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Encyclopedia > Cablecar
Cable car at Zell am See in the Austrian Alps.

An aerial tramway is a type of aerial lift, sometimes called a cable car or ropeway, and frequently incorrectly referred to as a gondola.

An aerial tramway consists of two or more loops of cable, and two passenger cabins. One of the cables is always fixed, and provides support for the cabins. The second cable is, by means of a grip, connected to the cabins. This second cable is usually driven by an electric motor, and, being connected to the cabins, moves them up or down the mountain. They differ from gondola lifts in that the latter use several smaller cabins circulating on a looped cable.

The two passenger cabins, which carry from 4 to over 100 people, are situated at opposite ends of the loops of cable. Thus, while one is coming up, the other is going down the mountain. Some aerial trams have only one cabin.

The original version was originally called telpherage, and was invented by engineer Fleeming Jenkin. Smaller telpherage systems are sometimes used to transport objects (such as tools or mail) within a building or factory.


Aerial tramways around the world



  • The Tochal Tele-cabin which starts from the metropolitan Tehran and ends in the Tochal Ski Resort in the 3900m high. It has 7 stations and is one of the longest and most scenic in the world. A modern ski hotel hosts the skiers at the end of the tramway.
  • Namakabrood aerial tramway, in the Iran. It starts at the sea level near the shores of the Caspian Sea and ends on the top of the Alborz heights crossing dense forest area of northern Iran.
  • Ganjnameh Cable Car in Hamedan province of Iran is situated in an archaeological site belonging to the Sassanid era.




New Zealand


  • Gangtok – A ropeway is in operation in the eastern Himalayan town of Gangtok. The ropeway ferries tourists from one part of the city to another.
  • Phelagham – in this ski resort in Jammu and Kashmir, the cable cars ferry passengers up the ski slopes.


  • Singapore cable car [1] (http://www.cablecar.com.sg) From Mount Faber to Sentosa Island; interesting in that it has an intermediate stop.

South Korea

  • Namsan Cable Car, Seoul.



  • The Téléphérique de l'Aiguille du Midi, opened in 1955, can carry 75 passengers in the first section and 65 passengers in the second section. It starts in Chamonix at the altitude of 1030 metres to Plan de l'Aiguille at 2317 metres for the first section. The second section arrives at the top of the Aiguille du Midi in a station at 3777 metres high. It is the highest aerial tramway in the world.Description from the Compagnie du Mont Blanc site (http://www.compagniedumontblanc.fr/fr/aiguille/aiguille_telepherique.htm)
  • The Vanoise Express, opened in December 2003 at a cost of 15 million, is a double decker tramway for 200 passengers in each car. It spans the Ponturin gorge at a height of 380 metres (1250 feet) above the ground, linking the resorts of La Plagne and Les Arcs in four minutes to form the Paradiski Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze. There is also a cog railway up the Zugspitze.
  • The Tegelbergbahn, or Tegelbahn, near Schwangau in Bavaria in beautiful Alpine scenery.





In Switzerland, many aerial tramways are in use, one of them (Adliswil-Felsenegg) even as part of Zürich's suburban public transport system.

Another well-known Swiss aerial tramway is the one to the Schilthorn mountain in the Bernese Oberland. It appeared in the James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service. With a length of 6931 meters (22739 feet) in four tracks, it is the longest aerial tramway in the Alps and the world's longest aerial tramway system. It has 2103 meters (6900 feet) of elevation gain.

A complete list of publicly available Swiss aerial tramways (excluding other types of aerial lifts), is available at list of aerial tramways in Switzerland.

United Kingdom

Cable car from Matlock Bath in Derbyshire to Heights of Abraham

North America


United States


South Africa

  • Table Mountain has a rotating cable car ferrying passengers to and from the top of the mountain.

See also

External links

  • The Tochal aerial tramway, Tehran, Iran (http://www.tochalcomplex.com/)
  • The Telpherage system in the repair sheds of the New York City subway (http://www.nycsubway.org/irt/irtbook/ch11.html)

  Results from FactBites:
Luso Pages - Lisbon (Portugal) Cablecar (274 words)
Operated by Doppelmayr Transportes por Cable S.A., the cablecar runs over the edge of the River Tagus (Rio Tejo) between the south and north ends of the Expo site, which can be reached by Metro or CP train to Oriente station.
At the northern end of the cablecar, it is only a few yards to walk to the Torre Vasco da Gama, a 140 metre tower, from which excellent views of the whole area, including the Ponte Vasco da Gama, may be had.
The cablecar gives excellent views of the Expo 98 site, the new Vasco da Gama bridge, which reaches 11km across the Tagus, as well as of the Vasco da Gama tower, a revolving restaurant.
Two trapped in mid-air for 7hrs (451 words)
Apparently a cablecar on top of the mountain was "derailed" by a gust of wind and crashed into the cable station.
Karlien Eveleigh, who went up the mountain in a cablecar with husband Fred shortly before the accident, said they heard a loud bang minutes after disembarking and saw the top cablecar crash into the cable station.
Less than two years ago, two people were seriously injured after the cablecar in which they were travelling fell 18m to the ground when it slipped off the cable.
  More results at FactBites »



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