Aerial lifts are far from the only transport applications where cable-propelled systems make a lot of sense. Earlier this month, Leitner-Poma celebrated the opening of its newest MiniMetro train at Miami International Airport. It’s the first phase of a system that will carry up to 30 million passengers annually to the Concourse E Satellite using less energy and with lower costs than a traditional automated people mover. Leitner-Poma of America President Rick Spear said of the opening, “we are very pleased with the new MiniMetro train at MIA. We have demonstrated our ability to be a competitive alternative to existing self-propelled technology both on price and performance, and in particular on the yearly operating and maintenance costs.” Many of the train’s components were manufactured at Leitner-Poma’s Grand Junction facility that also builds ski lifts for North America, Australia and New Zealand.
The new train at Concourse E replaces one built in 1980 by Bombardier. The Leitner-Poma project is the fourth people mover at Miami International Airport and the first to be cable-driven instead of having propulsion in each car. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries constructed the MIA Mover & Skytrain and also bid on the Concourse E replacement project. Miami-Dade County awarded Leitner-Poma the $87 million contract in 2014, which includes 15 years of operation and maintenance. “The Leitner-Poma team has delivered a train that is aesthetically appealing and has a very smooth ride. The south lane is open and is being well received by our passengers,” said Eddie Chinea, Miami-Dade Aviation Department APM/Transport Systems Chair and Assistant Project Director.
Two Sigma-built cars can accommodate 150 passengers each, giving the system an hourly transport capacity of 11,000 riders per hour when phase two opens next year. Two parallel guideways were re-used from the old APM and are 1,230 feet long.
Poma also built cable-driven airport people movers in the 1990s and early 2000s in Cincinnati, Detroit and Minneapolis through a joint venture with Otis Elevator Co. that has since ended. Leitner-Poma’s MiniMetro competes with Doppelmayr Cable Car, which has similar trains in Las Vegas, Oakland, Mexico City and Toronto. Both companies have further projects in the pipeline to meet the growing demand for short-to-medium distance automated trains.