Maxime Prévot, Mayor of Namur, Belgium, Christian Bouvier, Vice President of the Supervisory Board of POMA, Jean-Yes Remy, CEO of Labellemontagne and Philippe Beaujean, Director of Franki have unveiled a new gondola in Namur.
The Namur gondola connects the historic city centre to the listed Citadel of Namur. This new project, undertaken by POMA and its partners Labellemontagne and Franki, now offers a new perspective on the Belgian city, enhancing its appeal to tourists. This is POMA’s first Belgium-based project and the first European tourism concession it has put its name to.
Namur residents will remember the first cable car installed in 1956 that took them to the top of the citadel up until 1997. Namur'snew gondola takes a different route today, rising over the Sambre and linking the city centre from Maurice Servais Square to the upper station on the Citadel's Esplanade, a stone's throw from the Digital Pavilion, a legacy from the Milan World Expo. The gondola is both a useful link and an environmental plus, offering an alternative traffic route in the Walloon capital.
Designed to blend in with the urban landscape, the gondola's contemporary architecture respects this unique site. The two stations, built from Namur's typical red brick, blend discreetly with the surroundings. The technical parts of the gondola are well camouflaged and the ingenious design of the transparent glass surfaces allows perfect integration with the surrounding buildings. Careful attention has been paid to the installation of the towers. Of the four on the line, only one is obviously visible, the others merging discretely with the Terra Nova trees.
The designers were also careful to minimise the noise levels of the drive station. To reduce energy usage, the Diamond cabins are equipped with solar panels that power interior and exterior LED lighting.
A city spokesman said "Choosing to work with POMA, Labellemontagne and Franki has allowed us to surround ourselves with experts. It was with full confidence that we entrusted them with this project. I strongly believe that the gondola will be of huge benefit to tourism and mobility. A real feather in the city’s cap!"
The two trains of the three Diamond cabins will run in line at 6 metres per second, slowing down at the stations to allow pedestrians, pushchair users, wheelchair users and cyclists to get in and out safely and comfortably. In terms of design and on-board comfort, large windows provide an enjoyable, unrestricted view of the city. The journey will be a unique experience, giving passengers a new perspective as they are silently transported upwards over the city.
The Namur gondola will also enable residents of the citadel’s neighbourhoods to reach the city centre in four minutes. There will be extended timetables to benefit daily commuters.
The three partner companies in this project – POMA, Labellemontagne and Franki – have formed a consortium, the Société Anonyme du Téléphérique de la Citadelle de Namur, which will operate the gondola over the next thirty years.