• FA-123615 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
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Cabin of the Stubnerkogelbahn


Modern ski tourism would be inconceivable without cable cars. Austria has one of the highest cable car densities in the world. Every year more than 150 million people are transported up into the Alps.

The earliest aerial cableways for transporting materials were built in China more than 1,200 years ago. In 1834 Wilhelm Albert invented the wire cable. Three years later the Viennese mechanic Franz Xaver Wurm introduced his stranding machine, heralding the breakthrough for cableways.

By the late 19th century cableways were being used to transport materials. During World War I they also played a significant role in replenishing supplies in the Dolomites. Ropeway conveyors were used almost exclusively for continuously transporting goods.

The first passenger cable cars came into use in the early 20th century. They consisted of aerial tramways with two cabins travelling back and forth.

Austria’s first continuous ropeway cable car for transporting passengers was built in 1950. Its design was based on the system devised by Georg Wallmannsberger from Salzburg.

With a continuous ropeway cable car the cabins are detached from the propulsion rope once inside the station. They then slowly move along tracks and can be halted to allow passengers to board, enabling an almost continuous flow of passengers. The last cableway based on the Wallmannsberger system was decommissioned in 2010 in Gmunden, to be replaced by a new design.

Today continuous ropeways are used in countless designs in cable cars and chairlifts all over the world.

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