Cape Town - Table Mountain Cableway invited some for a close behind the scenes look at this year’s annual maintenance.
The Cableway has been closed since Monday, 8 July and is set to re-open on Sunday, 18 August.
During the visit, members from the maintenance crew “walked the line” as they carried out a slack rope test, and various safety checks.
Technical Manager Emile Streicher provided insight into what work has been completed during this year’s shutdown period and Managing Director Wahida Parker was also on hand.
The six week shutdown sees Cableway’s internal technical staff working alongside riggers and equipment experts from Switzerland.
Streicher, said: “The heel and haul ropes that pull the cable car up and down the mountain have been replaced, and it was also mandatory to replace other load-bearing components.”
There was testing and replacement of the load-bearing components on the cabin, overhaul maintenance on the rotating floors and doors of the cabin car, and maintenance of the hydraulic and brake system.
“The cars require overhauls every six years because they carry load at high altitude. Similarly, the heel and haul ropes have a limited lifespan,” he said.
Streicher said the heel and haul ropes are 2.4km long and together weigh 10 tons, so a lot of manpower was needed to manoeuvre it. The biggest challenge this year was navigating the unpredictable winter weather.
The Cableway’s managing director, Wahida Parker, said: “Every six years the cabin is taken apart and the machinery is serviced and replaced. We also stress test our ropes, and this year replacement was required.”
Parker said the maintenance operation was complicated this year compared with its yearly two-week closure, when the cable car also gets a maintenance check-up.
The internal and local technical staff have been working with equipment experts from Switzerland, and 20 individuals were needed to get the task done. They will perform the final checks and clean up by this weekend."
Parker acknowledged the recent deaths on the mountain, and said they usually took place on the hiking trails.
“We are vigilant and care about people’s safety, therefore we want them to be aware that it is a mountain and can be dangerous. People must take proper care when ascending the mountain. We also commend our technical team, our support staff and all partners that contributed to making this a successful shutdown”
South Africans 18 years and older who celebrated birthdays within the closure period may redeem their complimentary Cableway ticket until August 18.