Transcanal: The World’s Shortest Canal Chairlift?

Transcanal. Image from Wikipedia, by Tusco.

Tucked away in the picturesque seaside resort town of Palavas-les-Flots, there exists a nearly unknown (at least in the English speaking world) but delightful little chairlift called the Transcanal.

Built in 1977, the Transcanal is only 83m in length and transport joyriders across the coastal river of Le Lez for €1.20 (one way) or €2.00 (roundtrip).

The system connects riders to two separate beach areas in addition to the host of amenities on each side. On the “East” side station, riders are dropped off to what appears to be restaurants and an ice cream parlour while at “West” side station, passengers are provided with access to a casino and more touristy kitsch.

The two minute ride is arguably nothing spectacular but does demonstrate of how a small cable lift can be designed into the local environment. It’s a little difficult to tell from aerial images, but the stations appear to be fully integrated (if not somewhat connected) with adjacent buildings.

The great thing about this chairlift is that it functions as a complement to a small bridge located just a few hundred metres away. So arguably, the Transcanal play no “serious” transport role, rather it is merely a “fun” away to cross the river.

But as we discussed before time and time again, there’s nothing inherently wrong with fun, in fact it should be encouraged wherever and whenever it is appropriate.

There are countless scenarios where short-haul chairlifts and gondolas could provide a complementary and a high level of service and there’s a few that comes to mind.

But what do you think? Would small and fun CPT systems be welcomed in more cities? And where would you build one?


PS: A big thanks goes to reader Mira R. for the information and links!

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