Africa

First cable car to connect countries

Setting a transport precedent, a new cable car line will connect the cities of Heihe in China and Blagoveshchensk in Russia, allowing people to cross in a matter of minutes.

Comprising two lines and four cabins – each with a capacity of 60 passengers and extra space for luggage – the journey time will be approximately 7 min 30 sec, while the actual travel time in the cable car will be 3 min 30 sec.

Following the success of establishing two cable car lines in Sweden and the Netherlands, an international architecture design company called UNStudio recently received the top prize in a design competition for conceptualising a cable car that could connect Heihe and Blagoveshchensk. 

UNStudio co-founder and principal architect Ben van Berkel says, ‘Cable car systems provide a new form of public transport that is sustainable, extremely fast, reliable and efficient. Although primarily a pragmatic solution, cable cars are also a very congenial way to travel as they enable us to see and experience our cities in a whole new way.’

According to the Amsterdam-based company, the location of the terminal curates the visual relationship between Blagoveshchensk and Heihe, first by creating an elevated viewing platform over the natural border of the Amur River towards Heihe, and second by framing the view from the arrival platform of the cable car back towards the city of Blagoveshchensk.

The Amur River, which freezes in the winter, limits access between the cities, and so merges utility and signifies cultural fusion through design.

Recently, the friendly rapport between China and Russia has spawned the development of another transnational infrastructure too – such as the new 2,000-kilometre ‘Silk Road’ trade route connecting Europe and China via Russia.

Visualisations by PYXID

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