Thursday, October 7, 2010

Roosevelt Island Tram Operational Tests Up And Running Across East River To Manhattan - Pictures From Every Conceivable Angle

Roosevelt Island Tram Above East River Image From Duc Le

While walking by the Roosevelt Island Tram Station today, I looked into the Station but did not see the Tram Cabin. Then I looked up but still did not see the Cabin on the ropes. I started to be concerned there might be some problem. Fortunately, I learned that the Tram was on the Manhattan side of the East River as it was undergoing operational tests. Great News on that!

Since the Tram has started running operational tests yesterday, readers have been sending in some great photos covering almost every conceivable angle.

Here's the Roosevelt Island Tram viewed from below,

from above,

looking towards Manhattan from Roosevelt Island,
and from the Queensboro Bridge.

Image From Jonathan Weinberg
Image From Jonathan Weinberg
Image From Jonathan Weinberg
Image From Jonathan Weinberg

Jonathan Weinberg writes:
I just happened to be biking over the bridge when I saw it going by and I stopped to snap some photos. I don't think they've put any guinea pigs on it yet. :)
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) issued the following press release:
The first of the two cabins on the Roosevelt Island Aerial Tramway was attached on the north track ropes on Tuesday, October 5th and system testing on that side can now begin. The Tram, undergoing modernization since March 2010, is projected as being in full operation in November 2010. The second cabin is expected to be attached in about two (2) weeks. According to RIOC President Leslie Torres, “Various milestones must be achieved before the Tram is commissioned for full operation by the New York State Department of Labor. The launch of the first cabin is a major milestone in this process.”

The Tram modernization contractor is POMA, SA of France, one of two companies world wide equipped to perform the “state of the art”overhaul. The cabin was attached to a double hanger arm on Tuesday. The double armed hanger is one of the important innovations of the new Tram system, providing for a more stable ride. The cabins of the previous system were suspended from a single armed hanger. The cabins can be operated independently on the north and south track ropes, another significant improvement over the old system. Each cabin has the capacity to carry 109 passengers and a cabin attendant. Cabin dimensions are 22 ft. 11.6 in. X 12 ft. 9.6 in. and each weighs 22,125 lbs empty and up to 41,525 lbs when fully loaded.

Originally opened in 1976, the Roosevelt Island Aerial Tramway System was in its 34th year of operation when it was closed in March for renovation. Its useful life expectancy had been predicted as17 years when originally installed. Having served ably for twice the expected time, it was well overdue for modernization. The Tram carries more than 2 million passengers a year and has been integrated into the MTA’s Metrocard system, so that Tram riders can transfer from and to City buses and subways.

The entire modernization project is expected to cost up to $25 million, $15 million of which was funded by the State of New York and $10 million with Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) funds. RIOC is the New York State Public Benefit Corporation which operates and develops Roosevelt Island, a community of about 12 thousand residents, developed pursuant to a 1968 General Development Plan between New York City and State, as part of the “new communities” initiative originating with federal Great Society programs. Three more high rise buildings and 2 new parks are expected to open in the next several years, completing the development plan. “The Tram modernization project anticipates increased capacity needs as the Island continues to grow,” according to Leslie Torres.
The first (North) Tram Cabin is expected to resume service in early November with the second (South) one a week to ten days later. Then, work will begin on Tram Station Improvements.