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Chamonix, France

Vallée Blanche Aerial Tramway Support

Unable to build support structures on glaciers, the engineers for this tramway were forced to design a unique system. 

The Vallee Blanche Aerial Tramway, which mainly runs above glaciers, connects Pointe Helbronner via Anglke Station Gros Rognon with Aiguille du Midi in the Mont Blanc area. As it is nearly impossible to build conventional tower-type suspension structures on glaciers, the designers were forced to come up with a new system.

The aerial tramway, which went into service in 1958 after four years of construction, has a unique support structure. It consists of two 315-meter-long ropes spun between the rocks of Large and Little Flambeau. The ropes for the suspension structure of the aerial tramway is mounted in the middle of this span, which runs at a steep diagonal as its two connection points differ in height by 135 meters.

The fixed track cables, one in each direction, carry 12 groups of three small cabins, which are pulled by a haulage rope in a single loop. The passengers are carried over a distance of more than three miles in a 30- to 35-minute trip. Nearly two miles of that trip are without support.

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