Title:
Cableway system having transport devices that can be coupled to a conveying cable
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cableway system has a valley station and at least one mountain station. A conveying cable is guided over deflecting pulleys in the stations. Transport devices in the form of chairs and cablecars are uncoupled from the conveying cable in the stations and moved through the stations along guide rails, where passengers board them or disembark. On exiting the station, the transport devices are once more coupled to the conveying cable. At least two diverters are provided along the course of the guide rails and along which the lift chairs are moved through a first boarding and disembarking region and the cablecar gondolas are moved through a second boarding and disembarking region. The chairs are for passengers with skis attached and the cablecars are for is passengers without any skis attached. The chairs are moved through the first boarding and disembarking region at twice or more the speed of the cablecars moving through the second boarding and disembarking region.



Inventors:
Gabriel, Gerhard (Schwarzach, AT)
Application Number:
11/701715
Publication Date:
11/01/2007
Filing Date:
02/02/2007
Assignee:
Innova Patent GmbH
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B61B12/02
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
KUHFUSS, ZACHARY L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LERNER GREENBERG STEMER LLP (HOLLYWOOD, FL, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A cableway system, comprising: terminal stations including a valley station and at least one mountain station, said stations having a first boarding and disembarking region and a second boarding and disembarking region; a conveying cable extending between said stations and being guided over deflecting pulleys in said stations; transport devices configured to be uncoupled from said conveying cable in said stations, to be moved through said stations and to be coupled to said conveying cable after having traversed said station, said transport devices including first transport devices and second transport devices; guide rails disposed in said stations for defining a movement of said transport devices through said stations, and two diverters disposed along a course of said guide rails, said guide rails being disposed to guide said first transport devices through said first boarding and disembarking region and to guide said second transport devices through said second boarding and disembarking region, with a movement path of said second transport devices traversing said first boarding and disembarking region; said first transport devices being lift chairs for passengers with skis attached and said second transport devices being cablecars for passengers without skis attached; and wherein the cableway system is configured to move said chairs through said first boarding and disembarking region at a conveying speed at least double a speed of said cablecars moving through said second boarding and disembarking region.

2. The cableway system according to claim 1, which further comprises: first decelerating wheels disposed in an entry region of a respective said station and configured to reduce a speed of said transport devices entering said station; second decelerating wheels disposed downstream of said first diverter, along a movement path of said cablecars, said second decelerating wheels being configured to reduce a speed of said cablecars to the speed at which the cablecars are moved through said second boarding and disembarking region; first accelerating wheels disposed in a region of said second diverter, for accelerating said cablecars to a speed of said chairs; and second accelerating wheels disposed downstream of said second diverter, said second accelerating wheels being configured to accelerate said transport devices to a speed sufficient for coupling to said conveying cable.

3. The cableway system according to claim 2, which comprises a plurality of further groups of deceleration wheels, conveying wheels, and accelerating wheels disposed along the movement path of said chairs.

4. The cableway system according to claim 1, which comprises a first sensor disposed in an entry region of said valley station and configured to control access barriers for said first boarding region by way of said chairs arriving into said valley station.

5. The cableway system according to claim 4, which comprises a second sensor disposed along the movement path of said transport devices and configured to control said first diverter.

6. The cableway system according to claim 1, which comprises control rails disposed along the movement paths of said transport devices and configured to control closure bars on said chairs and doors of said cablecars.

7. The cableway system according to claim 1, which comprises sensors disposed along the movement paths of said chairs and of said cablecars and configured to control said second diverter.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the priority, under 35 U.S.C. ยง 119, of Austrian application A 703/2006, filed Apr. 26, 2006; the prior application is herewith incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a cableway system having a valley station and having at least one mountain station. A conveying cable which is guided over deflecting pulleys in the stations, at least one of the deflecting pulleys being driven, hauls transport devices between the stations. The transport devices are uncoupled from the conveying cable in the stations, are moved through the stations along guide rails, where passengers board them or disembark. After traversing the station, the transport devices are once more coupled to the conveying cable. The system includes two diverters which are provided along the course of the guide rails and along which first transport devices are moved through a first boarding and disembarking region and second transport devices are moved through a second boarding and disembarking region, the first boarding and disembarking region being located within the movement path of the second transport devices.

Conventional cableway systems are designed with chairs or with cablecars which can be uncoupled from the conveying cable in the stations. The chairs or cablecars are guided along guide rails, in the stations, through boarding and disembarking regions, in which passengers board them or disembark.

Cableway systems with chairs are provided with barriers through which the skiers pass in order to reach the boarding region, whereupon they ski into the movement path of the chairs at a speed which is lower than the conveying speed of the chairs. The speed of the chairs in that case is approximately 1.0 m/sec to 1.2 m/sec. As the chairs approach the skiers from behind, the skiers seat themselves on the chairs. The chairs are then accelerated, whereupon they are coupled to the conveying cable again.

In the case of cableway systems with cablecars or gondolas, the cablecars are moved through the boarding and disembarking regions at a speed of approximately 0.25 m/sec, passengers who do not have any skis attached disembarking from the cablecars or boarding them in these regions.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,873,310 and its corresponding EP 0814992 B1 and WO 96/29223 disclose a cableway system with lift chairs. Diverters are provided in the guide rail for the chairs in the stations, so that the chairs are guided through two separate boarding and disembarking regions, in which the skiers seat themselves on the chairs. This increases the conveying capacity of the cableway system.

Commonly assigned U.S. Pat. No. 6,729,241 B2 and its corresponding EP 1 424 257 B1, furthermore, disclose a cableway system which is provided both with chairs for skiers with skis attached and with cablecars for passengers without any skis attached. The chairs and the cablecars being coupled to the conveying cable in any desired sequence. In this case, on the one hand, passengers with skis attached, who use the chairs, and, on the other hand, passengers who do not have any skis attached are provided with two separate boarding and disembarking regions for boarding, or disembarking from, the chairs and the cablecars, respectively. All the transport devices here are moved through a first boarding and disembarking region, which is located along the movement path of the transport devices and is intended only for passengers who do not have any skis attached, at a low enough speed for the passengers to be able to disembark from, and board, the cablecars. The movement of all the transport devices through the stations is then increased to the speed at which the chairs are moved through the second boarding and disembarking region for the skiers, who have skis attached.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is accordingly an object of the invention to provide a cableway system with transport devices of various kinds that can be decoupled from a conveying cable which overcomes the above-mentioned disadvantages of the heretofore-known devices and methods of this general type and which is equipped both with chairs and with cablecars and can increase the conveying capacity in relation to known cableway systems of this type.

With the foregoing and other objects in view there is provided, in accordance with the invention, a cableway system, comprising:

terminal stations including a valley station and at least one mountain station, the stations having a first boarding and disembarking region and a second boarding and disembarking region;

a conveying cable extending between the stations and being guided over deflecting pulleys in the stations;

transport devices configured to be uncoupled from the conveying cable in the stations, to be moved through the stations and to be coupled to the conveying cable after having traversed the station, the transport devices including first transport devices and second transport devices;

guide rails disposed in the stations for defining a movement of the transport devices through the stations, and two diverters disposed along a course of the guide rails, the guide rails being disposed to guide the first transport devices through the first boarding and disembarking region and to guide the second transport devices through the second boarding and disembarking region, with a movement path of the second transport devices traversing the first boarding and disembarking region;

the first transport devices being lift chairs for passengers with skis attached and the second transport devices being cablecars for passengers without skis attached; and

wherein the cableway system is configured to move the chairs through the first boarding and disembarking region at a conveying speed at least double a speed of the cablecars moving through the second boarding and disembarking region.

In other words, the objects of the invention are achieved in that the first transport devices are formed by chairs for passengers with skis attached and the second transport devices are formed by cablecars for passengers without any skis attached, and in that, furthermore, the chairs are moved through the first boarding and disembarking region at at least double the speed of the cablecars moving through the second boarding and disembarking region.

In accordance with an added feature of the invention, the cableway system further comprises:

first decelerating wheels disposed in an entry region of a respective the station and configured to reduce a speed of the transport devices entering the station;

second decelerating wheels disposed downstream of the first diverter, along a movement path of the cablecars, the second decelerating wheels being configured to reduce a speed of the cablecars to the speed at which the cablecars are moved through the second boarding and disembarking region;

first accelerating wheels disposed in a region of the second diverter, for accelerating the cablecars to a speed of the chairs; and

second accelerating wheels disposed downstream of the second diverter, the second accelerating wheels being configured to accelerate the transport devices to a speed sufficient for coupling to the conveying cable.

In other words, first decelerating wheels are preferably provided in the entry region of the stations, these wheels reducing the speed of the incoming transport devices, and, furthermore, second decelerating wheels are provided downstream of the first diverter, along the movement path of the cablecars, these wheels reducing the speed of the cablecars to the speed at which the cablecars are moved through the second boarding and disembarking region, first accelerating wheels are then provided, these wheels accelerating the cablecars to the speed of the chairs in the region of the second diverter, and second accelerating wheels are provided downstream of the second diverter, these wheels accelerating the transport devices to the speed at which they are coupled to the conveying cable again. Further groups of decelerating wheels, conveying wheels and accelerating wheels are preferably provided along the movement path of the chairs.

According to a preferred exemplary embodiment, a first sensor is provided in the entry region of the valley station and, by way of the incoming chairs, can control access barriers for the first boarding region, a second sensor is provided along the movement path of the transport devices and can control the first diverter, control rails are provided along the movement paths of the transport devices and can control the closure bars of the chairs and the doors of the cablecars, and further sensors are provided along the movement paths of the chairs and of the cablecars and can control the second diverter.

Other features which are considered as characteristic for the invention are set forth in the appended claims.

Although the invention is illustrated and described herein as embodied in cableway system having transport devices which can be coupled to a conveying cable, it is nevertheless not intended to be limited to the details shown, since various modifications and structural changes may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention and within the scope and range of equivalents of the claims.

The construction and method of operation of the invention, however, together with additional objects and advantages thereof will be best understood from the following description of specific embodiments when read in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1, 1A and 1B show, in plan view, the valley station of a cableway system according to the invention in three different operating positions;

FIGS. 2, 2A and 2B show, in plan view, the mountain station of a cableway system according to the invention in three different operating positions; and

FIG. 3 is a side view of the valley station of FIG. 1.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to the figures of the drawing in detail and first, particularly, to FIGS. 1, 1A, and 1B thereof, the cableway-system valley station has a first boarding region 1, for passengers who have their skis attached, and a second boarding and disembarking region 2, for skiers who do not have any skis attached. The supporting and conveying cable 3 of the cableway system is guided over a deflecting drum 30 in the valley station. On the one hand chairs 31, which are provided for use by skiers, and on the other hand cablecars or gondolas 32, which are provided for use by passengers who do not have any skis attached, are coupled in any desired sequence to the supporting and conveying cable 3.

The chairs 31 and cablecars 32 entering into the valley station, after having been uncoupled from the supporting and conveying cable 3, are moved along a guide rail 4. The chairs 31 are moved to a guide rail 41 which is guided through the first boarding region 1, for picking up the passengers who have skis attached. A first diverter 40 is located along the movement path of the guide rail 4 and is adjoined by a guide rail 42 which is guided through the second boarding and disembarking region 2, for the passengers without skis attached. In the region of the exit from the cableway station, the guide rails 41 and 42 merge, via a second diverter 43, into a guide rail 4a, which is common to both types of transport devices 31 and 32. The boarding region 1, for the skiers with skis attached, is assigned barriers 11.

A first sensor 51 is also provided in the entry region, this sensor establishing whether the incoming transport devices is a chair 31 or a cablecar 32. If a chair 31 is detected, the sensor 51 opens the access barriers 11, as a result of which the skiers can ski into the boarding region 1. Also provided further along the movement path of the chairs 31 is a first control rail 61, by way of which the closure bars of the chairs 31 are opened. A second sensor 52 is also provided along the movement path of the transport devices 31 and 32, upstream of the first diverter 40, the second sensor controlling the first diverter 40 in dependence on the type of transport devices. The guide rail 41 for the chairs 31 is also assigned a third sensor 53, which controls the second diverter 43, and a third control rail 63, which closes the closure bars of the chairs 31. The guide rail 42 is assigned a second control rail 62, which opens the doors of the cablecars 32, and also a fourth control rail 64, which closes the doors of the cablecars 32, a fourth sensor 54, which controls the second diverter 43, and a fifth sensor 55, which checks that the doors are closed.

Chairs 31 and cablecars 32 coming into the valley station are uncoupled from the supporting and conveying cable 3 and moved along the guide rail 4, their speed being decelerated to approximately 1 m/sec to 1.2 m/sec by means of decelerating wheels assigned to the guide rail 4.

If the first sensor 51 establishes that a chair 31 is approaching, the sensor 51 opens the access barriers 11 for the skiers. The second sensor 52 then adjusts the first diverter 40 into the position in which this chair 31 is moved, along the guide rail 41, through the boarding region 1, for the passengers with skis attached. In this boarding region 1, the skiers who have passed through the barriers 11 sit on the relevant chair 31. The chairs 31 pass through this boarding region 1 at a speed of approximately 1 m/sec to 1.2 m/sec. The chair 31 then passes via the second diverter 43, which is controlled by the third sensor 53, onto the guide rail 4a. The closure bars of the chairs 31 are closed by the third control rail 63.

If the second sensor 52 establishes that a cablecar 32 is approaching, the first diverter 40 is changed over such that this cablecar 32 is moved along the guide rail 42 through the second boarding and disembarking region 2, the second control rail 62 opening the doors of this cablecar 32. This guide rail 42 is assigned further decelerating wheels, which decelerate the relevant cablecar 32 to a speed of approximately 0.25 m/sec. This cablecar 32 is moved through the boarding and disembarking region 2 at this speed, passengers who do not have any skis attached disembarking from, or boarding, the cablecar in this region. Further along the movement path, the guide rail 42 is assigned accelerating wheels, which accelerate this cablecar 32 to a speed of approximately 1 m/sec to 1.2 m/sec. The cablecar 32 is moved to the guide rail 4a, via the second diverter 43, at this speed. The fourth control rail 64 closes the cablecar doors, and the sensor 54 controls the second diverter 43 for conveying the cablecars 32 to the guide rail 4a.

The second guide rail 4a is assigned further accelerating wheels, which accelerate all the transport devices 31 and 32 to the speed of the supporting and conveying cable 3, whereupon the transport devices are coupled to this cable again.

Since respectively separate movement paths through the boarding region 1, for the passengers with skis attached, and through the boarding and disembarking region 2, for passengers without any skis attached, are thus provided in the valley station for the chairs 31, on the one hand, and the cablecars 32, on the other hand, the chairs 31 can be moved through the station at a considerably greater speed than the cablecars 32, the conveying capacity of the cableway being increased as a result.

FIGS. 1A and 1B illustrate different operating positions of the chairs 31 and cablecars 32 located in the valley station.

FIGS. 2, 2A and 2B illustrate a mountain station, which is constructed in largely the same way as the valley station. The primary difference is that the chairs 31 are moved through a disembarking region 1a, from which the skiers ski away from the cableway system via a ramp 1b. It should be understood, of course, that the system is entirely capable of transporting persons and goods in the opposite direction, namely, from the mountain station to the valley station or through intermediate mountain stations. The embarking and disembarking regions of the cableway system are thereby used for a purpose that is opposite the prevailing transport direction.

FIG. 3 shows, in addition, the first decelerating wheels 71, which are assigned to the guide rail 4, and the second decelerating wheels 72, which are assigned to the guide rail 42, as well as the conveying wheels 73 by way of which the cablecars 32 are moved through the boarding and disembarking region for the passengers who do not have any skis attached.