Zugspitize tram

TomWhiteTomWhite expert
in NELSAP Forum Posts: 538
ropeways.net | Home | 2018-01-15

Peak Performance: ABB Technology Powers New Cable Car Zugspitze

Company's state-of-the-art motors and drives ensure safety and reliability on record-setting gondola system for Germany's highest mountain

Long queues waiting to ascend Germany’s tallest mountain may now be history. And that is not the only thing historical about the new ABB-powered cable car system that opened can take as many as 580 passengers an hour to the Zugspitze, the Bavarian Alps peak that is Germany’s highest.

The cableway breaks three world records for a pendular, or hanging, cable car system: at 127 meters, its steel column is the tallest, with 1,950 meters it overcomes the highest elevation difference and with a total run of 3,213 meters from base station to peak, it has the longest span.

The system replaces the 50-year-old Eibsee cableway and will help overcome the Eibsee’s notoriously long waiting times by transporting nearly three times the number of passengers per hour.
Making the record-breaking new cableway feasible for the operator, Bayerische Zugspitzbahn Bergbahn AG, is an array of innovative technology from ABB, which has extensive experience solving transportation challenges in the Alps.

“In Switzerland, most cableways and chairlifts use ABB motors and drives,’’ says Hans-Georg Krabbe, Chairman of the Board of ABB AG, Germany. “We are absolutely delighted to contribute to such a unique project in Germany, too.’’

Powerful twin-motor design

The demands posed by the Bayerische Zugspitzbahn for trouble-free operation and availability were particularly challenging, requiring a system capable of operating 365 days a year, regardless of wind and weather. In such a setting, safe and comfortable transport through the air depends on the perfect interplay of motors, drives and mechanics.

Pulling the gondolas such a long distance at steeps gradients of as much as 104 percent (about 46°) and a speed of 10.6 meter per second requires significant power, which is supplied by two 800-KW three-phase AC motors from ABB that are housed in the cableway’s Valley Station.

ABB’s alpine legacy

Since the late 19th century, ABB has built a lasting reputation for safe, reliable and energy-efficient transportation in the alpine region.

In the case of the world-famous Jungfrau Railway, a 9-kilometer cog railway that began operation in 1912, ABB was responsible for the electrification that made the route possible. ABB technologies still ensure that the Jungfrau Railway safely carries more than a million passengers a year – even during heavy snowfalls – to the Jungfraujoch, which at 3,454 meters above sea level is Europe’s highest train station.

And the world’s steepest funicular railway recently went into operation in Stoos in the Swiss Alps, a 1.7-kilometer route whose two 136-passenger cable cars are powered by high-efficiency electric motors designed and built by ABB. The company also supplied other key components for the system.

“Today, it is all about making advancements in terms of energy efficiency,” says Ueli Spinner, Head of Sales, Key Accounts & Service ABB AG, Switzerland. “But also where support, maintenance and service are concerned, we are the preferred partners of cableway operators.’’

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader in electrification products, robotics and motion, industrial automation and power grids, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing a more than 125-year history of innovation, ABB is writing the future of industrial digitalization and driving the Energy and Fourth Industrial Revolutions. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 136,000 employees. www.abb.com


  • JimKJimK advanced
    edited January 15 Posts: 247
    My wife and I rode the old Eibsee cable car during a summer visit in 1983.  If I'm not mistaken, the new one retraces pretty much the same lift line and approximate 6400" vertical rise.
    I have ridden many ski lifts (hundreds) in North America including recently the Whistler-Blackcomb Peak 2 Peak, and a few others in Europe.  They all pale in comparison to that Eibsee cable car ride, that makes a huge and super steep climb to a mountaintop station/restaurant perched in a seemingly precarious manner on the tallest spire of the Zugspitze.  A man had a panic attack on our ride up that lift and fortunately his friends calmed him down.  I got a little dizzy exiting the cable car and walking around the observation deck at the summit.  It's a heck of an unacclimatized vertical rise accomplished in just a few minutes.  For the descending trip we took the cogwheel train that goes inside the mountain via a tunnel.  It was interesting for it's novelty, but much less scenic than the cable car ride.
  • Schweig_1Schweig_1 intermediate
    Posts: 45

    This is what the Zugspitze Tram looked like in 1984.

    800 x 1024 - 738K
    1024 x 826 - 673K
  • T_BoneT_Bone novice
    Posts: 10
    Nice pictures.  I took this journey in 1986 but took the cog railway up and the cable car down.  Excellent scenery and many patches of snow even in August.  A great and memorable trip.  Was able to cross the border into Austria at the summit to have lunch on the other side.  
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