Table Mountain cableway to close for seven weeks for maintenance work

The Table Mountain cableway will be closed for maintenance. (Duncan Alfreds/News24)

The Table Mountain cableway will be closed for maintenance. (Duncan Alfreds/News24)

  • The Table Mountain cableway will be closed for seven weeks.
  • This is to allow the overhaul of parts of the cableway, including the track rope cable.
  • Various hiking routes and facilities will be affected by the closure.

It will take seven weeks to replace the 6km of track rope cable, which weighs 120 tonnes, that supports the Table Mountain cableway.

A team of nine Swiss engineers will support and supervise a local team as they overhaul the cableway to ensure it remains a safe tourist attraction.

Technical executive at Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company (TMACC), Andries de Vries, says all four of the 1.5 km-long track rope cables will be replaced in the first full cable replacement since the 1997 revamp.

A 1997 TMACC facilities upgrade saw the introduction of this Swiss-made cableway system, boasting two rotating cable cars, each of which can carry 65 passengers.

All The equipment is manufactured by the Swiss Doppelmayr Garaventa Group.

READ | More than 1.7 million tourists visited Table Mountain in two months – SANParks

TMACC will perform maintenance of the hanging and running gear.

The various pieces of equipment and components of the cableway each require their own unique routine inspection cadences and maintenance cycles, as recommended by the original equipment manufacturer.

SANParks says 109 443 people visited the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway. (Duncan Alfreds/News24)

“No detail is spared, and the engineers will inspect every minutia of the operating equipment, the cars, and all their component mechanisms. In addition to the cable replacement, all the hanging gear and running gear, will be subjected to a complete disassembly, followed by a comprehensive nuts-and-bolts overhaul,” said De Vries.

The cableway is expected to be closed between 15 July and 2 September.

All commercial and public outlets at both the upper and lower stations will remain closed to the public during the maintenance. This includes the shops, restaurants, and ablution facilities.

De Vries said:

To complete the extensive work, key tooling, such as winches – which are extremely large and heavy – must be flown up the mountain piecemeal, by heavy-lift helicopter, and then expertly assembled at the summit.

Over the coming weeks, throughout the build-up to the shutdown, Cape Town residents and tourists can expect early morning helicopter activity on and around the mountain, as equipment is flown to the top, De Vries said.

Ahead of the maintenance, TMACC started shipping in specialist equipment, supplies, and the necessary tooling from Switzerland, months in advance.

The team of nine Swiss engineers will be assisting the local crew with the maintenance work.

“This gives our local technicians a valuable chance to learn new skills and work alongside some of the world’s best cableway equipment specialists, thereby bolstering our local knowledge base and technical skills capacity. The practical experience TMACC engineering staff will get over these seven weeks is invaluable,” he said.

In addition, hiking pathways directly under the cableway will be closed due to overhead work. Other hiking routes will remain open for hikers.

“The key difference is that there will be no cable car trips to take you up or more importantly, bring you to the bottom. Thus, hikers should be mindful of changing weather conditions when embarking on a hike up Table Mountain, knowing that they would have to hike down,” De Vries warned.

Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) manager Megan Taplin said the affected trails included Kloof Corner, sections of the Contour Path, Old Platteklip routes, India Venster, and Fountain Ledge.

She reminded hikers to ensure they did not start hikes late, or in bad weather, as they would not be able to return via the cableway.

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