Page 8 - Wire Rope News & Sling Technology - October2019
P. 8

Table Mountain Aerial Cableway

                                                 by Peter von Bleichert

         Table Mountain is a flat-topped sandstone mountain that juts from the Cape Peninsula
         of South Africa. South Africa’s capital, Cape Town, grew up in the mountain’s shadow.
         Residents and visitors always looked up. Opened on October 4, 1929, the Table
         Mountain Aerial Cableway was built by Adolf Bleichert & Co. and has carried over 28
         million people to the mountain’s summit in its 90 years of operation.

               ape Town was founded in 1652   but the First Anglo-Boer War inter-  DESIGN
               and is South Africa’s oldest   rupted plans in 1880. In 1912 it was   By its 50th Anniversary in 1924,
         Ccity.  Up against the  Cape Fold   decided that a rack railway would be   Adolf Bleichert & Co. had constructed
         Range, and nestled between the South   constructed. However, the outbreak of   3,000 miles  of  wire  ropeway systems
         Atlantic and Table Mountain’s  shoul-  World War I in 1914 meant this proj-  around  the world.  Bleichert’s  head-
         der, Cape  Town was settled  by the   ect got sidelined as well.      quarters and primary factory were
         Dutch East India Company as a way-   The question of how best to scale Table   located in Leipzig, Germany, and the
         station for ships traveling around the   Mountain came up again in 1926, and   company was preeminent in the ma-
         Cape of Good Hope and on to the Dutch   Norwegian engineer Trygve Stromsoe   terials transport market. Seeking to
         East Indies.                       proposed to the Cape Town City Council              continued on page 10
           Cape  Town  is located in one  of   an aerial wire ropeway, a cableway. De-
         Earth’s six floral kingdoms, the Cape   spite high cost, some £60,000 of the day
         Floristic Region, home to endemic   (~15 million 2019 USD), the citizens of
         fauna  and  flora.  Recognized  as  a   Cape Town voted in favor of a cableway.
         UNESCO World Heritage Site and     The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway
         one of the New Wonders of Nature, the   Company  (TMACC)  was  formed  to  fi-
         Cape Floristic Region includes Table   nance the project.
         Mountain National Park,  as  well as   The TMACC board comprised busi-
         seven other protected areas around   nesspersons  Sir Alfred Hennessy,  Sir
         Cape Town. Since Cape Town’s found-  David Graaff, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer,
         ing,  Table  Mountain  and  its  unique   as well as the engineer, Stromsoe.
         environment have enticed the adven-  On November 16, 1926, TMACC con-
         turous to climb and explore.       tracted with  Adolf Bleichert & Co. to
           Table Mountain could only be     build the Table Mountain Aerial Cable-
         climbed by foot in the 1870s. A fu-  way. Bleichert’s engineers and produc-
         nicular  was  proposed  and  approved,   tion halls got to work.

            Dutch ships in the waters off Cape Town, the settlement and Table Mountain flanked
            by Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head Peak in the background, late 17th c.

         8      Wire Rope News & Sling Technology   October 2019
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