| Home | Ropeways | 2024-07-03

Doppelmayr: Penang Hill Cable Car celebrates groundbreaking

Doppelmayr provides modern ropeway technology to famous tourist destination in Malaysia

Penang Hill, one of the most iconic and historical tourist attractions of Malaysia, will add a new Doppelmayr ropeway as a sustainable and comfortable means of transport for their visitors. The modern gondola lift meets mobility, environmental and socioeconomic requirements and promises to elevate the tourist experience for the region. The groundbreaking ceremony was celebrated on June 29, 2024.

The exceptional landscape, breath-taking views and unique flora and fauna attract many visitors to Penang Hill each year. On June 29, 2024, the groundbreaking of a new attraction, Penang Hill Cable Car, took place. The prestigious ropeway project has been awarded to Hartasuma Sdn Bhd, a leading Malaysian pioneer in the local rail industry through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) on a Design, Finance, Build, Operate, and Transfer basis. They are partnering with Doppelmayr, who will be providing the ropeway technology. The Austrian company is experienced in building their solutions in various challenging locations, including 86 ropeways located in UNESCO Heritage, Geopark, and Biosphere sites as well as National Parks of various countries around the world. The Penang Hill Biosphere Reserve was designated under the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme and now features not only the timeless forests of Penang Hill but also encompasses the State’s Forest Reserves, the historic Penang Botanic Gardens, Penang National Park, and coastal and marine ecosystems. The Penang Hill Cable Car is planned to be completed by 2026.

“Penang Hill is not only a natural treasure, but also a vital green lung for our state. This cable car project is a transformative project that exemplifies our commitment to responsible tourism that balances infrastructure modernisation with respect for the environment – an essential stance to preserve the economic value of Penang Hill. This will also provide a much-needed boost for the Penang Botanic Gardens as a destination", said YAB Tuan Chow Kon Yeow, Chief Minister of Penang during the groundbreaking celebration.

Improving mobility

The ropeway takes a crucial part in improving the mobility at Penang Hill, especially in peak times. The 2.7 km long D-Line gondola lift will be located mainly in the transition area of the Penang Hill Biosphere Reserve, starting close to the Penang Botanic Gardens. It takes its passengers up to the about 720 m high top station, passing by an intermediate station. Passengers will enjoy a safe and comfortable less than a 10-minute ride, flying over the spectacular forest. It will be another attractive and fast alternative complementing the existing funicular, which was overhauled by Garaventa in 2010. Up to 1,000 passengers per hour and direction will travel in 50 modern 8-seater cabins up the hill at a speed of 6 m/s. “It is an honour to once again provide an eco-friendly mobility solution to Penang Hill and contribute to enhancing the infrastructure and experience for the visitors and residents in this area”, said Thomas Pichler, Member of the Executive Board of the Doppelmayr Group.

“This project will not only create another iconic tourist attraction and spur more economic activities but also solve many of the challenges confronting the funicular system and the Penang Botanic Gardens area,” said YB Zairil Khir Johari, Penang State Exco for Infrastructure and Transport, who is also the Co-Chairman of the Cable Car Project Steering Committee.

“The introduction of this cable car system represents more than just a new mode of ferrying visitors up and down Penang Hill. It is a pivotal step in reenergizing this much-loved treasure. We aim to be a key partner to Penang Hill Corporation and the many entities operating here, to transform Penang Hill into a vibrant destination that celebrates its ecology, while supporting local communities and new economic opportunities for Penang,” said Tan Sri Ravindran Menon, Hartasuma Executive Director.

Penang Hill Corporation

Penang Hill Corporation was established in 2009 through an enactment passed by the Penang State Legislative Assembly. Its main focus is to manage the funicular system, undertake the development of socio-economy and infrastructure in Penang Hill and promote the Hill as a major ecotourism destination, in its vision to make Penang Hill the Hill Resort of Choice in Malaysia and the region.

Hartasuma Sdn Bhd

Hartasuma is a leading integrated rolling stock and rail services company. Its core competencies lie in the areas of systems integration, overhaul, refurbishment & rehabilitation, assembly, and supply of rolling stock. Hartasuma delivered Malaysia's first locally assembled passenger coaches to Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad and Light Rail Transit vehicles to Prasarana Malaysia Berhad. To date, Hartasuma has delivered more than 500 rail cars catering to Malaysia's public transportation needs.

Attendees of the groundbreaking ceremony
  • Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Dato' Seri Anwar Bin Ibrahim
  • Chief Minister of Penang, YAB Tuan Chow Kon Yeow
  • Minister of Tourism, Arts And Culture, Dato‘ Sri Tiong King Sing
  • Hartasuma Executive Director, Tan Sri Ravindran Menon.
  • Head of the Austrian Mission to Malaysia, Ambassador Andreas Launer

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