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World's tallest cable car to go into retirement after 50-year career

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World's tallest cable car to go into retirement after 50-year career
Photo: DPA
16:10 CEST+02:00
The world-famous cable car taking tourists up to the Zugspitze, Germany's highest peak, is to be taken down and replaced by a more modern transport system.

Sunday will mark the end of an era for cable car technology in the Bavarian Alps. After nearly 54 years the Eibsee cable car on the 2,962 Zugspitze is closing down. 

It's making space for the new cable car which will be built in almost the exact same place, and will be opened on December 21st - if everything goes to plan. 

The cable car on Germany's highest mountain was completed in 1963 and is still today a piece of technological genius. It traverses nearly 2,000 metres in height, making it the the cable car which covers the most altitude in the world. 

“The Eibsee cable car is a one of a kind technical masterpiece which overcame barriers of altitude, distance, frame positioning, building challenges, and geological surroundings,” said Peter Huber, technical director of the Zugspitze cable car system. 

In the 50 years since it started operating it has carried more than 21 million people. The two cars on the cable have travelled the equivalent distance of 76 times around the world. But as the cable car is reaching its maximum usage, the Bavarian cable car club, based in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, decided to completely replace it.

The new transport system on the Zugspitze is also, however, going to be record-breaking. No other cable car on the planet spans further than the 3,213 metres from the base to the mountain top station. No other pendular cable car has a 127 metre high steel stay either. As a comparison, the spires of the Church of our Lady in Munich are just under 100 metres high. 

The old cable car was able to carry a maximum of 240 people an hour a distance of 4.5km. The new one will be able to take a maximum of 600 people an hour. It will also cost around €50 million to build.

Fans of the old cable cars also need not worry, they will not completely disappear.

“The old carriages will be given a seat of honour,” said a spokeswoman Verena Lothes. But it is still not known where they will be kept.

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