The new Zugspitze Cable Car to the top of Germany’s highest peak is due to open in December of 2017. The Top of Germany will have the Top of the World cable car. Boasting all of three new world records! As Klaus Schanda of Bayerische Zugspitzbahn Bergbahn AG tells us with rightful pride.
Mr Schanda, the new cable car to the top of the Zugspitze is a first worldwide. Was there a deliberate decision from the very start to build a structure of superlatives up Germany’s highest mountain? Or was that the only option due to the extremely difficult terrain?
KLAUS SCHANDA With the world’s highest steel support tower for a ropeway cable car, the world’s greatest total elevation change of 1,945 meters in one section and the longest span worldwide of 3,213 meters, the new Zugspitze Cable Car is truly unique and unparalleled.
Thus, three world records all at once for the new Zugspitze Cable Car!
KLAUS SCHANDA That’s correct. Of course, the terrain and the route partly forced us to select these parameters. After all, the route passes through the north flank of the Zugspitze. At any rate, we are proud to hold these records as the Top of Germany starting December of 2017.
What do you consider the greatest challenge that had to be overcome in this project?
KLAUS SCHANDA There were multiple challenges: The high location of the construction site, weather conditions at almost 3,000 meters above sea level, the exposed location of the construction site on the mountain and, of course, the subject of logistics were definitely among the greatest challenges. A host of technicians and companies work in a tight space up there on the mountain at the same time. The individual tasks must be timed to perfection. All of this had to be coordinated.
Despite all these challenges, you have been able to adhere to both your timetable and budget. An exceptional case when considering projects of this dimension?
KLAUS SCHANDA We have kept to our time schedule and cost schedule. That is a sign of good and realistic prior planning. We exclusively work together with experts. That’s the only way to execute a project of this kind. Accordingly, the planners, managers and the companies involved have many years of experience. As a result, the new Zugspitze Cable Car will begin operation in December of 2017 – as planned.
The Zugspitze currently gets around 500,000 visitors annually. The costs of the new alpine cable car up the Zugspitze are 50 million euros. You are aiming at a 10 percent increase in visitors – among others, because that is considered a kind of upper limit for the mountain’s ecosystem. Thus, the decision to build the new alpine cable car was not necessarily of a purely economic nature…
KLAUS SCHANDA That’s correct. It’s primarily about improving service for our guests. Due to the limited capacity of the old cable car, there were waiting times of up to two hours on very busy days. That will be a thing of the past with the new cable car. In addition, the old cable car, which, after all, was built in the 1960s, certainly did not meet contemporary standards in terms of comfort – especially not when considering the price range we are in.
What then, are the highlights of this new ropeway cable car? What advantages will it offer visitors? What can they expect during the ride and on the mountain?
KLAUS SCHANDA I would put it this way: A bright outlook, all around! Which I mean literally. Guests already have a direct view of the Eibsee lake and the Zugspitze from inside the bottom station. The visual experience is also the centre of focus during the ride. The sides of the two cable cars are made of glass down to the floor that is equipped with heating cables. This way, passengers will have an unobstructed view of the impressive scenery, even when the weather conditions are unfavourable. Up on top, guests can enjoy a magnificent 360° panoramic view of more than 400 Alpine peaks in four different countries. We will be opening a new restaurant on the summit in the summer of 2018. Another highlight to look forward to.
Ride up Germany’s highest mountain in comfort and style. In the new Zugspitze Cable Car. The ride in itself is absolutely amazing! We make it even better by offering tickets right at Staudacherhof. That way, standing in line at the cash desk will be a bygone. So relax and enjoy your Top of the World cable car ride to the Top of Germany.