FlemXpress, a world first
Is it possible to bring large-scale projects – such as providing access to the Tectonic Arena Sardona UNESCO World Heritage Site Tectonic Arena Sardona – to fruition? Will guests feel safe in large cable cars? These are questions that the municipality of Flims, the Weisse Arena Group and the ropeway manufacturer Bartholet asked themselves. From the beginning, the goal was to make impressive natural environments accessible to young and old during every season. We wanted to have no restrictions on access and a high level of guest comfort in a sustainable way that reduces the impact on the environment. Innovative technology was specially developed to make this project a reality. Martin Hug, the current mayor of Flims, Reto Gurtner, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer at WAG (Weisse Arena Group) and the ropeway manufacturer Roland Bartholet of Bartholet Maschinenbau AG in Flums found a suitable solution for Flims. This tourist-oriented flagship project is the first of its kind worldwide. The gondolas transport guests to one of six different destinations in a fully automated and demand-driven way.
New technology in mountain tourism
Modern fittings and stations integrated into the surrounding nature
All 120 cabins are equipped with two phone charging stations and a ventilation system, so that the windowpanes do not mist up. As the FlemXpress will be operational throughout the year and night journeys will be offered, the gondolas will also be equipped with discreet outdoor lighting. In order to allow guests to view the Flims mountain landscapes in as natural a way possible, the stations will be integrated into the landscapes as far as possible. Existing building structures will be reused and additional buildings will be built using local resources such as wood and concrete.
Regardless of whether guests are travelling with sports equipment, on foot, with a pram or in a wheelchair, nobody should have to miss out on the chance to admire mountain landscapes and breathtaking views. Boarding a moving gondola can, under certain circumstances, be difficult. In most cases, there is not an accessible option. FlemXpress’s innovative technology allows guests to comfortably enter and exit the stationary gondola with their luggage, sports equipment, pram or wheelchair – in a completely unrestricted way. Additionally, none of the gondola lift’s employees are required to help guests board. The ropeway station’s platform is separated from the guest areas by access doors, so that guests cannot enter the dangerous area. It is the first time that small gondolas have been made so comfortably accessible to those with walking or visual impairments, families and older people.
Nature in its purest form
This gondola lift uses less energy, creates no CO2 emissions and has been built using local resources. FlemXpress only departs when there is passenger demand. If there are no guests, then no gondolas will be on the line. Additionally, existing stations are reused and expanded using local materials. This sustainable and environmentally friendly project demonstrates our continuing concern for the environment and makes Flims an attractive tourist destination.
Guest Feedback is important to us
In December 2021, the project was presented to Flums residents and those for whom the municipality of Flims is a second home at the ‘Flims2Flums’ event. The feedback received will be incorporated into future considerations and plans. The Ropetaxi system was viewed as modern, straightforward, innovative and impressive. The aspects that were most highly valued were the design, seating comfort, simple boarding procedure and travel comfort. Guests’ expectations are clear: the local Fil de Cassons mountain should be easily accessible in summer and winter. However, the gondola lift should also respect the surrounding nature and the precious wildlife in the mountains.