Gondola lift

Gondola lift

A gondola lift is a type of aerial lift, often called a cable car, which consists of a loop of steel cable that is strung between two stations, sometimes over intermediate supporting towers. The cable is driven by a bullwheel in the terminal, which is connected to an engine or electric motor. Because of the proliferation of such systems in the Alpine regions of Europe, the French language name of Télécabine is also used in an English language context. Gondola lifts should not be confused with aerial tramways, which are also sometimes known as "cable cars".


In some systems the passenger cabins, which can hold between two and 16 people, are connected to the cable by means of spring-loaded grips. These grips allow the cabin to be detached from the moving cable and slowed down in the terminals, to allow passengers to board and disembark. Doors are almost always automatic and controlled by a lever on the roof or on the undercarriage that is pushed up or down. Cabins are driven through the terminals either by rotating tires, or by a chain system. To be accelerated to and decelerated from line speed, cabins are driven along by progressively faster (or slower) rotating tires until they reach line or terminal speed. On older installations, gondolas are accelerated manually by an operator. Gondola lifts can have intermediate stops that allow for uploading and downloading on the lift. Examples of a lift with three stops instead of the standard two are the Village Gondola and the Excalibur Gondolas at Whistler, while an example of a lift with four terminals is the Plattieres Gondola at Meribel.

In other systems the cable is slowed down intermittently to allow passengers to disembark and embark the cabins at stations, and to allow people in the cars along the route to take photographs. A system like this, or when a train of gondolas in a row stops at a station is called a pulse gondola because the lift stops to load usually three cabins at a terminal and then starts up again. It stops over and over to do this.Another type of gondola lift is the bi-cable gondola, which has one other stationary cable, besides the main haul rope, that helps support the cabins. Examples of this type of lift include the Ngong Ping Cable Car in Hong Kong, the Singapore Cable Car, and the Sulphur Mountain Gondola in Banff, Canada. There are also tri-cable gondolas that have two stationary cables that support the cabins. They differ from aerial tramways in that the latter consist only of one or two usually larger cabins, moving up and down, not circulating.

Open-air gondolas, or cabriolet as commonly called, are fairly uncommon and are quite primitive because they are exposed to the elements. Their cabins are usually hollow cylinder, open from chest height up, with a floor and a cover on the top. They are usually used as village gondolas and for short distances. An example of these are the Cabriolets at Mont Tremblant Resort in Quebec and Mountain Creek. Open-air gondolas can also come in a style similar to a pulse gondola, like the Village Gondola at Panorama Ski Resort, British Columbia.

The first gondola skilift built in the United States was located at the Wildcat Mountain Ski Area. It was a two-person gondola built in 1957 and serviced skiiers until 1999. The lift was later demolished in 2004. The lift and its cabins were manufactured by a former Italian lift company: Carlevaro-Savio.

The longest gondola ride in the world, Gondelbahn Grindelwald-Männlichen, connects Grindelwald with Männlichen and includes a short pass through at Holenstein.

List of accidents

* 29 January 1983: The Singapore Cable Car disaster, which saw seven people killed when two cabins plunged into the sea after the cableway was hit by a Panamanian-registered oil rig.
* September 52005: Nine people died and ten were injured when a 750 kg concrete block was accidentally dropped by a construction helicopter in Sölden, Austria. Hundreds had to be evacuated from the lift. [ cite web
url = http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/nine-killed-in-cable-car-crash/2005/09/06/1125772489555.html
title = Nine killed in freak cable car crash
publisher = Sydney Morning Herald
date = September 62005
accessdate = 2006-12-06
] [ cite web
url = http://media.smh.com.au/?rid=16700&sy=smh&source=smh.com.au%2Fnews%2Fworld%2Fnine-killed-in-cable-car-crash%2F2005%2F09%2F06%2F1125772489555.html
title = Cable car disaster in Austria
format = video
publisher = Sydney Morning Herald
date = September 62005
accessdate = 2006-12-06
*July 132006: Five people, including a three-year-old girl, were injured after 2 cable cars collided and one crashed to the ground. The accident took place at the Nevis Range, near Fort William in northwest Scotland. There were no fatalities and the gondola was deemed safe for operation shortly after the accident. [ cite web
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/highlands_and_islands/5177392.stm
title = People injured in cable car crash
publisher = BBC News
date = July 13 2006
accessdate = 2007-10-27
* February 18 2007: A gondola car derailed from the cable at Ski Apache and rolled backwards hitting another car. Eight people were involved in the crash but only two suffered minor injuries.
*March 22008: A man fell out of a gondola in Chamonix after he and one of his friends leant on and broke the plexiglass window. [ [Man falls from Ski Lift] [http://www.skiclub.co.uk/skiclub/news/story.asp?intStoryID=5479] ]

See also

* List of aerial lift manufacturers
* List of gondola lifts
* Ski lifts
* Aerial tramway
* Cable car (disambiguation)


External links

* Lift-Database: [http://www.lift-world.info Lift-World]
* The [http://www.tochal.org/ Tochal gondola lift, Theran, Iran] (Site in Persian and English language)

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