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Sugar Loaf mountain cable car company has new ways to facilitate tourist visits

cable car
cable car
Written by editor

The City of Rio Tourism Board is happy to announce some news about the services of Sugar Loaf Cable Car for the high season of 2014.

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The City of Rio Tourism Board is happy to announce some news about the services of Sugar Loaf Cable Car for the high season of 2014.

Online ticket sales via the site www.bondinho.com.br will allow scheduling a visit up until March 8, 2014, and it will not be possible to buy tickets for the same day, making this service even more important.

Flexibility and comfort are the administrator´s proposals improving the experience in visiting the spectacular site:

a) self-service machine at the entrance of Sugar Loaf Visit Center has been positioned and will allow the printing of tickets for those who did not have it in hand;

b) also, a special queue for those who make a purchase ahead of time over the internet and have the tickets in hand;

c) in addition, they have increased the number of sales booths and staff to greet and help the tourists;

d) moreover they are opening soon a VIP lounge for those who wish to add a more relaxing waiting time prior to entry the cable car.

For the period of the FIFA World Cup 2014, the sales service will be activated with a “fast pass service”, common in other tourist spots in the world that improves the time for the access to the summit.

For more information please contact: [email protected]

History and Curious Facts

In 1912, the launch of an aerial tramway system in Rio de Janeiro added to the Brazilian tourist map an enterprise that would become famous worldwide: the Sugarloaf Cable Car. Today, the view of the constant come and go of the “bondinhos” is a part of the city’s landscape.

The Sugarloaf tourist complex was built by the Companhia Caminho Aereo Pao de Acucar, which still operates and maintains it. Designed to entertain thousands of people at a privileged location, the park is blessed by its panoramic beauty.

The Sugarloaf mountain consists in a single massive block of granite-derived stone, molded by atmospheric pressure and temperature along its 600 million years of age.
Typically the sugarloaf is surrounded by tropical vegetation, in particular remnants of the Atlantic forest containing native species that are extinct in other areas of the Brazilian coast.

The cable car

Augusto Ferreira Ramos, a Brazilian engineer born on August 22, 1860, was General Coordinator of the historic 1908 National Exhibition, held on Praia Vermelha to celebrate the centennial anniversary of Brazil’s opening its ports to friendly nations and had the original idea of building an aerial tramway to the top of the Sugarloaf mountain. Together with businessman Manuel Antonio Galvao and Commander Fridolino Cardoso, Ramos secured authorization from the mayor of the “Federal District” (Rio de Janeiro was capital of the country at the time) Mr. Serzedelo Correa, for building and operating the cable car system in three lines: one connecting Praia Vermelha to the top of Morro da Urca; another one connecting the peaks of Morro da Urca and Pao de Acucar.

Building of the first line

On July 30, 1909 a 30-year license was granted for building the colossal enterprise (issued by Municipal Decree number 1260 on May 29, 1909). Brazilian and Portuguese workers labored together, using equipment and material imported by German company J. Pohlig. Four tons of material were spent in the equipment, which had to be taken up to the top of the two mountains by hundreds of men performing dangerous climbs, in a daring operation for those days.

The tramway cables were launched by specially trained teams. The first team took a pilot cable to the base of the mountain. The second team climbed the mountain through a forest trail, carrying a long rope. At the peak, they threw down one end of the rope and another team tied it to the pilot-cable, which was at the base of the mountain. The cable was then pulled up and set in place. The other end of the pilot cable was placed at Praia Vermelha and was used as a guide for laying the steel cable that actually holds the cable car. The cable car was then hoisted up and attached to the steel cable.

This first part of the ride, between Praia Vermelha and Morro da Urca, is 528 meters long and 220 meters high. It was opened on October 27, 1912, when 577 people took the ride up to Morro da Urca. The “Camarote Carril,” as the cable car was then called, was made of wood and held 17 people. It was suspended on two track cables and used eight pairs of pulleys to glide up and down on the cables. Power was supplied by a 75-HP electric engine, and electric brakes provided safety to the system. The average time of each ride was 6 minutes, at a speed of 2 meters per second (on both parts of the trip, i.e. all the way up to the Sugarloaf).

Origin of the name

There are several versions for where the name Pao de Acucar (Sugarloaf) came from. According to historian Vieira Fazenda, the Portuguese named the mountain Pao de Acucar inspired by the fact that in order to transport sugar to Europe during the peak of the sugarcane cycle in Brazil (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries), lumps of boiled and reduced juice obtained by pressing sugar cane were placed in cone-shaped clay molds called “sugarloaves” which resembled the famous mountain.

However, the mountain has been called in different ways along the years:

“Pau-nh-acuqua” in Tupi language – given by the Tamoios Indians, the indigenous inhabitants of the Guanabara Bay area – meaning “tall, isolated and pointy hill;” The name Pao de Acucar caught on in the second half of the 19th century, when Rio de Janeiro received artistic missions by German artist Johann Moritz Rugendas and French artist Jean Baptiste Debret, who acclaimed the beauty of the mountain in magnificent drawings and prints.”

Excerpt from the Sugar Loaf website

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About the author


Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.