Aerial Tramway upgrades have been underway for four weeks. Our team has been working hard to ensure completion by our projected date of May 28th. Two weeks ago, we ran into a problem. When dismantling the gear box and drive shaft, we noticed it was not lining up. A few years ago, we had an American based company rebuild the gearbox and replace the motor’s drive shaft. The company reconfigured the gearbox using imperial measurements, and our new gearbox was designed in Switzerland using the Metric System. Basically, the drive shaft was not lining up with the new gearbox. Our team quickly got in contact with a local machine shop, and they reconfigured the drive shaft. The gear box and drive shaft are now reassembled.
During week 3 and 4 of the closure, we removed most of the old track rope cables from one of the two tram lines. Our team anchored the rope capacitor and installed the exhaust lines for our new diesel motor, allowing us to start installing the new track rope cables around the bull wheel and eventually out onto the towers. The track rope cables were hanging low as we were installing the new cables up the tram towers. It is important to note that we can only work on one of the two of the Tram lines at one time. Now we have started prepping cable #2 at the upper terminal to remove the old track rope cables. The prep work includes wiring the new AC motor, installing new wood on the bollard, installing a new rope capacitor, fixing metal welds that have aged over the years, and threading cables into a tensioning machine to relieve tension on the cables.
Upgrades have been underway inside The Lower Tram terminal as well. We have successfully installed all new electrical cabinets, mounted new programmers, and installed new counterweight switches to better monitor travel. We had to tear apart our control room to rewire all things electrical. This past week we reassembled our control room covering wire channels and replaced the carpet.
Old track rope cable hanging low as tension was relieved enabling us to remove it.
Coiling old track rope stretched down LeConte Street in Downtown Gatlinburg.