Aerial tramway suspended on two track
cables with an additional haulage rope.
An aerial tramway in Italy.
An aerial tramway in Italy.
An aerial tramway
or cable car
) is a type of
in which a cabin or other
conveyance is suspended from a fixed cable
and is pulled by another cable.
Because of the proliferation of such systems in the Alpine
regions of Europe
and German language
often also used in an English
context. "Cable car" is the usual term in British
English, as in British English the word "tramway" generally refers
to a railed street tramway
. Note also
that, in American English, "cable car" is most often associated
with surface cable car systems, e.g. San Francisco's cable cars, so careful phrasing is necessary to prevent
It is also sometimes called a
or even incorrectly referred to as a
(a gondola lift has the
cabin suspended from a moving cable, and is not to be confused with
An aerial tramway consists of one or two fixed cables
(called "track cables"), one loop of cable
(called a "haulage rope"), and two passenger
cabins. The fixed cables provide support
for the cabins. The haulage rope, by means of a grip, is solidly
connected to the truck (the wheel set that rolls on the track
cables). The haulage rope is usually driven by an electric motor
and being connected to the
cabins, moves them up or down the mountain.
Aerial tramways differ from gondola
in that the latter use several smaller cabins suspended
from a circulating
Two-car tramways use a jig-back
system: A large electric motor
is located at the bottom of
the tramway so that it effectively pulls one cabin down, using that
cabin's weight to help pull the other cabin up. A similar system of
cables is used in a funicular
two passenger cabins, which carry from 4 to over 150 people, are
situated at opposite ends of the loops of cable. Thus, while one is
coming up, the other is going down the mountain, and they pass each
other midway on the cable span
Some aerial trams have only one cabin, which lends itself better
for systems with small elevation changes along the cable run.
Many aerial tramways were built by Von Roll
Ltd. of Switzerland, which has since been acquired by Austrian lift
. The German firm
built hundreds of freight and
military tramways .
An escape aerial tramway
is a special form of the
aerial tramway that allows a fast escape from a dangerous location.
They are used on rocket
launching sites in
order to offer the launch staff or astronauts a fast retreat. The
tramway consists of a rope which runs from the launch tower
downward to a protection shelter. On the launch supply tower
several small cabs can be occupied by the launch
staff or the astronauts
. After a barrier
is loosened these roll downward to the protection shelter.
aerial tramway exists on launch pads 39A
and 39B at Cape
aerial tramways have their own propulsion, such as the Lasso Mule or the Josef Mountain Aerial Tramway
near Meran, Italy.
The original version was called telpherage
telpherage systems are sometimes used to transport objects such as
tools or mail within a building or factory
The telpherage concept was first publicised in 1883 and several
experimental lines were constructed. It was not designed to compete
with railways, but with horses and carts.
commercial telpherage line was in Glynde, which is in
It was built to connect a newly-opened clay
pit to the local railway station and opened in 1885.
There are aerial tramways with double deck cabins. The Vanoise Express
cable car carries 200 people
in each cabin at a height of over the Ponturin gorge
in France. The Shinhotaka
Ropeway carries 121 people in each cabin at Mount Hotaka in Japan.
Tramways are sometimes used in mountainous regions to carry
from a mine located high on the mountain to
an ore mill located at a lower elevation. Ore tramways were
common in the early 20th century at the mines of the San Juan Mountains of the US state of
resource on the history of aerial tramways in the mining industry
is "Riding the High Wire, Aerial Tramways in the West", by Robert
A. Trennert, University Press of Colorado, 2001.
- Tallest support tower: (Gletscherbahn
- Deepest: Masada cableway, Israel
- Highest: Mérida cable car,
- Longest working ropeway: Norsjö aerial ropeway,
- Longest non-working ropeway: Boliden - Kristineberg
aerial ropeway, Sweden (total 96 km, short sections
preserved and used for recreational purposes)
- Longest-ever ropeway: Asmara-Massawa Cableway, Eritrea.
Functional cargo ropeway between 1937-1941, the engines were
salvaged by the British after the conclusion of the East African Campaign,
but the towers, cars, and ropes stood until the late 1980s.
mass transit: The Roosevelt Island Tramway in New York
City was the first aerial tramway in North America used by commuters as a mode of
mass transit (See Transportation in New York
City). Passengers pay with the same
farecard used for the New York
City Subway. The Portland Aerial Tram in Portland, Oregon was opened in January 2007 and became the second
public transportation aerial tramway in North America.
Colombia, both the Metro
and the recent Metrocable aerial tramway
addition can be used while paying a single fare.
Tramway in Albuquerque, New Mexico is the world's longest double reversible
- Palm Springs Aerial Tramway in Palm Springs, California has the world's largest rotating
List of accidents
- August 15, 1960: between Castellammare di Stabia and the Monte Faito, near Naples, Italy.
- August 29, 1961: A military plane splits the
hauling cable of a cabin railway on the Aiguille du Midi in the Mont
Blanc massif: six people killed.
- 1963: Cabin of the renovated PKB crashes at the valley station,
one person killed, several injured.
- December 25, 1965: Power failure on the
aerial ropeway at Puy de
Sancy in central France causes abrupt cabin halt, cabin
wall breaks. 17 people fall, seven killed.
- July 9, 1966: A cable breaks on a cabin railway at Aiguille du
Midi in the Mont Blanc massif: three cabins fall, four people
- December 6, 1970: Five people killed at
- August 1, 1971: Four people killed in a
mid-air collision between two gondolas in Alagna
13, 1972: 13 killed at the crash of a cab in Bettmeralp, Switzerland.
- October 26, 1972: During a test at an aerial
tramway at Les Deux
Alpes in France, two cabs collide, nine people
9, 1974: Hauling cable breaks on the aerial tramway at Ulriken, Norway. One
cabin fell, four people killed.
9, 1976: In the Italian Dolomites at Cavalese, a cab falls after a rope break, killing 42.
cable-car disaster )
26, 1976: Damage to the carrying rope leads to crash of multiple
cabs of the aerial tramway at Vail, Colorado, USA. Four people killed, five injured.
- April 15, 1978: In a storm, two carrying ropes of the Squaw Valley Aerial Tramway in
California fall from the aerial tramway support tower. One of the
ropes partly destroys the cabin. four killed, 32 injured.
- February 13, 1983: Two cabs collide in
Champoluc, near Aosta (Italy), 11
- January 13, 1989: Eight people killed during
a test of the French aerial tramway Vaujany in the
1, 1990: 15 people killed after a rope break in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Operator error causes the cabin of Muttereralmbahn near Innsbruck, Austria, to crash. No casualties or
- February 3, 1998: U.S. military aircraft severs the cable of an
aerial ropeway in Cavalese, Italy, killing 20 people. (See Cavalese
1, 1999: 20 people killed at the crash of an aerial tramway at the
observatory in the French alps.
6, 2000: Entering the middle station of Nebelhornbahn, a cabin fails to brake. 23 people
- October 19, 2003: Four were killed and 11 injured when three
cars slipped off the cable of the Darjeeling Ropeway.
- October 9, 2004: Crash of a cabin of the
Grünberg aerial tramway in Gmunden, Austria. Many hurt.
- November 14, 2004: Empty cabin of tramway in
falls after becoming entangled with rope. No casualties, 113
people rescued from other cabins
18, 2006: New York's Roosevelt Island Tramway experiences a power failure, leaving 69 passengers
in two trams stranded over the East River for approximately seven hours, just eight months
after a similar incident in which trams were stranded for 90
minutes. No injuries or fatalities occurred in either
- October 31, 2007: The Flaine lift Les Grands Platieres or DMC
broke down for six hours and was evacuated.
Some cities are currently looking into the possibility of aerial
tramways as a viable option for Public
. In the city of Haifa, Israel there is a
plan to use an aerial tramways as an important way of solving the
city's traffic problems.
(See Haifa Cable Car
car at Zell am
See in the Austrian Alps.Image:PortlandTramCar3.jpg|Portland
Aerial Tram car descends towards the rising South
Waterfront district in Portland, Oregon.Image:SandiaTram.jpg|Cable cars pass
mid-stream on the Sandia Peak Tramway in Albuquerque, New Mexico.Image:TitlisGondol.jpg|The rotating
construction of the Titlis gondola
provides passengers better view
construction of the aerial tramway. The lowest cable is used for
pulling. The middle (thickest) cable supports the weight of
gondola.Image:Åre kabinbana.JPG|Cable car in
(Sweden)Image:Klein Matterhorn - Zermatt -
Switzerland - 2005 - 01.JPG|Klein Matterhorn cable car, the highest in
Midi cable car (Chamonix, France)Image:Table_mountain_cable_car_2006-01.JPG|Table Mountain Aerial
Africa.Image:Telecabina.JPG|Telecabina in Romania, Carpathians, at Balea
Lake in Sibiu
county.Image:Kulltaubane.jpg|Retired coal tramway
in Longyearbyen, Svalbard.Image:Bergen02.jpg|Ulriksbanen in Bergen, Norway.Image:Telefericodemerida.jpg|The Mérida
Aerial Tramway in VenezuelaImage:SnowBird-Tram.JPG|Snowbird Tram service
Cableways in Fiction