The world-famous cable car taking tourists up to the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak, is to be taken down and replaced by a more modern transport system.
Sunday (April 2) marked the end of an era for cable car technology in the Bavarian Alps. After nearly 54 years the Eibsee cable car on the 2,962m Zugspitze closed down. It’s making space for a new cable car which will be built in almost the exactly the same place, and is due to open on December 21.
The cable car on Germany’s highest mountain was completed in 1963 and is still today a piece of technological genius. Climbing 2,000m from the base to the peak means it is the world’s highest cable car.
“The Eibsee cable car is a one of a kind technical masterpiece which overcame barriers of altitude, distance, frame positioning, building challenges, and geological surroundings,” said Peter Huber, technical director of the Zugspitze cable car system.
In the 50 years since it started operating it has carried more than 21 million people. The two cars on the cable have travelled the equivalent distance of 76 times around the world. Now, the Bavarian cable car club, based in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, has decided to replace it.
The new transport system on the Zugspitze will also be record-breaking. No other cable car on the planet spans further than the 3,213 metres from the base to the mountain top station. No other pendular cable car has a 127 metre-high steel stay either. The old cable car was able to carry a maximum of 240 people an hour a distance of 4.5km. The new one will be able to take a maximum of 600 people an hour. It will also cost around €50 million to build.
Fans of the old cable cars also need not worry, they will not completely disappear. “The old carriages will be given a place of honour,” said spokeswoman for the club, Verena Lothes, but where has not yet been announced.