For 50 years, the Stockhornbahn gondolas have been floating up from Erlenbach to the Stockhorn. In spring 2021 it was time to replace the suspension ropes of the second Chrindi-Stockhorn section. A challenging task for which the Garaventa specialists developed a tailor-made solution.
The striking Stockhorn summit towers over the city of Thun and is a popular destination for hikers and tourists. With the cable car from Erlenbach in Simmental, guests can reach the mountain station on the Stockhorn in 20 minutes. The Stockhornbahn consists of two sections. Two modern panorama cabins commute between Erlenbach and the Chrindi middle station. At the Chrindi, guests switch to iconic red cabins. After almost 50 years of operation, the specialists from Garaventa, together with the employees of the Stockhornbahn, replaced the suspension cables of the second section.
In the run-up to the project, the Garaventa specialists were faced with a number of logistical challenges. For example, no access to the Chrindi middle station was possible. The replacement and disposal of the 32-tonne suspension ropes also required a lot of space, machines and tools. The limited space at the middle station, however, did not allow for a transhipment and assembly area. Together with the Stockhornbahn AG, the municipality and the landowners, those responsible decided on an assembly area directly below the railway axis of the first section.
The choice of this assembly location brought some advantages. This enabled the rope hoist experts to carry out the rope hoist directly from the assembly point in the valley. They were able to pull the old suspension ropes of the upper section over the second carriageway of the first section into the valley. No helicopter was necessary to transport the heavy tools and winches up the mountain. The assembly could thus be carried out more cost-effectively and less dependent on the weather. Stefan Schmid, Managing Director of the Stockhornbahn emphasizes: “It was important to us that the interruption to operations was as short as possible. With the direct train solution developed by Garaventa, we saved more than ten working days. "
Moved in close cooperation with the employees of the Stockhornbahn AG
the Garaventa fitters use pre-ropes to move the new suspension rope to the middle station. Chief fitter Alex Käslin explains: “After we pulled the new suspension cable into the middle station, we connected this cable to the old suspension cable with an assembly sleeve. In a further step, the two old suspension ropes were connected in the mountain station. The ropes were thus connected in series from the assembly area to the mountain station and back to the middle station. In addition, we pulled another lead rope into the valley and connected it to the old carrying rope. This made it possible to pull the rope down into the valley. ”The sum of these rope connections resulted in a loop from the valley to the mountain station and back. The team used cable winches to pull the new suspension cable up to the mountain and back to the middle station. At the same time, the cable winch pulled the old suspension cables back into the valley station. There, a logistics company transported the ropes easily with a truck.
The replacement of the suspension cable was completed after six weeks. At the beginning of May, the Stockhorn lifts resumed operations on time. Stefan Schmid, CEO of Stockhornbahnen, is enthusiastic: “Garaventa AG developed a tailor-made solution for us. We were therefore able to change the suspension cable with a minimum of operational interruption. The next suspension cable changes are due in 50 years at the earliest. "
Technical data second section "Chrindi-Stockhorn"
- Customer: Stockhornbahn AG
- Year of construction: 1969
- Inclined length: 1220 m
- Difference in altitude: 495 m
- Conveying capacity: 300 p / h
- Driving speed: 6 m / s
- Cabins: 2 cabins for 30 people each
- Travel time: 5 min