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Encyclopedia > Wellington Cable Car

The Wellington Cable Car is a funicular railway in Wellington, New Zealand. It carries passengers between Lambton Quay, Wellington's main shopping street, and Kelburn, a suburb in the hills overlooking the central city. It is widely recognised as a symbol of Wellington. Panorama of Wellington (picture taken by myself) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Angels Flight, Los Angeles, California with gantlet track configuration A funicular, also called funicular railway or inclined railway, inclined plane, or in the United Kingdom a cliff railway, consists of a system of transport in which cables attach to a tram-like vehicle on rails to move it up and... Wellington (Te Whanganui-a-Tara or Poneke) is the capital city of New Zealand, the countrys second-largest urban area and the most populous national capital city in Oceania. ... Lambton Quay is the heart of the central business district of Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand. ... Panorama of Wellington including the Kelburn cable car. ...

Contents


Track and stations

The Wellington Cable Car line consists of 628 metres of mostly straight track, with the only curves located at the passing area in the middle. Except for the lowest part, the track rises at a constant grade of around 1 in 5, using tunnels and bridges to even out the slope. There are three bridges and three tunnels. The cars on the line are designed to fit the grade, using internal "terraces" to provide a horizontal floor.


The track has a 1000mm gauge, and is based on pine sleepers. The 30 mm cable is kept off the ground by 120 rubber track rollers. Rail gauge is the distance between the inner sides of the two rails of a railroad. ... A railroad tie or sleeper is an oblong object used as a base for railroad tracks. ...


The lower terminus of the Wellington Cable Car is accessed from a lane off Lambton Quay. The upper terminus is in open air, and is situated at the city end of Upland Road, Kelburn's main street. There are three other stations, spaced equally along the track — from Lambton Quay, the stations are Clifton Terrace, Talavera, and Salamanca, all being named after streets.


Cars and propulsion

The Wellington Cable Car has two cars, which start from opposite ends of the line and pass in the middle. The two cars are attached to each other by a cable, which runs through a pulley at the top of the hill. A motor at the top of the hill pulls this cable, providing motive power for the cars. The Wellington Cable Car is not, strictly speaking, a true cable car — rather, it is a funicular. A true cable car grips and releases a continuously-moving cable as required, but the Wellington Cable Car is permanantly attached to its cable, and it is the cable itself which stops and starts. Because both cars are attached to the same cable, one cannot be moving without the other. Cable car can mean: a street railway system using a cable in the road to pull the cars along; see cable car (railway). ... Angels Flight, Los Angeles, California with gantlet track configuration A funicular, also called funicular railway or inclined railway, inclined plane, or in the United Kingdom a cliff railway, consists of a system of transport in which cables attach to a tram-like vehicle on rails to move it up and...


The motor has an output of 185 kW. The normal operating speed of the cars is approximately 18 km/hour, with a maximum passenger load of around 100. Each car weighs approximately 13,500 kg when empty and 21,000 kg when full.


Passengers

The Wellington Cable Car is used by slightly under a million people each year. In the mornings and evenings, it is used by commuters travelling between Kelburn and the city. At other times of the day, it is used by people travelling between the city and the Wellington Botanic Gardens, or by students attending Victoria University. A considerable number of tourists also visit the Cable Car. Commuting is the process of traveling between a place of residence and a place of work. ... The Wellington Botanic Garden, Wellington, New Zealand, cover 25 hectares of land on the side of the hill between Thorndon and Kelburn, near central Wellington. ... Victoria University of Wellington is the oldest university in Wellington, New Zealand, established in 1897 as the fifth constituent college of the University of New Zealand by an Act of Parliament. ...


Ownership

The Cable Car is owned by Wellington Cable Car Ltd, a company belonging to the Wellington City Council. The actual operation of the Cable Car, however, is largely contracted out to a private company, Transfield Services. The Council-owned company is responsible for awarding this contract and for the maintenance of cars and track, while Transfield Services employs drivers, sells tickets, and provides customer service. Unlike buses and trains, the Cable Car does not receive a subsidy. It nevertheless remains profitable.


History

At the end of the 19th century, Wellington was expanding rapidly, and due to the city's hilly terrain, good building land was at a premium. When new residential developments were proposed for Kelburn, it was suggested that a cable car or funicular could be built to provide easy access. In 1898, a number of people prominent in the residential subdivisions founded the Kelburn & Karori Tramway Company. The plan was to build a tramway between the city and Kelburn, and link it by carriage to Karori, which was then a separate settlement on the far side of Kelburn. The company began purchasing land for the contruction of the tramway, and negotiated with Karori authorities for a new road (modern Upland Road) to link the line's upper terminus with Karori. In 1898, the Wellington City Council granted permission for the venture, on the condition that the Council had the option to purchase the operation at a later date. Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... Kelburn can be: Kelburn Castle, a Scottish castle. ... 1898 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... City-end Karori from Wrights Hill Karori is a suburb located at the western edge of the urban area of Wellington, New Zealand, some four km from the city centre. ... 1898 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ...


The designer of the system was James Fulton, a Dunedin-born engineer. Fulton was responsible both for selecting the route and for deciding the actual method of operation. He eventually decided on a hybrid between a cable car and a funicular. As with a true cable car, there would be a continuously moving cable, which the descending car would grip and release as necessary. At the same time, the two cars would be linked to each other by another cable, looping around an unpowered pully at the top. As one car descended, the other would be pulled up. Each car would therefore move at the same rate, passing in the middle. Dunedin is the second-largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, located in coastal Otago. ... Cable car can mean: a street railway system using a cable in the road to pull the cars along; see cable car (railway). ... Angels Flight, Los Angeles, California with gantlet track configuration A funicular, also called funicular railway or inclined railway, inclined plane, or in the United Kingdom a cliff railway, consists of a system of transport in which cables attach to a tram-like vehicle on rails to move it up and...


Construction began in 1899, and involved three teams working around the clock. The system was opened to the public on 22 February 1902. Demand was high, with thousands of people travelling on the line each day. In 1903, a number of old horse-drawn trams from Wellington were converted into "trailers" for the cable car, increasing capacity somewhat. By 1912, the annual number of passengers had reached one million. In 1933, the Cable Car's steam-powered winding gear was replaced by an electric motor, improving control and operating costs. 1899 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... February 22 is the 53rd day of every year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1902 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... 1903 has the latest occurring solstices and equinoxes for 400 years, because the Gregorian calendar hasnt had a leap year for seven years or a century leap year since 1600. ... 1912 was a leap year starting on Monday. ... 1933 was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ...


In the 1940s, the Cable Car suffered from increased competition from buses. In particular, buses now ran directly from Wellington to Karori and other western suburbs, bypassing the Cable Car. The Cable Car company believed that it was inappropriate for the City Council to compete with a private corporation, and legal disputes eventually broke out. The argument ended when the City Council agreed to purchase the Cable Car outright. This occured on 13 February 1947. February 13 is the 44th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1947 was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ...


In the 1960s and 1970s, the Cable Car gradually became the focus of complaints about safety and comfort. The old wooden cars were increasingly considered antiquated, and in 1973, a worker suffered serious injuries in an accident, prompting a review. The review concluded that aspects of the Cable Car were unsafe, particularly the use of brake-less "trailer" cars. These trailers were removed, considerably reducing the Cable Car's capacity. A major upgrade was then launched, which saw improvements made to most aspects of the Cable Car's operation. The old wooden cars, despite a certain amount of public protest, were withdrawn in favour of new cars from Switzerland. At the same time, the original propulsion mechanism was replaced, turning the system into a full funicular. Despite the change, however, the system continued to be called the Wellington Cable Car. Angels Flight, Los Angeles, California with gantlet track configuration A funicular, also called funicular railway or inclined railway, inclined plane, or in the United Kingdom a cliff railway, consists of a system of transport in which cables attach to a tram-like vehicle on rails to move it up and...


Initially, the refurbished Cable Car suffered a number of problems. The service was frequently out of order for technical reasons, and extensive safety checks also cut significantly into operations. Largely as a result of these problems, patronage dropped to a low of 500,000 in 1982. Eventually, however, the problems were largely resolved, and use of the Cable Car has steadily increased. 1982 (MCMLXXXII) is a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


In 1991, when the passenger transport industry was deregulated, there was speculation about the future of the Cable Car. Under the new laws, Councils could no longer directly provide transport services, instead having to either privatise or corporatise their operations. The Wellington bus system was entirely privatised, and it was thought by some that the same would happen to the Cable Car. In the end, however, the Council retained full ownership, although in accordance with the new law, the Cable Car was turned into a Council-owned corporation, Wellington Cable Car Ltd. 1991 (MCMXCI) is a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Deregulation is the process by which governments remove restrictions on business in order to (in theory) encourage the efficient operation of markets. ... Privatization (sometimes privatisation, denationalization, or — especially in India — disinvestment) is the process of transferring property, from public ownership to private ownership. ... Corporatization is a form of economic reform which takes services from the direct control of the government, and places them in the control of government-owned corporations. ...


While the Council remained the owner of the Cable Car, operation and maintenance would be (separately) contracted out to a private company. Initially, both contracts were won by Harbour City Cable Car Ltd, a joint venture between Stagecoach Group (which had purchased Wellington's bus system) and East by West (a Wellington ferry operator). In 1994, however, the Council decided to carry out its own maintenance, with the Council-owned Wellington Cable Car Ltd establishing its own maintenance capacity. In 1997, the operations contract was won by another company, Serco. Serco was subsequently purchased by australian company Transfield Services, who currently operate the contract. Stagecoach Group plc is a leading international transport group operating bus, train, tram, express coach and ferry operations. ... 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International year of the Family. ... 1997 (MCMXCVII) is a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Serco Group plc is an international company with several branches. ...


External links

  • Wellington Cable Car site
  • Wellington Cable Car Museum
  • History of the Kelburn Cable Car

  Results from FactBites:
 
Cable car (railway) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1613 words)
Cable cars are sometimes confused with funiculars, where the cars are permanently attached to the cable.
Cable cars rapidly spread to other cities, although the major attraction for most was the ability to displace horse-drawn (or other animal-drawn) systems rather than the ability to climb hills.
A cable car is superficially very similar to a funicular but differs from such a system in that it cars are not permanently attached to the cable and can stop independently, whereas a funicular has cars that are permanently attached to the propulsion cable, which is itself stopped and started.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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