Behind the scenes

New rope for the Gotschnabahn cable car

Today marks a significant milestone for the Gotschnabahn cable car as it receives a brand-new track rope. This complex process involves pulling up the rope section by section to Gotschnaboden, situated at an impressive 2,293 meters above sea level. The awe-inspiring task of securing this 40-ton rope takes place at heights of up to 85 meters above the ground. Read on to follow the work around the rope change!

Davos Klosters Mountains logo in blue round button | © Davos Klosters Mountains
Davos Klosters Mountains
Stück für Stück wird das Seil von Klosters nach Gotschnaboden gezogen. | © Davos Klosters Mountains

Gotschnabahn rope hoist

Old pulls new – from Klosters to Gotschnaboden

At the Gotschnabahn valley station in Klosters, a remarkable sight awaits: a massive “bobbin” (reel) holding the new track rope for the Gotschnabahn cable car. The majority of the rope has already been unwound and is on its way up the mountain. Ingeniously, the old rope – connected to the new one using a “king connector” – now plays the crucial role of pulling the latter upwards. To ensure the heavy rope doesn’t touch the ground on its mountain climb, it is fastened to the second suspension rope (suspension rope B) using auxiliary connectors.

“The work involved in the rope hoist, including preparation and follow-up, is highly time-consuming and spans approximately two months,” explains Tschibi (Andrea Margadant), Gotschna’s technical manager. “Initially, we had to securely fasten the 44-ton reel holding the delivered rope at the bottom station in Klosters. Subsequently, the actual rope hoisting process commenced, which remarkably only takes three days to complete.”

Das neue Tragseil wird von der Bobine an der Talstation in Klosters abgewickelt und zum Gotschnaboden gezogen.  | © Davos Klosters Mountains
Die Bobine mit dem Tragseil für die Seilbahn steht an der Talstation Gotschna. | © Davos Klosters Mountains
Das neue Tragseil für die Gotschnabahn wird auf den Berg gezogen.  | © Davos Klosters Mountains
Blick auf die beiden Tragseile und das dünnere Zugseil der Gotschnabahn.  | © Davos Klosters Mountains

Milking the rope

Approximately 513 meters higher up, just below the Gotschnaboden mountain station, we encounter the opposite end of the new rope. The king connector, which links the old and new ropes, is clearly visible. The impressive process of pulling up the 2,180-meter-long rope has been underway for three days already. At this moment, only a few meters remain until it reaches the mountain station.

The process of pulling up the rope section by section, affectionately known as “milking,” involves using a specialised trolley called the milking machine. This small, lightweight trolley is attached to rope A. High above – 55 metres from the ground – two workers confidently resume their duties after a snack break, securely harnessed for safety. They manoeuvre the milking machine up to the last support, carefully fastening the rope with a clamp before pulling it up slightly. The trolley shuttles back and forth an impressive 28 times over several days until the rope finally reaches its destination at the top station. The task demands considerable time and attention, as the heavy rope must never be released. The steel rope weighs a substantial 18.1 kilograms per metre.

Zwei Arbeiter klettern auf dem Tragseil zur sogenannten Melkmaschine. | © Davos Klosters Mountains
Der Arbeiter steht auf der sogenannten Meklmaschine mit welcher das Seil schrittweise auf den Berg gezogen wird. | © Davos Klosters Mountains
Ropeway mechatronics technician during inspection | © Davos Klosters Mountains

Attaching it to the «boller»

200 meters of reserve

Despite nearing the completion of the rope change, there’s still a lot to be done. The new rope is pulled onto a large reel, known as the Boller, situated at the top station, and firmly secured there. For this crucial final pull, a nine-ton pulley block is used. Notably, the massive reel accommodates 200 meters of extra rope, serving a vital purpose every 12 years. The reserve becomes essential when the rope is moved 20 metres downhill during regular maintenance. This strategic relocation allows for thorough inspections and relief of heavily loaded areas. In the coming spring, this process will be carried out on the other three track ropes, which is set to be completed before the summer season. The teams from Davos Klosters Mountains and Inauen-Schätti AG are diligently working on the rope hoist and conducting meticulous inspections to guarantee safe and reliable cable car operations.

Arbeiter mit Helm stehen für ein Gruppenfoto in der Bergstation der Gotschnabahn zusammen.  | © Davos Klosters Mountains
We do most of the work with the help of machines. We have to deal with such enormous weights that we don't do much by hand any more.

Removal of the old rope

Back to the ground after 36 years

We continue to follow the rope to the top station, and as we arrive behind the station building, we are able to witness the process of removing the old rope. The rope is carefully rolled up from the opposite side and expertly cut off using a flame cutter. These segmented wire rolls, each weighing three tons, are now ready for transport. A truck takes the old rope, roll by roll, across bumpy terrain back down to the valley, where it will be properly disposed of. Surprisingly, the rope’s tenure has come to an end after 36 years – much sooner than expected. Typically, a suspension rope of this kind has a lifespan of 70 to 80 years. However, unforeseen damage detected on March 3 of this year forced the immediate suspension of all Gotschnabahn cable car operations. Regrettably, the suspension rope was beyond repair, and a new one had to be ordered from the reputable company Fatzer.

Blick über das Seil aus Stahl, welches zur Stütze führt.  | © Davos Klosters Mountains
Über den Boler an der Bergstation ist das alte Tragseil aufgewickelt.  | © Davos Klosters Mountains
An der Bergstation Gotschnaboden wird das Tragseil hinter dem Boler befestigt.  | © Davos Klosters Mountains

The new rope

Rope manufacturing at Fatzer

«Fatzer AG» in Romanshorn used more than 40 tons of steel in the making of a fully locked spiral rope (VVS) that now finds its purpose at the Gotschnabahn cable car. The process spanned five days, with the machines operating up to 16 hours daily. Let’s delve into the steps involved:

Core made of spiral ropes

First, the core wire of the fully locked spiral rope (VVS) gets fashioned from 3.1 mm thick round wires. These wires are securely clamped on a machine and then skillfully twisted in four layers to form a robust rope.

Z-profile wires for a smooth surface

Next, two layers of Z-profile wires follow the inner core of round wires. These wires interlock to create a seamless, closed rope surface. The use of fully locked coil ropes (VVS) is a standard for track ropes, as their thickness and even surface ensure a safe and smooth journey for cable car passengers.

Tear test passed

In the final stage, the 57-mm track rope is put through its paces during a tear test. It has to endure a tension of at least 3,380 kiloNewtons to meet the safety standards. One kiloNewton is approximately equivalent to 100 kilogrammes of weight. Once it successfully passes these rigorous tests, the rope is carefully rolled onto a reel for transportation.

Roll up!

85 tons of weight to tension the rope

Prior to the resumption of the Gotschnabahn cable car operations, the final task involves tensioning the rope. For this purpose, a hefty tensioning weight of 170 tons gets attached to the lower ends of the two track ropes using a connecting piece. Depending on the tension of the ropes, this concrete weight hangs slightly higher or lower. With the tensioning completed, the second cabin of the cable car is reconnected. This red cabin, bearing the name of the English king, gracefully glides on two track ropes, guided by a hauling rope. Following a comprehensive safety inspection conducted by the external company “Firma IWM”, the Gotschnabahn cable car is all set to recommence its operations. Let the summer season at Parsenn Klosters begin!

We are looking forward to your visit to the Parsenn Klosters area this summer. Whether you prefer mountain biking, climbing peaks or enjoying the mountain spring on the panorama trail: The Gotschnabahn cable car promises a safe and swift journey up the mountain to a breathtaking altitude of 2,285 meters above sea level.

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