Cable splicer gets tramway one step closer to completion | PostIndependent.com
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Cable splicer gets tramway one step closer to completion

It took just under six hours to turn an 8,400-foot steel snake into a continuous loop Monday morning, when crews spliced together one end of the Iron Mountain Tramway’s cable to the other. The cable, or haul rope as it’s called, was joined together by R.J. Knight, a tram cable splice expert from Missouri, who worked his magic at the base of the Glenwood Caverns’ tramway terminal just off Highway 6 & 24. The gondola tramway will haul passengers up and down Iron Mountain to visit the Glenwood Caverns and Adventure Park. It’s being built by Leitner/Poma of Grand Junction.The tram’s haul rope is made of steel and is 42 millimeters thick – about as big around as a human arm. It’s composed of six smaller cables wound around each other. Each of those six cables is made of 19 smaller steel strands.Each of the six cables of the haul rope had to be unwound on both ends and held by workers. Then Knight cut out a section of the haul rope’s plastic core at the splice about a foot in each direction. He then inserted a heated “polyurethane hot-dog,” according to Ray Beale of Leitner/Poma, making two seamless connections at each end of the cable, then began splicing each of the cables together to form a seamless link.”One down, five to go,” Knight said, when the first of the six cables was spliced. Chuck Peterson, co-owner of the tramway with Steve and Jeanne Beckley, said when Knight was through with the splice, workers painted the haul rope white at the spot the two ends were brought together.”We do that so we can find that point,” Peterson said. “Otherwise, good luck. J.K.’s work is so seamless you’d have a hard time finding it.”Dean Warren is the installation manager from Leitner/Poma of Grand Junction. He said the haul rope is tensioned to 35,000 pounds of pressure, which will drive the tram’s bullwheel when it transports the tram’s eight gondola cabins. Peterson said Installation of at least two of those cabins is expected by next week. The tramway is now one step closer to its state acceptance test, set for March 4. Leitner/Poma is a world leader in cable transportation systems – including ski lifts, fixed and detachable chairlifts, gondolas, aerial tramways, skyrides and urban transportation. More than 6,000 systems, installed in 54 countries, transport 8 million passengers an hour. Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518cclick@postindependent.com


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