How it works: The Table Mountain Cableway

Date:6 July 2020 Author: Leila Stein Tags:

The Table Mountain Cableway has been around since 1929, without a single accident. The 1,200m Cableway carriers hundreds of visitors up and down the mountain to experience the best view in Cape Town.

The cars move at a maximum speed of 10m per second as they carry 65 passengers from top to bottom or vice versa. They weight 18 tons each and are attached to counter-weights weighing 134 tons.

An interesting fact, the cars don’t only carry people but also water. Each has a water tank installed at the base which provides 3,000 litres of water for those on the top of the mountain.

The current cablecar is the “Rotair” cableway installed by the Doppelmayr Garaventa Group in 1997. The design is based off of the Titlis Rotair cableway in Switzerland. The cablecars run on a double cable, making them more stable in high winds, something very necessary for Cape Town.

The Rotair cablecars also have a unique feature, where the floor of the cablecar rotates giving passengers a 360 degree view of the mountain and the city below as they make their way up. It is also the only rotating cableway system in Africa.

The old cableway

The original cableway was installed after a Norwegian engineer Trygve Stromsoe presented his plans and the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company (TMACC) was formed. Leading world wire ropeway company, Adolf Bleichert & Co. from Germany were awarded the construction contract.

The earliest workers were carried up the mountain with their tools in a make-shift “box” on a pulley. The first official cablecar could carry 20 people and was made of steel and wood. Since then the cablecar has undergone three upgrades.

Image: TableMountainCableway/Twitter

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