A little more than 15 years ago in the city of Dnipro, as part of the recreational infrastructure, operated a unique engineering and transportation structure – a passenger cable car, which during the beach season connected the right bank of the city of Dnipro with the central part of Monastery Island.
Now it has long been abandoned, but residents of the city still remember its work with nostalgia.
The idea of the city administration to connect the right bank of the Dnieper with Monastyrsky (Komsomolsky) Island appeared in the 60s, and was based on the fact that it would solve the problem of overcoming the long distance for beach recreation of citizens from the side of the highland part of the city. It became known from an article published in «Dniprovskaia Pravda» in 1966.
Designers Anatoly and Larisa Bobrovnikov and architect Eduard Chubarov (Dneprograzhdanproekt Design Institute) were entrusted with the development of an individual project of such a landmark for the city, and local industrial enterprises (DZMO, Babushkin Plant, Yuzhmash) were entrusted with its realization. The construction took only 2 years. The deadlines were so tight that the construction of «zero cycles» began at the design stage.
The grand opening of the cable car over the Dnieper was held in May 1968. The one-way fare was approximately 20 kopecks (in Soviet times), and later – 1 ruble.
The right-bank station is located near the Minutka Café, at 2 Dmitriy Dontsova Street, and the «reception» site is located in the beach area of Monastyrsky Island. The route of the ropeway, which is 717 meters long, crosses the 6th Rifle Division Street, railway tracks, private sector, Victory Embankment Street and, of course, the Archbishop’s Strait (part of the Dniepro River between the right bank and Monastyrsky Island).
The structure of the cable car, excluding the machine room and the final platform with a huge «reverse» shaft (the one on the island), placed on 9 supports (10 inclusive with the pylon of the island station). The duration of the trip was 10-11 minutes, and the average transportation capacity was 1200 people per hour (data from open sources and not verified).
«There were either 89 or 90 booths by number, probably the second, although there were skips, but I didn’t see them. There was also a service stall, they didn’t put you in it, I think it was red and yellow, and welded up to the top. I grew up a block from there. The service one was very memorable, and it was always running» – memories of a Dnieper resident.
Old photos show that the capacity of each booth was designed for about two people (most likely, that’s how many people could jump into it, and if with a child, possibly even 3).
It is important to note that near the station, located on the high right bank, a 32-meter panoramic observation platform was also erected, (and before it was overgrown with trees) it offered a beautiful view of the recreational part of the island and the left bank of the Dnieper. The platform could accommodate 12-15 visitors at a time.
Sailing is an integral part of the traditions of the city of Dnipro (then Dnipropetrovsk), so there are several water sports bases and yacht clubs located in the Archbishop’s Strait. For the owners of large yachts with high masts, the construction of this engineering structure added an interesting «attraction» to the navigation – you had to manage to pass the yacht between two moving cradles of the ropeway.
From personal memories – in the last years of the ropeway’s operation, it was especially popular with extreme youth – thrill-seekers jumped out of the cabins into the strait (from a height of about 10 meters), and then swam to the gentle shores of the island, and again bought a ticket for the ropeway to repeat the jump into the waters of the Dnipro.
There was no official closure of this unique engineering and transportation structure as such. In the 2000s, it was tried to be «resuscitated» by transferring it to the management of a private company, but the latter’s expectations of profitability were not justified. Taking into account its long downtime and without investing money in its maintenance, it was brought to the maximum wear and tear, bordering on emergency condition, after which it was simply stopped operating. The engine room was locked, the landscaping fell into disrepair, and the grounds gradually became overgrown with trees.
This transport facility was transferred several times to the balance of various organizations (both commercial and municipal), but not for its reconstruction, but as a balance sheet inventory (inventory value), which is not so easy to write off.
Now it is known that the territory where the right-bank station of the cable car is located and the observation deck have already been transferred to a commercial developer, and this can mean only one thing – soon work will begin on dismantling this landmark for the city and construction of a completely different object.
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