November 22, 2014 was a momentous occasion for Doppelmayr Cable Car GmbH & Co KG (DCC): It was the day on which the biggest project in the company’s history officially opened for passenger service. This had been preceded by months of intensive testing, including a 30-day trial phase under real operating conditions. The result: > 98.0% availability during 20 hours of operation per day.
Initial efforts to connect Oakland International Airport and San Francisco to the local transit system (BART) go back as far as 1970. In 2009, DCC succeeded in winning the contract with a financially and technically impressive concept. This is the first automated people mover (APM) the company has installed as an airport link in pinched loop design.
DCC’s pinched loop system consists of double guideways on the line and single guideways in the terminals. The four trains can change sides via switch rails and are moved synchronously by four cable loops propelled from the mid station (Doolittle). In each station the train disconnects from the current haul rope and re-attaches to the next. This takes place when the rope is stationary and all the trains are stopped in the stations, each train being assigned to one rope.#
The very latest design of equipment such as switch rails and grips was used on this installation. The four air-conditioned walk-through trains – each consisting of three cars – are equipped with a cutting-edge infotainment system.
These new technologies, which were subjected to an extensive test program at an early stage (beginning in 2010) in order to guarantee their functionality and endurance, were a major factor contributing to the success of the project. Thanks to the convincing operation and maintenance concept, BART also awarded DCC the contract to operate the system for the next twenty years.