Technically speaking, it didn’t crash. Instead, the frontmost gondola didn’t properly end up on the cable and so didn’t start up the climb. Then, there was no failsafe mechanism in place to stop the station controller from moving along the gondolas already in the station. As a result, they kept moving, shoving into the frontmost gondola. It is why it is is tilted the way it is…the gondolas in the station pushed it upwards.
So not really a crash.
The problem was that there was nothing in place to trigger the station to stop in this scenario. That is a design flaw that they will have to resolve, aside from whatever additional flaw even allowed the frontmost gondola from properly seating itself on the cable.
That’s the part that’s not entirely accurate. They didn’t really HIT each other. Rather, the ones behind it continually pushed on the one that wasn’t moving. But they have bumber thingies on them and they are touching, or ALMOST touching as they are going through the station. As the ones behind the front one pushed into it, the system didn’t stop, and the weight/resistance of the front gondola eventually caused the breakage.
The early reports of the “crash” were based on the assumption that it was as a gondola was coming INTO the station…which wasn’t the case. It was a gondola that was supposed to be LEAVING the station, but didn’t.
As I’ve thought about how this is likely designed, there is probably “release” or “transfer” point where the system is supposed to take the gondola from the “dismounted” line (in the station where it is NOT on the cable so that it can move slowly). When the gondola reaches this point, there is something that should accelerate the gondola to match the speed of the cable. But it would seem that it didn’t do this. And the fact that the gondola just stayed in place at the attachment point above, rather than allowing the gondola to be shoved along the pathway suggests the mechanism to perform the release of transfer failed.
This means that it isn’t as bad as it sounds in terms of “not ending up on the cable”. It isn’t like it is possible that the gondola could be misaligned and fall off the cable or anything. I think they are very well protected there. Instead, it seems like a mechanism failure in this release/transfer point. When it didn’t release, it just remained in place, stuck, but the gondolas coming behind it continued moving forward. The point that gondola attaches to the track and cable didn’t give way, so you have the gondola itself tilting upwards, pivoting at that point above.
In a way, that point would serve as a failsafe mechanism, of sorts, in preventing two gondolas being placed on the cable too close together. The first ends up on the cable and starts to move, while the next gondola is blocked from “boarding” the cable until a predefined spacing/timing. Then it would release the next gondola, etc.
The first failure, then, is why the release/transfer was unsuccessful. The second failure is why the station, then, didn’t halt in response to this failure. I’m guessing it is because it is NORMAL for there to be a gondola stopped at the point while it is waiting for it’s turn. What wasn’t anticipated was if a gondola failed to properly “take its turn”.
To be clear, I don’t “know” this information as a matter of fact…but I’m providing this information based on the most reliable accounts I’ve read, plus my own analysis of how this entire system works (and fails!), as compared to how I’ve seen similar systems work. As an engineer myself, I’m keenly the aware of safety critical design. So, you might say this analysis is a very highly educated guess.
Wait. Can I get you saying that on camera for my kids to see?