Runaway Equipment Damages the Zugspitze Cable Car

An ugly scene on the Zugspitze.  Photo credit:

This is not a good week for tramways in Europe.  An incident last night on the highest mountain in Germany severely damaged one of two Eibsee Cable Car cabins during a practice exercise.  Apparently a rescue carrier broke loose due to a broken chain hoist and crashed into the 120 passenger tramway cabin below at high speed.  Like with the fire at a French tram on Tuesday, the lift was free of passengers and luckily no one was injured.  A Zugspitze spokesperson says the Garaventa-built tram will be out of service until further notice.

The lift became the pinnacle of ropeway technology when it opened last December, breaking world records for the tallest lattice tower (416 feet), longest ropeway span (10,541 feet) and highest vertical rise (6,381 feet), making this a truly stunning setback.  When a cabin on the Alyeska, Alaska tram hit a tower in 2013, technicians were able to replace it with a counterweight in just a few weeks until a new cabin could be manufactured.  We’ll have to wait and see whether CWA can repair the Zugspitze cabin or must fabricate a whole new one.

16 thoughts on “Runaway Equipment Damages the Zugspitze Cable Car

    • Collin September 13, 2018 / 1:49 pm

      Brand new tram car, already totaled. If the frame is damaged it has to be replaced. Any idea how much one of those things costs?


  1. Sam September 13, 2018 / 9:39 pm

    Not only is the rescue car lodged in the carriage but it looks like a slack carrier slipped all the way down into it too, I’ve got doubts the track ropes are even reusable at this point.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Peter Landsman September 14, 2018 / 7:53 pm

    Another update: “After an extensive analysis of the situation at the Zugspitze cable car, the Bavarian Zugspitzbahn, the cable car manufacturer Garaventa, the cableway supervisor and the expert organization Rotec are now working on the organization of the recovery. The preparations for this should start next week. Since salvage by helicopter is impossible, the salvage concept now plans to bring the damaged cable car cabin including the basket to the mountain station and dismantle it there.”


      • Jeff September 15, 2018 / 1:40 am

        The cabin is too heavy (more than 15to).


    • Steve September 20, 2018 / 10:42 am

      I am going there in two weeks. Will it be possible to get to the peak in a cable car?


      • Peter Landsman September 20, 2018 / 10:51 am

        Yes, it looks like the the Gletscherbahn is open daily 8:45 am to 4:25 pm. You take a cog railway to get to it.


        • Steve September 20, 2018 / 11:06 am

          Thanks Peter. I was really looking forward to taking the Eibsee-Seilbahn cable car all the way from Lake Eibsee up to the top and then the cogwheel down the mountain. Have you heard when that will reopen?


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