Posts Tagged: river run gondola



Urban Gondolas: Innovative Station Designs, Part 1

This is a guest post by Billy Beasley. 

For many years, some critics of urban gondolas have argued that they won’t work in dense city centers due to the lack of space to build terminals. These stations, especially for larger lift types like the 3S or Aerial Tram require larger buildings to house the important machinery that power them.

Even more space is required on systems where the operator wants to take the cabins off the line nightly and keep them in a storage building to prevent wear and tear. Thus, one question becomes how to minimize and conserve space for urban gondolas in situations where land is in short supply. For this first article of a 2-part series, we will examine two unique and innovative case examples.

Solden Ski Resort – Gaislachkoglbahn (Austria)

Check out this Doppelmayr installation in Austria at the well-known Solden Ski Resort named Gaislachkoglbahn. This system is designed with two segments: the first section consists of a monocable gondola while the second section has a 3S tricable gondola.

Typically there would four terminals for the lift but in this instance, Solden only built 3 stations (map of transfer station). The top terminal of the 8-passenger gondola is combined with the bottom terminal of the 3S system. With this configuration, it saves money and space as two stations are built as one single building.

The two cable lifts also feature incredibly innovative cabin parking systems. The monocable’s lower segment parks the cabins above the actual lift terminal itself and when the operator is ready to start the cable car, the cabins descend on a series of rails down to the terminal where they join the line.

Bottom station. Image by Flickr user liquidx.

The 3S segment also features an innovative cabin management system located in the bottom terminal of the lift (which remind you, is also the top station of the lower segment). The cabins enter the bottom station but a set of the in-terminal sheaves rotates and transfers the cabin from the line to a series of rails. From here, it transfers the cabin to the correct spot in the parking area. The parking area itself is inside the station, where the lift maze starts for loading the 3S gondola. With this design, the entire system manages to save a significant amount of space as potentially six buildings for the system (four stations, two cabin parking buildings) has been effectively reduced to three.

This would be helpful for an urban gondola system that wants to utilize cabin parking but doesn’t have a tremendous amount of space to put the cabins when they are not on the line.

Keystone Mountain (Colorado) – Outpost Gondola and River Run Gondola

Keystone Mountain in Colorado used cabin parking for their two gondolas in an before they built their new gondola but they did it in an interesting fashion. The bottom floor of the Outpost Gondola (the top was the lift station itself) was a sprawling cabin parking facility for both the Outpost Gondola and the nearby River Run Gondola.

Check out for some great pictures and walkthrough of this design!

Lift maintenance would transfer the cabins from the line of the River Run Gondola to the cabin parking facility where the cabins from the Outpost Gondola were also being stored. From here, maintenance crews could work on the grips, clean the cabins, and store the cabins properly for both lifts in one convenient location. This is especially impressive when you consider that the lifts were built by two different manufacturers – the River Run Gondola by Von Roll and the Outpost Gondola by Doppelmayr (keep in mind, this was before Doppelmayr purchased Von Roll and both companies had separate grip designs at the time).

Therefore, two different rails and two different storage pods needed to be built because the Von Roll cabins couldn’t go on the Doppelmayr rails and vice versa. There were two separate control systems but maintenance could do typical work on the cabins in one big facility.

This design could be helpful on urban gondola systems that are built with two different lift types or on ones that add another section to an existing system of a different model.

In the next article we will examine systems in Nevada, Vermont and Colorado. Stay tuned!

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