BERLIN – A cable car leading to Germany’s highest summit in the heart of the Bavarian Alps re-opened its service on Thursday after a massive six-year planning and engineering endeavor undertaken in challenging conditions, the company in charge of the operation said.
The service, which takes tourists up to the 2,962 meter (9,718 feet) Zugspitze mountain, entered service again with two new, state-of-the-art, fully glazed, high-capacity cabin-gondolas capable of transporting up to 580 passengers per hour along a breathtaking 4.5 kilometer route with panoramic views, Bayerische Zugspitzbahn AG said.
“The cable car’s inaugural journey will mark the beginning of a new era: one in which the state of the art Zugspitze Cable Car whisks passengers up to the highest mountain in the country in unparalleled comfort,” a statement said.
Among the views available are the picturesque Lake Eibsee and the Waxensteine (2,277 meter) and Alpspitze (2,628 meter) summits on the way to Zugspitze’s peak.
One of the reasons for the upgrade was the ever-increasing numbers of visitors to the Alpine summit – around half a million every year.
Tourists will now enjoy a triple technological record-breaking ride by traversing the world’s highest steelwork pylon for aerial tramways (127 meters) the world’s greatest overall height difference of 1,945 meters over one section and the world’s longest unsupported span, measuring 3.2 kilometers.
This engineering marvel took three years to plan, two and a half years of hair-raising construction work and a 50-million-euro ($60-million) budget.
The new gondolas replace 1963-vintage cable cars which had become obsolete in technical terms and passenger capacity, at only 240 passengers per hour.
The new cars enjoy wall-to-ceiling panoramic views, electrically-heated windows and 360-degree unobstructed sightseeing all year round.
On a clear day, 400 nearby Alpine peaks can be seen across some 250 kilometers, straddling four countries (Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland).
Winter prices for the 2017/2018 season Zugspitze cable car return ticket cost 45 euro for adults. Family discounts are available.