Tram stuck for two hours

Company helicoptered tourists down from Mt. Roberts so they wouldn't miss their cruise ship

Posted: Friday, July 20, 2001

Goldbelt's Mount Roberts Tram is running again, after a blown fuse stopped operations for two hours Thursday.

About 200 cruise ship passengers were at the top when the tram shut itself down at 2 p.m., said Bruce Barker, vice president and general manager of Goldbelt Aerial Tram Inc. The tram cars were a foot from the terminal docking stations when the tram stopped, so all the passengers were able to get off, Barker said.

Many of the tourists were from the Vision of the Seas, which was scheduled to leave at 4 p.m. Unsure when the tram would start again, Barker had Era Helicopters fly 62 people down to the rock dump near Thane Road. Gastineau Guiding escorted another 50 people down the trail. The Vision of the Seas delayed its departure, so the passengers had time to make it.

"The first order of business was to get these folks off the mountain," said David Goade, executive vice president for Goldbelt.

The problem with the tram turned out to be a blown relay fuse in the electronic drive that runs the tram. Several spares were on hand, so the fuse was replaced and the tram started running again at about 4 p.m., Barker said. By 5 p.m., when the Vision of the Seas left Juneau, all the people were down from Mount Roberts.

The tram's electrical problem has come up a couple times in the last month and Goldbelt is trying to hire an expert in tram electrical systems, Goade said.

"The system that trams utilize is very sophisticated and there aren't many of them in the world," he said. "Obviously we don't want these kind of problems."

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Kristan Hutchison can be reached at

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