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 


the Path 

of an Aerial