Cable car repairs on track

The Table Mountain cable way is closed for maintenance.

This year’s annual maintenance shutdown of the cableway is proceeding as planned, says the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company.

“We shut down at the end of July and we anticipated it will be a five-week shutdown. We should reopen the cable way at the end of August,” said Wahida Parker, managing director for TMACC.

Every year during the shutdown, she said, they bring in engineers and riggers from Germany and Switzerland to assist their team with the maintenance.

The various tasks are done by teams of internal technical staff as well as technicians from the equipment manufacturers.

“This is an annual operation but due to lockdown we could not do the maintenance as we could not fly in engineers from Europe. Generally it’s a three-week shutdown but now it’s five weeks,” Ms Parker said.

To complete the necessary work properly and meet industry safety requirements, she added, an extensive and all-encompassing shutdown was necessary.

“The guys work ridiculous hours by any normal standards. They are working through the rain, the wet weather does not deter them and they are doing as much as possible to stick to the schedule.

“There is a team that sleeps on top of the mountain to ensure that work is being done on the top and lower stations of the cableway,” she said.

While the cable car is closed, hikers and mountain climbers are invited to ascend to the summit of the mountain, and there is also a virtual reality device that visitors can make use of.

“Besides hiking, visitors can also make use of the VR experience to know what it’s like to ascend the mountain in the cable car right here at the lower base. You can buy a ticket for the VR goggles and you can get that experience” she said.

The following tasks will now be undertaken on the cableway:

  • Shifting the track-ropes on Cabin 1’s side (Eastern side)
  • Replacing wood for the track-ropes on Cabin 1
  • Overhauling and testing the slack carriers for cabin 1
  • Performing non-destructive testing on all steelwire ropes with German company Rotec
  • Performing non-destructive testing on critical load-bearing components
  • Shortening the heel-rope
  • Performing safety critical tests for the emergency brakes

“The focus for this year is on the track-ropes which carry the majority of the weight of the cable cars, along with the brackets from which the cabins are suspended,” said Emile Streicher, TMACC’s executive manager of technical.

“Servicing is done according to a service schedule which is time, usage, and condition-based. Many of the specified service intervals are more than six years and servicing tasks usually differ from year to year,” Mr Streicher said.

These guys endure all weather conditions while working on a cable.