenger carriers built by POMA/Sigma Cabins. At 1.4km in length, Line H is the second shortest gondola line in the City.

System characteristics of Metrocable Line H and Metrocable Line M. Image from El Colombiano.


Similar to Line H, Metrocable Line M serves the eastern parts of Medellin and is the second cable car connected to the Ayacucho Tram.

Originally scheduled for completion in July 2016, Metrocable Line M has faced a number of delays related to complicated geological/structural issues at its Miraflores transfer station.

However, these challenges have been resolved and reports indicate that the system is now 70-80% complete. From its bottom station (Miraflores) to its top station (Trece de Noviembre), passengers will travel over 11 towers while experiencing a vertical rise of 275m.

Residents are told that the system should be ready for passenger service by August 2018. At 1km in length, Line M will be the shortest urban gondola in Medellin.


Earlier this year, the government released a tender for Medellin’s sixth urban gondola, Line P. After receiving two submissions, a French consortium was chosen as the winning bidder to construct the US$99 million project (COP 298 billion).

Line P will be Medellin’s longest (2.8km) and highest capacity (4,000 pphpd, 127 cabins) cable transit system. Technically speaking, Line L is longer at 4.8km, but it functions solely as a recreational system.

With a directional capacity increase of 1,000 pphpd over its cousin systems Line K and Line J, Line P will benefit an estimated 420,000 persons. This capacity increase is designed to serve the northwestern communities including areas considered the most dangerous in Medellin — Commune 5 (Castilla), and Commune 6 (Doce de Octubre).

With supplementary social interventions such as 30,000 square meters of new public space, the City hopes to replicate the success it has seen in the Santo Domingo neighbourhood. Officials believe that travel times to the city centre will decrease from 60 minutes today (via two bus lines) to just 15 minutes.

Rendering of Acevedo Station – Metrocable Line P. Image from Mayor of Medellin.

At its eastern terminus, the 4-station Line P will be connected to the Acevedo intermodal station. Once operational, residents can transfer between three rapid transit lines — Metro Line A, Metrocable Line K and Metrocable Line P. Implementation works are planned for the next 18 months.

With six urban gondola lines by the end of 2019, Medellin will have built 14.7km of cable cars spread over 20 stations — making it the world’s second largest CPT network. While that is less than 50% of La Paz-El Alto’s Mi Teleferico (at full build), Medellin’s continued efforts to expand its urban gondola network is equally impressive and noteworthy.

Based on operating statistics, the cable cars have been nothing short of success as the combined ridership of Line K, Line J, Line L and Line H have totalled 241 million passengers since 2004 while Line K and Line J operate with an availability of 99.09 – 99.90%!

The opening of two additional CPT lines in the next two years will build on Medellin’s past success and will further cement the City’s as one of the leading urban innovators in the new millennium.


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Medellin Opens Fourth Urban Cable Car – Line H

Medellin’s newest Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) system, Metrocable Line H, officially started commercial operations on December 17. This 3 station urban gondola line has a length of 1,402 metres, 42 cabins, and a capacity of 1,800 pphpd.

Line H. Image from Metro de Medellin.

The cable car functions as a feeder line to the new Ayacucho Tram (2016) by extending the reach of rapid transit into the districts of La Sierra, Villa Turbay, and San Antonio de las Torres from the Tram’s Oriente terminus station.

Officials anticipate that the cable car will have immense social benefits for the local community. Tomás Elejalde, the General Manager at Metro de Medellin, was quoted as saying, “We hope to benefit at least 150,000 people.”

Travel times from La Sierra to the city center will be cut by ~40% (from 45 minutes currently to 28 minutes).

Line H map.

Line H map. The Ayacucho Tram is shown in the colour green.

Prior to Line H, Medellin was already considered the trailblazer in the world of CPT as it was home to three successful urban gondolas (Line K – 2004, Line J – 2008 and Line L – 2010). These aerial lifts, combined with its larger city renewal projects, established Medellin as the leader in sustainable urbanism.

While operations for Line H has just started, officials are continuing to work hard to improve transportation options in the City. Medellin’s next urban cable car, Line M (1.1km, 3 stations), is scheduled to open in Spring 2017 and will also link to the Ayacucho Tram.

Length (km) 1.4
Stations 3
Year Opened 2016
Line Capacity (pphpd) 1800
Cabins 42
Schedule 4:30am – 11:00pm


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Photo of the Week: Medellin Metrocable


A photo posted by Edder (@edder282) on

#TBT #Medellin #MetroCable #🇨🇴 Go watch @maxisms Colombia video ⏯:

A photo posted by Andrés Camilo (@andrescamilo___) on

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Medellin/Caracas, Part 1

Last week I travelled to Medellin, Colombia and Caracas, Venezuela to tour five of the most important CPT systems in the world. This is Part 1 of a photo essay on those systems. In this part, a brief overview of the history of cable transit in this part of the world will be explained. Image by Steven Dale.


Modern Cable Propelled Transit started in Caracas, Venezuela with the Mount Avila Gondola. This system was originally built in the middle of the last century to carry people from Caracas to the top of Mount Avila where the luxurious Hotel Humboldt had been built. Political and economic strife caused the government to leave for neglect both the hotel and gondola. The gondola itself was not reopened until 1999, after a successful rebuild.

The Avila Mountain Gondola In Caracas. Image by Steven Dale.

An Avila Mountain Gondola From Below. Image by Steven Dale.

A gondola passes over two original and well-preserved antique gondola cars at the Mount Avila Caracas Terminal. Image by Steven Dale.

The Avila gondola cannot, however, be truly classed as cable transit. It lacks integration to the local transit network and really exists more for tourists, not local commuters. It did, however, indirectly inspire the nearby city of Medellin, Colombia to pursue a fully-integrated CPT system to serve the impoverished and dangerous barrio of Santo Domingo. The system would take almost 5 years to open, from conception to fruition and would be the world’s first true CPT system. They would name it The Metrocable. The first line, consistent with the city’s existing Metro system, would be named Linea K.

A Linea K Metrocable Car in Medellin, Colombia. Image by Steven Dale.

The Metrocable over top the Santo Domingo barrio. Image by Steven Dale.

Gondolas depart a Linea J Metrocable station. Image by Steven Dale.

Metrocable Linea K would be an enormous success. Crime rates in Santo Domingo plunged and area investment skyrocketed. In the four years since Linea K opened, crime in Santo Domingo virtually disappeared, jobs have increased 300% and 3 banks have opened along the Metrocable route. With such an obvious success story, Metro officials had little trouble convincing decision-makers to open Linea J.

Unlike Linea K, Linea J would connect several smaller barrios in the western end of the city. These barrios suffered from similar economic conditions but did not have the population density that Linea K had. This was considered a good thing as Linea K suffered from overcrowding almost immediately upon opening, a situation not witnessed on Linea J.

A Linea J gondola. Image by Steven Dale.

Meanwhile, Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela was not to be undone. The opening of the second Metrocable line in Medellin made Chavez lust after a similar system in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. Within 2 years, Chavez’s dream would be realized with Caracas opening their own cable transit system in early 2010. It was also to be named The Metrocable.

Like the Medellin systems before it, the Caracas Metrocable would provide transit to under-serviced barrios with a history of crime and poverty. But unlike the Medellin systems, Caracas would feature enormous stations that included social facilities such as gymnasiums, police stations, community centres and markets. The Caracas Metrocable would also be the first in the world to feature extreme 90 degree turning radii at stations.

Gondolas enter and exit a station in Caracas. Image by Steven Dale.

The Caracas Metrocable. Image by Steven Dale.

The Metrocable loop between Medellin and Venezuela came full circle in early 2010. While Chavez was opening his first system in Caracas, Medellin was opening their third Metrocable line. But this time, the line looked more similar to the original Mount Avila system from Venezuela circa 1999.

While still fully-integrated into the Medellin Metro, the new Linea L services the Parque Arvi at the top of a nearby mountain in Medellin and requires an additional fare of 1,550 Colombian Pesos (roughly $1 US dollar). Linea L would give quick, affordable access to wilderness and parkland facilities that had previously only been accessible to wealthy land-owners in Medellin. This was a welcome change, given Colombia’s historically wide gap between rich and poor.

A Linea L gondola. Image by Steven Dale.

Medellin as seen from the Linea L, Parque Arvi nature preserve. Image by Steven Dale.

Both cities are engaged in major plans to expand their Metrocable offerings and cities throughout Latin America are embarking upon cable transit plans of their own.

Read Part 2.

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How to Deliver A Rolls Royce 2500m up a mountain

Throughout the years, we seen cable systems transport a lot of things — from cattle, to trucks, to noisy passengers.

And today, we can officially add to this very special list a Rolls Royce Phantom.

Image from

Image from

And in case you’re wondering how they did it, you can view a video of the whole shebang by clicking on this link. Enjoy!

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Reducing Violence by Transforming Neighborhoods: A Natural Experiment in Medellín, Colombia

The American Journal of Epidemiology recently published a report, Reducing violence by transforming neighborhoods: a natural experiment in Medellín, Colombia, which examines the effects of “neighbourhood level interventions”. In this research paper, the “intervention” studied was the implementation of the Metrocable Line K in 2004.

Medellin Metrocable Line K. Image by Steven Dale, CUP Projects.

The paper looks at 25 neighbourhoods that were serviced by the Metrocable and 23 similar neighbourhoods from around the city that were not effected by the Metrocable. Researchers conducted a survey of these neighbourhoods in 2008, and compared them to the responses from a 2003 city-wide household survey on violence and neighbourhoods.

A cursory look at the findings indicate that the intervention neighbourhoods (those which were effected by the Metrocable) experienced a 66% faster decline in homicide rates than in the control neighbourhoods. Yet, in actuality, violence and homicide rates in both cable and non-cable areas decreased dramatically.

It should also be noted that while the government was constructing the Metrocable, they were simultaneously making other improvements to the gondola neighbourhoods, including: “additional lighting for public spaces; new pedestrian bridges and street paths; ‘‘library parks’’; buildings for schools, recreational centers, and centers to promote microenterprises; more police patrols; and a family police station next to a gondola station.”

Overall the results are encouraging for Medellín. Crime is down and community relations have improved. While this study concludes that there is statistical proof that infrastructure improvements can help decrease violence, it also clearly states that other factors could have influenced the results.

Medellín was lucky to have had a major government infrastructure intervention happen just a year after PREVIVA, the city-wide survey on violence, was conducted. Even without a survey, it will be interesting to see if there are any actual or perceived effects from the 2011 gondola system in Rio de Janeiro, and the proposed system in La Paz.

If you would like to read the full study, it is available here.

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.