Timeline of cable transport
This is a timeline of cable transport, attempting to describe important events in the development of a broad class of transport modes using cables as the foundation for transporting people or things.
|Time period||Development summary|
|1834 backwards||Pre steel cable era, with cable drawn transport dating back to 250 BC. Elevators exist as far back as ancient Rome, with Archimedes building them in 336 BC, and gladiators and animals roding lifts to the Roman Coliseum arena by 80 AD. The modern elevator is first developed in the 19th century. It relies on steam or hydraulic plungers for lifting capability.|
|1834 onwards||Post steel cable era. All kinds of ropeways are made possible for transportation after the invention of the steel cable, resulting in a flourishing development of cable transport. In the mid-19th century, modern/advanced ropeways make their first appearance and start being used for the transportation of people and goods. The first ropeways create a clear distinction between passenger transportation on the ground (funiculars & cable cars) and transport of goods on the ground or in the air (aerial ropeways). Elevators become more common in the mid-1800s in the midst of the Industrial Revolution, transporting freight in factories and mines.|
|20th century||Higher-performance aerial ropeways start being built for passengers. However, the technology of cable cars retreats to the mountains, with urban cable cars being replaced with streetcars and later buses.|
|Present time||Elevators are by far the most used and most ubiquitous mean of cable transport. Other cable transport systems have variable levels of penetration. Today, ropeways are mature, efficient and comfortable means of transport that are used mainly in the areas of winter sports and tourism. Cable car systems proved successful in a number of Latin American cities, more than any other region.|
|250 BC||Cable drawn transport is already known. The first records of people transported by cable-drawn systems go all the way back to a brush drawing of a ropeway in South China.|
|236 BC||Elevator||Roman architect Vitruvius reports that Archimedes probably built his first elevator around this year.|
|1000||Elevator||The Book of Secrets by al-Muradi in Islamic Spain describes the use of an elevator-like lifting device, in order to raise a large battering ram to destroy a fortress.||Spain|
|1319 – 1367||Ropeway||The Japanese historical epic Taikeiki recounts the story of a Japanese emperor who escapes via a valley ropeway when surrounded by enemy forces.||Japan|
|1402 – 1405||Ropeway||The Bellifortis, the first fully illustrated military manual, carries an illustration of the ropeway and how it can be used in a military application.|
|1616||Ropeway||Venetian polymath Fausto Veranzio, in his published masterwork Machinae Novae, illustrates a bi-cable passenger ropeway.||Croatia (Venetian Republic)|
|1644||Cable car||Dutch engineer Adam Wybe develops a successful bicable operational system, with the purpose of moving large amounts of soil over the Motława River in Gdańsk, Poland, to construct defensive fortifications.||Poland|
|1743||Elevator||The first modern passenger elevator is built at the Chateau de Versailles for Louis XV of France and is called "The Flying Chair".||France|
|1793||Elevator||The first screw drive elevator is built by Ivan Kulibin and installed in Winter Palace.||Russia|
|1804||Funicular||Austrian engineer Joseph Gainschnigg puts into operation the most powerful funicular of his time, a 1.4 km line in Badgastein, Austria, used both for transportation of ore from the goldmine down and for transportation of the miners up to the entrance of the mine. With steel cables unexistent at the time, the rope is made of hemp with a diameter of about 60 mm and driven by a water wheel with a diameter of 15 m.||Austria|
|1823||Elevator||Teo architects working in London, Burton and Hormer, build and operate a novel tourist attraction, which they call the "ascending room". It elevates paying customers to a considerable height in the center of the city, allowing them a panoramic view of the downtown.||United Kingdom|
|1834–1843||Technology||German mining official Wilhelm August Julius Albert invents the steel cable, leading to the most successful period of all kinds of ropeways in history.|
|1850||Elevator||Henry Waterman from New York is credited with inventing the “standing rope control” for an elevator.||United States|
|1853||Elevator||American industrialist Elisha Otis demonstrates an elevator with a "safety" to break the cab's fall in case of rope failure.||United States|
|1857||Elevator||Elisha Otis' first passenger elevator in the United States starts operating at a New York City department store.||United States|
|1861 (January 17)||Cable car||British mechanical engineer Andrew Smith Hallidie in San Francisco patents the first cable car.||United States|
|1862||Funicular||The first funicular for public transport is put into operation in Lyon, France. It is driven by a steam engine.||France|
|c.1867||Elevator||Otis Brothers and Company is founded by Elisha Otis' in Yonkers, New York, eventually to achieve mass production of elevators in the thousands.||United States|
|1872||Cable car||The San Francisco cable car system opens its first line; designed by Andrew Smith Hallidie. The drive unit for the hauling cable is a steam engine in the powerhouse.||United States|
|1873||Funicular||A steam engine–driven funicular is constructed at Leopoldsberg, Vienna, on the occasion of the World Exhibition.||Austria|
|1873||Aerial lift||San Francisco develops its first cable car.||United States|
|1880||Funicular||A funicular cable is mounted on Mount Vesuvius.||Italy|
|1882||Cable car||A cable car system opens in Chicago.||United States|
|1887||Elevator||An electric elevator is developed in Baltimore, using a revolving drum to wind the hoisting rope.|
|1890||The Funiculaire du Havre opens to the public.||France|
|1890||Cable car||Most large US cities have one or more cable car lines by the time.||United States|
|1902||Funicular||The East Cliff Lift funicular railway in Hastings, England is built. It is the steepest in the country, with a gradient of 78%.||United Kingdom|
|1908||Surface lift||The first surface lift is built by German Robert Winterhalder in the Black forest.||Germany|
|1912||Aerial lift||The Sugarloaf Cable Car opens in Rio de Janeiro.||Brazil|
|1923||Aerial lift||A cable car line is built in Gothenburg, connecting Götaplatsen square with the Liseberg theme park.||Sweden|
|1934||Aerial lift||An aerial cable transport is installed in Grenoble.||France|
|1943||Aerial lift||The Forsby-Köping limestone cableway is built, running from Forsby in Vingåker municipality to industrial town Köping in central Sweden. With 42 km of extension, it is one of the longest aerial tramways ever built.||Sweden|
|1955||Aerial lift||A cable car opens at Bogota's Monserrate.||Colombia|
|1956||Aerial lift||A cable car network opens in Algiers.||Algeria|
|1965||Aerial lift||A gondola lift is installed at the shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon.||Lebanon|
|1976||Aerial lift||The Roosevelt Island Tramway was completed in New York City.||United States|
|1976||Accident||Forty-three people are killed in the deadliest cable car crash in history, occuring in Cavalese, Italy, when the steel supporting cable of an aerial tramway breaks as a fully loaded cable car descends from Mt. Cermis.||Italy|
|1990||Aerial lift||The first funitel is constructed in Val-Thorens by Denis Creissel and enterprises Reel and Städeli-Lift.||France|
|1990 (June 1)||Accident||1990 Tbilisi aerial tramway accident. Two gondolas roll down simultaneously when the rope breaks inside the coupler of the upper gondola. 20 people are killed.||Georgia|
|1998 (February 3)||Accident||Second Cavalese cable car disaster. Twenty people die when a United States Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler aircraft, while flying too low, against regulations, cuts a cable supporting a gondola of an aerial tramway.||Italy|
|1999 (July 1)||Accident||Saint-Étienne-en-Dévoluy cable car disaster. A gondola operating on a privately owned aerial tramway detaches from the cable and falls into the valley below, killing 20 people (all on board).||France|
|2004||Aerial lift||Medellin becomes the first city in the world to implement a cable car system as a full-time public transport system.||Colombia|
|2007||Tramway||A tramway is built in Portland, Oregon, to connect a university campus to downtown.||United States|
|2009||Aerial lift||A gondola system imitating that of Medellin is installed in Manizales, Colombia.||Colombia|
|2012||Study||Experts at a 2012 urban transport conference in Ethiopia estimate the cost of a typical two kilometre line of cable cars at £5.1 million, a comparatively low figure in contrast to other means of transport.||Ethiopia|
|2012||Study||Research paper published in the American Journal of Epidemiology comparing violence in Colombian city neighborhoods that have access to the new cable car with similar areas that dont’t, shows a decline in the homicide rate to be 66% greater in cable car neighborhoods than in control neighborhoods, with resident reports of violence decreasing 75% more in cable car neighborhoods. These results show that interventions in neighborhood physical infrastructure can reduce violence.|
|2012||Aerial lift||London’s cable car, the Emirates Air Line, opens to the public. However, the line would further fail to generate revenue, with very few regular users.||United Kingdom|
|2014 (May 30)||Aerial lift||Mi Teleférico starts operations in La Paz, Bolivia, as the longest aerial cable car urban transit system. Developed by Austrian firm Doppelmayr Garaventa Group, as of March 2018, the system consists of 20 stations along six lines: Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Orange, and White; with another five lines in planning or construction: Purple, Sky Blue, Brown, Silver, and Gold.||Bolivia|
|2017 – 2020||Aerial lift||A planned cable car system is built in Haifa, Israel, as part of the city's expanded public transport system. Featuring 76 cabins leaving every half minute, the system is expected to integrate with the local transit network and an estimated 4,000 – 5,000 passengers per day (2 million per year) riding the gondola.||Israel|
|2018||Funicular||World's steepest funicular rail line opens in Switzerland, reaching gradients as steep as 110%.||Switzerland|
|2021||Aerial lift||An aerial cable-car system is projected for the Greater Paris area around this time. Paris hopes to become one of the first European cities to implement a modern cable car system aimed at commuters.||France|
Meta information on the timeline
How the timeline was built
The initial version of the timeline was written by User:Sebastian.
Funding information for this timeline is available.
What the timeline is still missing
Timeline update strategy
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