n 2011, the German Federal Horticulture Show
(Bundesgartenschau, or BUGA) was held in Koblenz at
the convergence of the Rhine and Mosel rivers. Cover-
ing gardening and horticulture, landscape architecture,
landscaping and plant breeding, the show is held in vari-
ous German cities every two years, with an International
Garden Show (IGA) every ten years. Held over a period of
several months, these shows attract millions of visitors.
The Koblenz show was situated in three core areas: two
on the western side of the Rhine, in Koblenz and at nearby
Deutsches Eck (German Corner) where the two rivers
converge; and the third on the plateau above the eastern
bank of the Rhine, at the Fortress Ehrenbreitstein. The
show visitors would need to be moved from the west bank
across the river to the plateau (and back) in an efficient,
user-friendly way and with low environmental impact.
Cable Car Across the Rhine
The Koblenz city authorities and the BUGA company
decided the best solution was to construct a aerial cable
car system across the Rhine. The contract was awarded to
Austrian company Doppelmayr Cable Car GmbH & Co KG,
an internationally recognized leader in cable car systems.
The new three-cable technology used in Koblenz had
at that time only been adopted three times worldwide.
Capable of carrying up to 7,600 passengers per hour, the
system has the highest transport capacity of any aerial lift
in the world.
The cableway traverses a distance of 890 m (2,920 ft) across
the Rhine and spans a height difference of 112 m (367 ft).
The 18 gondolas can each carry up to 35 people and are
readily accessible for baby buggies, wheelchairs and bi-
cycles; panoramic windows provide a 360-degree view of
the dramatic scenery. Since the Horticultural Show closed,
the cableway has been used for public transportation.
The Koblenz Rheinseilbahn (literally, Rhein cable railway)
cableway is located in the “World Heritage Upper Middle
Rhine Valley” cultural landscape, which has been included
in the list of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage sites since
2002. Because of UNESCO’s landscape requirements, the
cableway system was initially scheduled to be removed
in 2013. But in June 2013, the World Heritage committee
decided that operation could be extended until 2026
without prejudicing World Heritage status for the Upper
Middle Rhine Valley.
Annual Inspections Required
An annual inspection is performed by the Technischer
Überwachungsverein (Technical Inspection Association
or TÜV) safety standards authority in order to maintain
operating approval. Additionally, the water and shipping
authority requires annual information regarding the
transit path of the cableway above the water surface.
With changing water levels, it is essential that there is a
safe clearance between the gondolas and container ships,
which are carrying increasingly high loads.
Initially, the transit path was determined using a tachym-
eter and a prism hanging out of a gondola door, but
direct tracking proved difficult. Dipl. Ing (FH) Manfred
Frickel from the Koblenz Survey and Land Manage-
ment department worked with Alexander Mandt from
of an Aerial