After nearly six years of waiting, “Elka” is once again running above the Silesia Park. The restoration of the cableway was possible with the EU funds provided under the Regional Operational Programme for Silesian Voivodeship, action 6.2.1 – revitalisation of large cities. The total cost of the project was PLN 33.8 million, with the EU providing PLN 21,098,821.21.
It all began in March 2010 when the Chorzów City Council included the investment projects related to the Silesia Park in the Chorzów Local Revitalization Plan. One of those investment projects was the reconstruction of the Park cableway. In early April 2011, the Silesian Voivodeship Executive Board decided to include “Elka” cableway among the 11 projects funded by the Regional Operational Programme.
With this decision, the works on the new cableway could finally begin. In September, the contract for the first stage of the Park cableway was signed. The winning bidder for the design of the new cableway was the Austrian company Doppelmayr which is one of the largest European manufacturers of chairlifts and cableways. On 12 February 2012, the construction works on the cableway began, following the disassembly of the existing stations several days earlier.
“Elka” is a point of interest itself. The cableway can be considered a pioneering undertaking as Poland’s only lowland cableway and the only cableway to combine chairlifts and gondolas.
The main purpose of “Elka”, both in its previous and future incarnation, is to provide the Park visitors with unforgettable visual experience. The route of the new cableway runs through the Park’s main places of interest, i.e. the Theme Park, the Rosarium, “The Hat” Exhibition Centre and General Jerzy Ziętek Promenade.
The length of the new “Elka” route is 1,896 metres (from the Theme Park to the Silesian Stadium). The stations are located 5 metres above the ground. The cableway runs at 5 m/s, covering the entire section in 9 minutes. The capacity is 860 persons per hour. “Elka” is fitted with 30 4-person chairlifts and 15 8-person gondolas intended for persons with disabilities and parents with prams/strollers.
The cableway was first opened on 7 September 1967. The opening ceremony was attended, among others, by the First Secretary of the ruling Polish United Workers’ Party (PZPR) and General Jerzy Ziętek. From its opening date to 2005, “Elka” carried millions of passengers. It was closed down in 2006 when it carried only 43 thousand people. For the next eighteen months, various efforts were made to restore the cableway to operation. In October 2008, the decision to dismantle the obsolete cableway was made.
The project was co-financed by the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund under the Regional Operational Programme of the Silesian Voivodeship for 2007–2013.
Source information about the Regional Operational Programme of the Silesian Voivodeship for 2007–2013 are available at www.rpo.slaskie.pl.