Going Blue: Fourth Gondola Line to Launch Friday in La Paz

16426132_1745241388834662_6782592918566574891_n

The world’s largest urban gondola network leaps forward this week with the addition of the Línea Azul (Blue Line) in the Bolivian twin cities of La Paz and El Alto. Since debuting with just one line in May 2014, the state-owned Mi Teleférico (My Cable Car) system has now transported more than 75 million passengers on its Green, Yellow, and Red gondolas.  In 2015, My Cable Car committed $450 million to build six additional lines through 2020, and it ordered two more last year.  Mi Teleférico has quickly become one of Doppelmayr’s largest customers, exclusively utilizing the Austrian company’s ten-passenger monocable detachable gondola technology.

Los trabajos de pruebas se realizan para cumplir con normas internacionales que serán completadas el año entrante y antes de que la #LíneaAzul comience a brindar servicio a la población en 2017. Resaltar que el objetivo de #MiTeleférico es ofrecer una óptima #seguridad de operación y calidad de servicio a los usuarios. La línea Azul inicia en inmediaciones de la Estación Jach´a Qhathu de la línea Roja (16 de Julio – El Alto) y se extenderá en dirección a la Plaza Libertad, continuando por la avenida La Paz, pasando por la UPEA y arribando a la estación de servicio en el cruce de Río Seco. *Características: Tiempo de viaje: 20 minutos (aproximadamente) Longitud de la línea: 4,9 kilómetros Número de cabinas: 208

A post shared by Mi Teleférico (@miteleferico) on

Construction commenced on Línea Azul in late May 2015 with cable pulling (by drone!) wrapping in September 2016.  The first cabin launched later that month with Bolivian President Evo Morales taking the inaugural ride in November.  After three more months of terminal buildout and system testing, the Blue line’s five stations are ready for show time.  Línea Azul is La Paz’s longest to date, with 208 CWA Omega IV-10-LWI cabins that will cover an impressive 32,700 feet per revolution beginning March 3rd, just 645 days after groundbreaking.

Like the Red, Yellow and Green lines, the Blue line is actually two lifts with two separate haul ropes and two drive systems with cabins transferring between them.  Nearly all of the Mi Teleférico network will be built this way, with multiple haul rope loops forming single “lines” with two to five stations each (most have either three or four.)  Multi-stage gondolas operating with this principle in North America include Whistler Village and Excalibur at Whistler Blackcomb, Panorama at Mammoth and Revelation at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.

miteleferico2017map
When completed, La Paz’s subway in the sky will include eleven lines stretching 18 miles.
The Bolivian government has committed some $795 million to build 21 gondolas (11 lines, 38 stations, 36 miles of wire rope, 1,612 cabins) at build out.  To put that in perspective, it took CWA 50 years to supply 4,000 cabins in the United States and the company fabricated approximately 2,000 cabins for the entire world last year.  Another reference point: Doppelmayr’s global sales totaled $880 million in 2015/16.  La Paz is the sole reason South America now accounts for almost double US and Canada sales combined.

Mi Teleférico will ultimately be capable of transporting 70,000 passengers hourly throughout La Paz and El Alto.  Existing gondolas operate 17 hours per day, 50 weeks per year and apparently even generate an operating profit.  Under the leadership of César Dockweiler, Mi Teleferico has become so good at what it does that it recently reached an agreement to manage construction and operations of a $66 million, five-station line in the city of Sucre – 430 miles away.  Interestingly, that contract went to Poma.

Back in La Paz, construction is also nearly complete on the first sections of the White and Orange lines scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of this year.  Purple and Sky Blue lines are also on deck; the former will be the first Mi Teleférico gondola capable of 6 m/s speed and 4,000 pphpd capacity.  La Paz and El Alto will debut a new gondola at least every six months for years to come and you can follow Mi Telefério’s progress on their awesome Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts along with hundreds of thousands of followers.

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Going Blue: Fourth Gondola Line to Launch Friday in La Paz

  1. Mike Turley February 27, 2017 / 8:56 am

    Where did the large number of mechanics needed to maintain such an impressive system come from ?

    Like

      • Mike Turley February 27, 2017 / 6:19 pm

        Unfortunately my Spanish is limited to ordering drinks and finding the baño

        Like

    • kevin ratcliffe February 28, 2017 / 10:29 am

      They’re Doppelmayrs they just run and run and run.
      How many passengers do they move on an average day?

      Like

      • Peter Landsman February 28, 2017 / 10:56 am

        Average is 60,000 with a one day record of 162,465.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s