Ultimate skiing and beautiful summers...
Funicular in Brief
Transports people from Val Claret to the Grande Motte
Overall distance travelled 3484 metres
Overall height travelled 932 metres
Speed up to 12 metres per second
Carries up to 2500 people per hour
Journey time 6 – 8 minutes
For 300 days per annum the Tignes Val Claret funicular transports its passengers to the Grande Motte covering the distance from 2100 to 3032 metres in an impressive time of between 6 to 8 minutes. The idea was the brain child of Bernard Genevray the then President of the STGM lift company in 1980. He could see the advantages of an all weather transport system to move passengers up to the Grande Motte en masse over the current two existing cable cars and after the Compagnes des Alpes became the majority share holder, the project completed its feasibility studies in 1988. The works started in July 1989 was planned for completion to coincide with the Albertville Winter Olympics of 1992, however, with the best intent and a few geological surprises along the way the project was not completed until April 1993, much to the joy of those skiing late in the season.
The principal of the funicular is very simple. There are two trains connected by cable travelling up and down the 3484 metres shaft at the same time, both being on the same track except for where they pass in the middle. The weight of the down travelling train obviously assists in the motion of that travelling up and is therefore a most efficient use of electricity. The trains operate 3 off 800 kw motors and if required can operate on just one.
Obviously safety is paramount in the design and as such a walk way was included over the entire length with an emergency exit 2/3 of the way up. The safety features as standard are fire detection apparatus, fire extinguishers for passengers and driver and complete insulation of all the high voltage cables used to power the trains. Numbers of passengers are restricted to 280.
What are the advantages?
• It can carry 2500 passengers per hour
• Unspoilt views of the mountains and the current views will remain as the 50 old pylons have been removed.
• Carries the essential supplies to and from the Panoramic Restaurant instead of up the mountain side.
• Reduced journey time to the Grande Motte.
• Bottom station built into the mountain to reduce impact on the view.
The funicular is undergoing an 4 year major inspection programme that is required to be carried out every 15 years. This involves completely dismantling the carriages, checking wheels and x-raying the cables. Ever though this is very time consuming everything is checked underlying the commitment to safety and the longevity of life for the funicular.