Would you like to see a cable car operating up High St?

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High Street vandalism

ej kerr: you seem to be saying that the Cable Car Trust must have considered the effects of traffic flows diverting to avoid the proposed moving road blocks. Their website shows that they have thought about this: under the headline "Potential Traffic Problems". They, however, wrongly see traffic diverting up nearby streets as a solution to the problem and don't acknowledge that this would create an additional problem for the residents of those streets who are unaccustomed to high volume traffic in their quiet neighbourhoods.

High Street carries about 4600 vehicles per day because that is its purpose; that is what we paid for and what most motorised travellers along High Street expect. For them this is the most suitable route. The deliberate creation of congestion on High Street amounts to vandalism, in my view.

The Cable Car Trust is very focused on achieving its vision, and they don't seem to care if their playthings cause problems to others.

Let there be no moaning on the High Road

Tui has genetic vocal memory of huia. We need a song collector before it's too late.

Signal Hill Cableway

If we just consider the tourist appeal of a cable car or cableway system. Why not have a cableway up to the Signal Hill Lookout leaving from the Stadium? There could be a restaurant up on Signal Hill as well.

Cape Town has a very lucrative cable car business running up to the top of Table Mountain. This could be a revenue gathering venture by the company running the Stadium. At least when we arrive at the top there would be a magnificent view and pleasant surroundings.

The Mornington shopping area is hardly a tourist destination. There could be a package deal for people attending events at the Stadium too. We have all these magnificent mountains/hills surrounding our city, but we don't utilise them as other cities do.

Relevant comments

I agree with all your comments, Autonomouse. I too would be concerned about the long-term viability of this route even though I applaud the sentiment to bring back some cablecar/tramway system. It would be a shame to see yet another project falter in this city.

Like Chch or Melbourne

A very good and useful route would be similar to Chch or Melbourne trams by going along their main route, in our case George St to the end, around the gardens then back down to the uni/museum and down to the new museum/Chinese gardens around to near Speight's and looping back around again to the Octagon, and that's plenty to do and see for all.

This is good for shoppers, uni students and tourists.

The Chch trams paid for themselves in 10 years.

ffolkes songs

On a day like this for tuis in upper High St, with no cable cars, just commuter congestion and low moans, "Singing in the rain" for unfit pedestrians.

Deemed desirable?

Well not to me. I wouldn't get a bus to town so its doubtful I would get a cable car either. Shops that provide car parking get my business or I buy over the internet. Everyone else misses out.

Well if you don't use it

Well, seeing as you guys don't like using High Street and prefer McClaggan then why should the bring back the cable car, you're absolutely right!! 

However, I dont like McClaggan Street, so I think it should go on High St. So there!   

Honestly people, what sort of argument is that.


I left my heart in San Francisco

There's only one thing TO do, ej kerr. Sing "where little cable cars reach halfway to the stars".

The Road to No-Where

Like the idea of a cable car, just don't see any point in it going to such a lacklustre destination (though appreciate the historical significance of such a destination). If anything, I'd like to see a Christchurch (pre earthquake of course) style tram that traverses back & forwards between the Oval and Botanical Garden via Princes and George Streets. Leave George Street open to cars still but get rid of casual parking (other than loading zones and the occassional 5m pick up & drop off point).

Such an initiative would actually be deemed desirable to both tourists and locals, as opposed to a tourism only/one off local visitation focus

End is nigh, shhh

The DCCT people haven't given a thought to effects on High St and surrounding roads, not for a second. San Francisco keeps it tightly under the lid that the cable car routes grind the city to an absolute halt each day. What to do?!

High St

Couldn't agree more, I use both Maclaggan and Stafford Streets.

And again, I don't want to take away the noise, the wood or any other historical part of the cable car. I'd only seek to replace at least one of the two men with some form of actuator.

High St is the place for it

I hate using High St and haven't used it for 20 years. I travel to Mornington weekly and will always get there via Mclaggan St. If it indeed manages to go ahead, other traffic can use this route also if they wish not to share with the cable car.

Cable Car Kaos

The dreamworld visions of the Cable Car Trust could turn into a transport nightmare for vehicles using High Street if these people get their way. Transforming High Street from a useful arterial road into an all-day traffic jam is a serious non-financial cost to the City. The degree of congestion for motorised traffic that would be caused by this scheme would normally justify spending millions of dollars of taxpayer/ratepayer money to remedy. Instead it is proposed to spend $22+ million to create congestion by building a cable car system. The disruption caused if this goes ahead is large scale vandalism in my view.

People who think this sounds like a good idea are probably unaware of the probable ongoing funding needed from the DCC and the disruption that would be inflicted on cars using High Street.

The cable car visionaries should understand that Dunedin is not an imaginary playground where they can put their toys where they want; it is a place where real people need to get to and from their real jobs using functioning roads. I don't mind if they build it, but just keep it well-away from any streets/roads/footpaths etc. Don't wreck the place - have some respect for your city and the way it has evolved and progressed over the years.

Cable cars

As one who rode the Kaikorai cable car from Highgate to the stop near King Edward Tech for 3 years I can tell you that cable cars are very very quiet. The cable noise alone was also very low. Our over-protective society would not now allow passengers to hang off the back of the cars like we did. 

Whizz Bang Cable Car

Having once been resident at Kelburn, I think MikeStk is on to it. A real cable car is made of wood, with seating on the outside, where passengers can leg it through tunnels. It judders, goes bang and a bell rings. Hot metal comes from hydraulic traction. The motorman can spray Old Spice (tm) around for the pine etc smell.

If a human can pull a lever

It's not that hard to make a hydraulic ram do the same thing. It's a shame you can't see how cool a marriage of modern technology and history could be.

It would just be another stadium

Another harebrained idea that in the end would require the ratepayers to prop it up.


I think that if you make it fully automatic you're just making a Disneyland ride, might as well just buy some of those faux motorised cable cars that ply the streets of San Francisco looking for tourists that can't be bothered waiting in the long lines for the real thing. I don't think it's a real cable car if it doesn't have the bangs and crashes, the smell of oil and hot metal and pine smoke and sweat of the real thing.

Inventing an automatic grip is going to be difficult too - things like chairlifts work by accelerating the chairs to cable speed then applying the grip with no relative motion, while a cable car needs to be able to slip the grip on the cable as it incrementally picks up energy to accelerate the car - I'm sure it's a learned art to do it smoothly.

I honestly don't think there's any practical energy to recover from such a system other than using downwards cars as counter weights for upwards ones, just like a lift, and you're already doing that and getting it for free - certainly not without an expensive amount of bespoke engineering - and especially not because you lose any energy gain from car braking.

There are couple of extra issues the city will have to consider - San Francisco has an ongoing problem with the noise that the cable makes, especially late at night - the people living next to it don't like it. It probably helps that High St doesn't have a lot of corners. Sharing the road is also an issue - will buses and cable cars be able to share High St?

Tourist attraction

It can still be both, commuter and tourist attraction. Hide the technology and the tourists will never know, or care for that matter. I know I wouldn't care whether it's a man with a big lever or a pneumatic switch locking it on to the cable.

Cable car

The cable car could still have ancillary power, for lights and so it could lock on to and disconnect from the cable without two men to run it, or any. It could be run by a guy in the control room. If that makes it a tram then so be it, but it would still be being pulled up the hill by a cable, not by turning its wheels on the track, like a tram.

Furthermore if it's connected to the constant speed cable on the way down the hill it becomes regenerative. None of that is hard to engineer, it's just up to the imagination to decide how good this could be. It's still a blank slate, and if cost is a factor technology makes things cheaper.

Cable Car

Gregglles - I have a better idea, and it is already built. I propose that High Street is left as it is, as a useful part of the City's transport infrastructure. Thanks to the DCC, High Street very effectively helps thousands of people each day to go about their business.

There were good reasons why the horse-and-cart was superseded by motorized transport; and there were good reasons why the cable cars were superseded by buses. These reasons are still valid today and would be obvious to any passenger at the bottom of High Street deciding between a bus and a cable car.

If the Cable Car Trust really believes that it will not need ratepayers' money, then it needs to tell prospective donors how it will fund its annual operating losses. The Trust Chairman has recognized this as a problem when he said (ODT 23/12/11) - "We are realistic in that it is not just a question of getting it built; it is a question of keeping it funded after it is built."

It would be a cruel trick to accept $22 million from well-intentioned organizations and individuals, and then have the trust go bankrupt after the first 6 months of operation because no one thought to check if the project was financially viable. [abridged]


If the cars are self-powered and brake against a static cable in the ground (or anything) I believe you are building a tram, not a cable car.

As I've said earlier in this discussion I do support this initiative, especially if it's built as a traditional cable car for tourist trade. I think Dunedin needs more tourist attractions, and we should build them before we build new hotels, not after - but I do definitely believe the city should not put any money into this project, the rugby stadium has come close to bankrupting us and the city has dig itself out of that hole before we spend up big on anything else.

Mostly though I've been at a loss as to how regenerative braking could work on a traditional cable car - frankly it's still a mystery.


...if you've got a better idea get if built. If you don't support a privately funded idea like this one then argue that the council mandate that it never gets public funds.
And, it doesn't need to be a replica. You can power the cars and you can make it brake on the cable. A modern engineered interpretation would of the the historical car would be awesome and still attract a few tourists and heaps of commuters including me.


Gregglles: sure you can possibly get some small amount of energy back if more cars are going down than up, or maybe just use a little less - but that's actually a much more difficult engineering thing to do than true regenerative braking, and honestly not much real difference from a bus going down the hill with the clutch pushed in.

The cable in a cable car system never brakes - it always runs at a fixed speed - cars hop on and off the cable when they need to move and brake (a bit like a high speed chair lift) - when they're braking they should not be not connected to the cable at all and have no way to return that energy to the system.

Electromagnetic braking

An electric engine does not run backwards when electromagnet braking. The current in the battery goes the other way, but that's because the engine is being turned by the motion of the vehicle, rather than the magnetic field.

What goes up must come down

It doesn't matter how you go about it, if you've got three cars going down the hill you're going to be electomagnetically braking the cable. If you've got three cars going up the hill then they'll turn around and go back down. That's regenerative. It's about energy, not balanced masses.


Gregglles: a cable car doesn't have a motor it can run backwards when it brakes - sure there is a motor driving the cable, but it's shared by all the cars, because they share the road with other traffic they need to be able to let go of the cable and brake independently of each other to avoid accidents.

A traditional cable car is going to be less efficient than a bus simply because it takes two people to operate - a gripman and a brakeman - imagine that you have to make hill starts by pulling a really tough lever with all your strength (rather than hitting the accelerator) while at the same time easing off on the handbrake - no power in the car so no vacuum assist here for braking etc. So for a traditional cable car, what I assume we're building to attract tourists, it takes two people to operate it.

To break even the usage rate will have to be higher than for buses - and only locals living within walking distance of the line will be using it regularly - the Exchange is sadly not the hub it used to be - I think this means it will live or die financially depending on whether it can get the tourists.


Such was once the legend on park benches, I've no idea what it meant. Just wanted to say your opening riposte is a model answer to the ad hominem.

Two things

1/ Tall poppy syndrome - if you've got a better idea get it built, don't whine about what someone else is doing.

2/ Regeneration - they're not building a replica. Besides anyway a cable car will be much more efficient than empty buses.