The list of major cities with urban cable car systems keeps growing: New York, Rio de Janeiro, La Paz… In France, around 20 projects are in the pipeline and the one nearest completion is located in Brest. So why cable cars? Thanks to their small physical and carbon footprints, they can be readily incorporated into the urban fabric, together with their ability to easily overcome obstacles and very low accident rate – all at a very low cost.
Brest’s new 420 metre-long cable car will cross the River Penfeld to link the Siam district to Capucins, a redeveloped neighbourhood that will soon have an additional 560 units of housing and 25,000m² of space for business and cultural activities. This will boost the attractiveness of the Right Bank of the river and expand the contours of the metropolitan area.
The designers opted for a reversible system with two suspension cables and two motor cables. Two 15m² cabins, manufactured by Swissbased BMF, were dispatched and installed at the site. They can each carry between 40 and 60 people. The cable car is expected to transport 675,000 passengers a year, with a maximum load of 1,200 passengers per hour in each direction.
Economical, ecological and safe, the cable car link appeared as the natural solution for bridging the Penfeld River. Moreover, thanks to a “super capacity” system, energy used in braking during descent can be stored and reused when the cable car is climbing. Brest cable car will be open for business in autumn 2016 and incorporated into the public transport network. All passengers may access it with a city-wide travel pass 365 days a year until one in the morning.
This solution was the brainchild of the SEM-TRAM consortium, comprising Brest Métropole Aménagement and Egis, which was appointed as contracting authority for this highly ambitious project in 2013. More specifically, Egis is in charge of technical aspects and project scheduling and planning. The construction work has been entrusted to a consortium of businesses headed up by Bouygues Construction.