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City to consider $130 million gondola project spanning Branson

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Posted: Friday, October 23, 2015 9:00 pm
    A new mode of transportation is being considered by the city of Branson, but it doesn’t involve buses. American Gondola hopes to provide a clean transportation alternative route spanning from downtown Branson to Silver Dollar City.
    American Gondola President and General Counsel Jeff Green met with the Branson Board of Aldermen Thursday to present the estimated $130 million project.
    Green explained that each gondola car would be enclosed and would hold eight people. The proposed route would have approximately 10 terminals spaced from the Branson Landing area to Silver Dollar City. The terminals offer different stops along the route. A maintenance terminal — capable of housing 200 gondola cars — was proposed to be located in the undeveloped lots near Tanger Factory Outlets, Green said.
    The gondola cars would move at about 15 miles per hour, making a round trip in an estimated one hour and 20 minutes, Green said. The gondola has the potential of moving 3,000 people each way per hour, he said.
    American Gondola would operate 10-and-a-half months out of the year, Green said.
    The transportation system would be entirely electric with back up diesel generators as well as a manual hand crank, Green said.
    Winds up to 35 miles per hour have no affect on the gondola, Green said. Winds between 35 and 50 miles and hour would slow the system down.
    The aldermen are considering signing a memorandum of understanding between the city and American Gondola in the value of between $12-15 million to assist the company in some capacity. The project would be “privately funded with the minimal assistance from the city,” Green said. American Gondola would partner with Leitner-Poma, of Europe.
    The project is expected to produce between 50-60 full-time jobs, Green said.
    Alderwoman Cris Bohinc expressed some reservations.
    “We want to get excited but at the same time, we have to be cautious,” Bohinc said.
    If the project moves forward, Green estimates construction would take between 18 months to two years.
    After their presentation, American Gondola Vice President of Marketing Kenneth Thornton and Vice President of Engineering Clark Thompson joined the conversation.
    Rather than adding something like a bus route, Green said gondolas would make travel more of an entertainment feature.
    “For anyone who has ridden a bus and has stood at a bus stop knows it’s frustrating,” Green said. “It would bring something to Branson that is more than just transportation.
 “The view from up there (would) be incredible — just breathtaking.”
    “You could see all the venues, all the businesses, decide where you want to stop at — so it’s really good for the businesses,” Thompson added.
    The gondola cars would be ADA accessible, Thompson said.
    When constructing something as expensive as this project, Thornton said American Gondola wants to guarantee riders.
    “You’ve got your base,” Thornton said. “It’s not like you’re building it and hoping they will come.”
    In the past 20 years or so, there were talks of starting a gondola system, but they never came to fruition, Thornton said.
    “You sell no wine before its time and you build no gondola before its time,” Thornton said. “The thing that really made this thing look better is that Branson is already looking at aesthetic improvements on highway 76 and the gondola just fits perfect.
    “Everything just seems to have fallen in place,” Green added.
    The board of aldermen will discuss the gondola project at a future meeting.
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10 Best Cable Car Trips

Cable cars and Funiculars are appreciated for making it easy for us to discover the beauty of some places which are otherwise impossible to reach. Urban cable cars are picturesque and charming and give you the pleasure of really feeling as a tourist, with plenty of time and much to see and to taste. Because we like them, here are 10 cable cars which cannot be missed, if you find yourself in nearby areas.

1. Zacatecas, Mexico

cable car 1
One of the most beautiful rides one could make in a life time is the cable car ride above Zacatcas, a city located in north central part of Mexico. The city, typically Mexican, shines in a variety of colours and shapes which will make you take out the camera in an instant!

2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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This is definitely a must-see, must-do for anyone who visits Rio de Janeiro for pleasure. The cable car will go up to the summit Sugraloaf Mountain (396 m above the sea level). The famous statue ‘Christ the Redeemer is on the way and the view is splendid.

3. Mérida, Venezuela

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This cable car ride is known as the longest and the tallest in the world. If you enjoy this type of journey, you’ll be glad to discover that this particular ‘teleférico’ takes an hour to ascend from a plateau in the Andes to the top of Mountain Pico Espejo.

4. The Peak Tram, Hong Kong,China.

cable cars
The Peak Tram is 120 old and it is apparently a great way to enjoy Japan’s landscapes and natural wonders. This tram also allows you to profit from the views of the city in a special way. These funicular ascends rapidly up to Victoria Peak so that the buildings seem to be leaning over as you pass by.

5. Genting Skyway, Malaysia

Genting Skyway is featuring two records, for your delight: the fastest cable cars in the world as well as the longest cable way in Southeast Asia. At the end of your ride, Genting Skyway Resort will tempt you with many attractions such as restaurants, theme park, shops, hotels, and a casino. These conveniences are at 2,027 meters above the sea level, in the clouds!

6. Gulmarg Gondola, Jammu and Kashmir

The valley of Gulmarg is located at 2,730 meters, in north-western Himalaya and it is so charming that it was named ‘the Meadow of flowers’. Here is the base of the world’s highest cable cars, rising vertically up to 3, 980 meters. The speechless view includes impressive summits such as K2.

7.  Picos de Europa National Park, Spain

Picos de Europa is a very beautiful National Park, in North-western Spain. Te cable car will take you up to 1, 840 meters, above a wild, enchanting valley in the mountains, covered with woods. Once you reached your destination, you can admire the view of the mountains from viewpoint Aliva and explore the surroundings.

8. Grindelwald-Männlichen Cableway, Switzerland

Switzerland could not remain unmentioned in this top of the best funicular and cable car rides. Grindelwald-Männlichen ranks the third in the top of the longest passengers gondola lift and needs 30 minutes to make the journey between the two locations, of which the first is a little village 943 meters above sea level, while the second is a ski  region in the Swiss Alps.

9. Table Mountain Cableway, Cape Town, South Africa

south africa
One interesting feature about this cable car is the fact that its floor is rotating 360 degrees so that the tourists may experience an unique, delightful trip. The journey is short comparing to some of those already mentioned in this top but the views are spectacular and the possibilities of exploration or relaxations are countless.

10.  Powell-Hyde Line, San Francisco, California

powell and hyde
San Francisco’s cable car system is world famous because it is worlds’ last ‘permanently operational manually operated cable car system’.In the neighbourhood of Russian Hill, there is a railway which links all the main attractions of the city. It is called the Powell-Hyde line. This cable car will take you through Union Square, Chinatown, North Beach, Nob Hill, Aquatic Park andFisherman’s Wharf.
photo credits:

Funiculars & Cable Cars

Photo: Cable car ascending over city and beach
The cable cars of Rio take you up the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain while the city and its beaches fan out below, splendid at sunset.
Photograph by Luis Veiga/Getty

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