The New Tram
The Roosevelt Island Tram is once again the most modern urban aerial tramway system in the world; as it had been when first installed in 1976. The Tram’s $25 million modernization, designed to extend the operations of the Tram for at least another thirty (30) years, is funded by a combination of New York State and RIOC funds.
Every component of the aerial tramway system has been replaced, except for the three tower bases that support the cables on which the tram cabins travel. The tower bases were deemed sound by engineers and required only minor reinforcement measures. The tower tops were replaced to accommodate a wider cable gauge creating a “dual haul” system. The dual haul concept supports a more advanced cable operating system available as a result of improvements made in ropeway (cable transport) technology in the 34 years since installation of the original Roosevelt Island system.
The two tramway terminals, one situated on Roosevelt Island and the other on Second Avenue between 59th and 60th Sts., are scheduled for modernization as well, starting spring 2011. Work will proceed on those during “non – peak” travel times, so as to not disrupt operations significantly. Station improvements are expected to be completed in summer of 2011.
The Tram is poised to accommodate increased ridership in the next few years resulting from the expected completion of housing development as well as the opening of two public park areas at the Island’s southern end, pursuant to the 1969 GDP.