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New Hampshire’s iconic tramway will likely be modernized

New England Journey

The Cannon Mountain aerial tramway is not going to get replaced by a gondola.

The Cannon Mountain aerial tramway.

Guests driving Cannon Mountain’s iconic aerial tramway will expertise a extra trendy experience to the summit after a tram alternative venture.

  • ‘You don’t mess with custom’: readers say don’t exchange New Hampshire’s iconic tram with a gondola

The state-owned raise at Franconia Notch State Park wants restore inside the subsequent 5 years and $18 million was permitted by the state legislature for the venture, in response to Gregory Keeler, interim common supervisor for Cannon Mountain.

The price of changing the system was initially estimated at about $25 million, Keeler mentioned, earlier than it was decided that components of the present tram system will be reused due to a rigorous upkeep system on the mountain.

“The towers, the receiver buildings, the superstructure, the concrete bases, these are all issues that might have tacked on a bunch of cash in the event that they weren’t in ample situation,” he mentioned.

As soon as the venture is full, the tramway expertise received’t change, Keeler mentioned, besides that the brand new automobiles “will look totally different as a result of they are going to be a bit of extra trendy trying.”

The unique tram started working on the web site in 1938, adopted by the present tram in 1980. Guests are handled to an eight-minute scenic experience to Cannon’s 4,080-foot summit in two enclosed crimson and yellow cable automobiles referred to as Ketchup and Mustard. Every tram automotive can carry 80 individuals, and on a transparent day, company can see New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, New York, and Canada.

The tram, the primary passenger aerial tramway in North America, brings hundreds of thousands of {dollars} of tourism spending to the state, Keeler mentioned.

“The factor concerning the tram is, it’s iconic,” Keeler mentioned. “It’s iconic to New Hampshire. It’s iconic to the White Mountains. There isn’t anything prefer it within the state.”

Earlier this yr, Gov. Chris Sununu recommended changing the tram with a gondola to chop prices, amongst different causes, and the thought was met with disagreement by officers and residents.

Throughout a February ballot, readers voted to maintain the tramway over changing it with a gondola, writing: “You don’t mess with custom.” Of the 401 readers who responded to the ballot, 69% mentioned they wished a tram to stay on the web site.

Followers of the tramway can relaxation assured that the Ketchup and Mustard custom may also proceed, Keeler mentioned.

“Proper now there aren’t any plans to maneuver away from a crimson automotive and a yellow automotive,” he mentioned. “We did an unlucky experiment in some unspecified time in the future a variety of years in the past once we had the thought to only repaint them and make them each crimson as a result of Cannon’s model shade is crimson. And we swiftly heard from a number of hundred schoolchildren within the native area.”

These planning future visits ought to know that the tram will shut throughout building, Keeler mentioned. However there’s a course of that should occur earlier than that.

The mountain has been getting ready a bid bundle, and the venture will likely be marketed on the finish of October, Keeler mentioned. It’s anticipated that the bid course of will likely be full in late spring of 2024, he mentioned, and, after that, the corporate chosen will reinspect the system and formulate a plan.

Keeler mentioned the tramway will run this winter season and probably subsequent.

“We anticipate to have the ability to run the tram for summer season [2024] and probably for winter [2024-2025], if the development course of hasn’t began but,” Keeler mentioned. “It might rely upon regardless of the successful bidder offers us for a timeline. We’re hoping [the closure] received’t transcend one summer season and one winter, however that’s to be decided.”