Colorado’s growing Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park will make a major lift upgrade in 2019, swapping its pulse gondola system for a detachable one. The Iron Mountain Tramway is a 2002 Poma Alpha model with 16 6-passenger Omega cabins that currently moves up to 300 guests per hour. From early 2019, a new Leitner-Poma detachable gondola is planned to more than triple capacity to 1,000 per hour with 44 six passenger cabins. Ride time will plunge from 12-15 minutes down to just seven. “This will help us enhance our guests’ experience by reducing wait times to board the tram and reducing the frequency of weather-related tram closures,” noted the park’s general manager, Nancy Heard in a press release. “It will be more stable in high-wind conditions, and will eliminate 80 percent of the shutdowns caused by wind and lightning.”
Sixteen years after Steve and Jeanne Beckley opened the adventure park in Glenwood, it now averages 205,000 visitors annually and the tramway sometimes experiences 60 to 90 minute wait times. New tropical model Sigma Diamond cabins will feature additional ventilation and lightning arresters will be added to the towers in hopes of achieving more up time. Pending local approval, construction will begin November 1st and continue for four months, during which the park will be closed. Existing towers will be reused while the terminals will be completely replaced (the new drive system will shift to the top terminal.) The unique tower-mounted utility lines that have been in service since opening day will also be buried and a new two-story administration building constructed in time for the park’s 17th season.