Ober Gatlinburg officials announced April 18, 2007 that the switch out of cars in the $1 million project will take place during its annual preventive maintenance period scheduled the last week of April and the first week of May.
The cars were purchased through Doppelmayr CTEC, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. Designed, engineered and constructed by CWA Constructions in Olten, Switzerland, the new tram cars and carrier arms are made of a high grade aluminum alloy, the same used in the aerospace industry. CWA is the largest manufacturer of ropeway cabins and gondolas in the world. Construction of the cars and carriers began in November and was completed in mid-March.
The dimensions of the new vehicles are identical to the cars they are replacing, allowing Ober Gatlinburg to use the existing loading docks and towers, though the new trams offer 15 percent more glass viewing area.
The original tram cars have been in service for nearly 34 years. Up until 1972, skiers wound their way slowly and precariously up and down snow-covered Mt. Harrison en route to Gatlinburg's ski resort, which opened in 1962. That winter, the idea to provide a safer, more comfortable means to reach the ski area was explored, and Gatlinburg's Aerial Tramway was born. Construction of the tramway started in September of 1972 and the tramway began operation on August 5, 1973. On August 5, 2007 the Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway will celebrate its 34th anniversary.... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.