Since 4 December 2021, the brand new Médran IV gondola has been ready for use. With an initial passenger flow of 3,200 people (final flow of 3,600) versus 1,800 with the previous installation, you can reach Les Ruinettes in no less than 6 minutes at a speed of 6 m/s. The Verbier gondola-station has been entirely renovated and user comfort largely improved.
Put in operation in 1984, the 6-person gondola between Verbier and Les Ruinettes needs to be renovated. In fact its technology and its flow of passengers no longer responds to the customers’ demands.
Therefore, during the summer season of 2021, a new 10-person D-Line gondola has been built. Téléverbier has chosen to partner up with Garaventa/Doppelmayr to build this new lift that offers double the passenger flow of what it used to be.
The gondola-stations of Verbier and Les Ruinettes have undergone multiple renovations to enhance the passenger flow and the experience of our clients. The gondolas began operations in December 2021.
The new lift covers the same route as the 1984 gondola which replaced the original one of 1950. Téléverbier will maintain the 1966 configuration of both gondola-lines running side-by-side from Verbier to Les Ruinettes. The lifts being parallel allows for a passenger flow of up to 4,400 people per hour at first, and later, up to 4,800 people per hour.
|Technical specifications||TCD10 Médran IV|
|Height difference||666,02 m|
|Inclined length||1'548,21 m|
|Number of vehicles||66 (initial) - 74 (final)|
|Operating speed||6 m/s|
|Travel time||6 minutes|
|Throughput||(initial) 3'200 - 3'600 persons/hour|
|Cable diameter||56 mm|
|Altitude of the driving station||2'202 m|
The project in detail
The construction of this lift is complicated, but it is important. Particularly, this is the case at the departure and arrival stations. Due to its architectural importance, part of the Médran gondola-station has been classified as a historic monument. A compromise has been reached with the state of Valais’ government to give the stations more of an industrial design, instead of a simple wooden coating.
In the Médran station, while no changes has been done to the ceiling itself, the floors have been modified to allow for better circulation of the gondolas. The access to the gondolas is on the same floor, however, it is now step free. A third pillar has been added to allow for more access space to the gondolas. The exterior south-western wall has been extended by 3.6 meters and received a new covering. The big concrete staircase have been replaced by two escalators and the elevator moved to facilitate the access from Verbier. These modifications enhance passenger flow and overall comfort.
The station of Les Ruinettes has also undergone a series of important changes. The old station now serve as a storage space for the71 gondolas plus the service vehicle. The new stationhas been built in the forefront of the old one. The slopes is now accessible through a pathway of approximately 60 meters that reaches the pre-existing entryway. The south-facing wall was extended by 1.85 meters and is of the same industrial style as the Médran station.
Téléverbier will use the opportunity of this construction work to do a bit of remodelling. The restrooms and their difficult access via a staircase are replaced by ones located in the old Attelas cablecar station.
The new lift borrows the same route as before, only it has been moved to the right by a few meters. This new line has 14 pylons (previously it was 16). The tallest one (pylon n°4) stands at 25.4 meters, resulting in a line much closer to the ground and closer to the Médran II line. This allows for a maximal 81.6% gradient at the level of the third pylon. The longest range of 240.27 meters is be between the seventh and eighth pylon.
Progress of the work
Construction of the new cable car is progressing well. As of 19 August, the station’s mechanics have been installed on new concrete pillars (valley station), and the new road in front of the building in Médran has been completed. The ground in front of the building is currently being excavated to allow the future cabins to circulate, and the foundations of the future escalators have been laid.
Regarding the mountain station (photo), the garage has been fully installed, as well as the mechanics.
On 20 and 23 August, the pylons for the new line will be installed. This stage promises to be an impressive spectacle, as it involves a Kamov helicopter – an imposing aircraft able to lift up to five tonnes!
The pylons for the new line have now been installed. This impressive feat was carried out with the help of a Kamov helicopter – an imposing aircraft able to lift up to five tonnes.
One pylon is made up of several tubes, and each section has to be flown in by helicopter. Once everything is assembled, the helicopter delivers the pylon head.
The cable will be run in mid-September.
See below for photos of the latest developments.
Mounting of the pylons
In recent weeks, a lot of work has been done on the Médran IV line.
The cables were pulled as of September 13. The cabins then arrived safely. After that, the tests using the emergency engine could be carried out, under the supervision of Garaventa employees. Currently, the cabins are covered to protect them from the construction site and possible bad weather.
The escalators have been installed at the lower station. This will increase the comfort of users and facilitate their access to the cabins!
Commissioning of the Barnes Line
Since 4 December 2021, the new Médran-Ruinettes cable car, now called "Barnes Line" due to a partnership with the real estate agency of the same name, has been in service and accessible to the public.
The new stations are modern and present large windows, and the development work at the bottom of the Médran slope has been successfully completed. From now on, skiers can directly access the boarding platform to go up to Les Ruinettes, or take a tunnel to go down towards Le Châble and Bruson.
With this new installation, Verbier 4Vallées wishes to modernize. The spacious gondolas with large windows allow you to contemplate the magnificent surrounding landscape of the Val de Bagnes. The stations have been rejuvenated. It is a pleasure to embark on this new lift, which offers a whole new level of comfort on the connection between Verbier and Les Ruinettes.
More information on this project and the progress of its construction with our CEO Laurent Vaucher and our Chief Operating Officer Lionel May.