Innovation FlemXpress: The world’s first gondola cab!

Graubünden

In Flims in the canton of Graubünden, cable car gondolas are now in operation that are unique in Switzerland and worldwide. The FlemXpress innovation is that these gondolas operate autonomously, but only on request and when needed. The ground-breaking FlemXpress system enables minimal disruption to nature during technological development.

The FlemXpress runs exclusively on demand, which significantly reduces empty runs and cuts energy consumption by 50 percent compared to conventional cable cars.

FlemXpress: the world's first gondola cab in Flims GR

FlemXpress: the world’s first gondola cab in Flims GR

On December 23, 2023, the first two sections of the FlemXpress gondola lift, namely Flims-Foppa and Foppa-Startgels, were officially put into operation. The remaining three sections – Startgels-Segnes, Segnes-Nagens Sura and Segnes-Cassons – will also be completed and ready for operation by the 2024/25 winter season.

Once the work has been completed, the FlemXpress will not only open up the UNESCO World Heritage Site Tectonic Arena Sardona, but will also make the area around Cassons accessible by train again.

From the 2024/25 winter season, the FlemXpress will operate all year round with all five sections. This decision underlines the commitment to the year-round tourism concept to which Flims Laax Falera has committed itself as a tourist destination.

FlemXpress gondola comes to a complete standstill when boarding

Each of the 120 cabins is equipped with two cell phone charging stations and a ventilation system that prevents the windows from misting up. Operation is planned throughout the year, and exterior lighting also enables journeys to be made at night. The cabins offer seating for ten passengers each and have a transport capacity of up to 1800 passengers per hour.

The innovative Ropetaxi technology is used, with transportation along the route being carried out by rope, as with conventional gondola lifts. In the stations, however, the cabins move autonomously on rails thanks to their own electric drive, as explained on the company website. There are no empty gondolas on the route.

A special feature is that boarding no longer takes place in a moving gondola, but the FlemXpress gondola is stationary when boarding. This reduces hecticness and is particularly beneficial for people with limited mobility.

How the ultra-modern FlemXpress gondola lift works:

FlemXpress destination input terminal

FlemXpress destination input terminal

Step 1:

Before setting off, the passenger selects the desired destination at the station by pressing a button on the destination column. The use of points allows flexible combinations of routes to be created, according to the description.

A gondola with the selected destination on the display then appears from the station circuit at the boarding point.

Step 2:

The artificial intelligence (AI) takes over the organization of boarding the appropriate gondola and ensures optimal capacity utilization. With the help of switches, the gondola is transported directly to its destination without any intermediate stops. The Flemexpress.ch website describes this as convenient, fast and uninterrupted.

Step 3:

Sensors monitor the number of people boarding to prevent overcrowding. It is important to note that the arrival destination cannot be changed once the gondola has taken off.

World record-breaking FlemXpress is a Swiss innovation

The innovative technology of the FlemXpress gondola lift was developed specifically by Weisse Arena Bergbahnen AG in Laax and Bartholet Maschinenbau AG in Flums. Movement along the route is traditionally by rope, while the cabins in the stations move autonomously on rails. This is made possible by a separate electric drive on each cabin. When the gondolas are not needed, they are not on the track on the rope, which leads to a considerable reduction in energy consumption. Thanks to this innovative technology, boarding the standing cabins is hassle-free and barrier-free. Simply select your destination at the touch of a button, board and enjoy the ride in the panoramic cabins.

Video The technology | Flem Xpress construction diary | Episode 02

What makes the Flem Xpress so unique? In this episode, we show you everything about the technology. The technology used was developed specifically for this project by the Weisse Arena Gruppe and Bartholet AG. The lift is operated fully automatically and on demand. As with all gondola lifts, travel on the track is still by cable. In the station, however, the cabins move autonomously on rails thanks to their own electric drive. If no gondolas are occupied, they are not on the track. Thanks to the innovative technology, boarding the stationary cabin with luggage or sports equipment is easy and completely barrier-free.

Die Technik | Flem Xpress Bautagebuch | Episode 02

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