Gondolas take long journey to Glenwood

Staff Report

The eight gleaming gondolas for Glenwood Caverns’ Iron Mountain Tramway arrived in Grand Junction at the end of December after a journey halfway around the world.

The gondolas were manufactured in Switzerland by CWA, under the direction and contract with Leitner/POMA, a tram building company that has its North American headquarters in Grand Junction.

The gondolas traveled by ship to Houston and then by truck to the Leitner/POMA storage facility in Grand Junction.

Leitner/POMA officials plan to bring the gondolas to Glenwood Springs during the third week in January. At present, the company is installing and testing cables for the tram, which are suspended from towers.

Test runs for the gondolas are slated for around Jan. 21, and the tramway is expected to open to the public in the spring.

The six-passenger aluminum and glass gondolas are painted a dark red. The large side and top windows will allow passengers a full view of the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys as they ride up the face of Iron Mountain.

The 4,500-foot tramway ride will take seven minutes each way, carrying visitors from the Caverns base area in Two Rivers Plaza, on Devereux Road, to the mountaintop entrance to the caverns.

It replaces the hourly shuttle buses that took 20 minutes to negotiate the steep switchbacks of Transfer Trail, and will allow the caverns to stay open year around.

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