Mechanization of Ropeway The pylons provided a toy for the (then) young GIs to climb on as seen
in the picture below. At least one of the pylons was 30 meters tall.
Here, Tom Johnson and friend stand on top of one of the structures which
guided the ropeway as it passes over one of the mountain tops. I
believe this is fairly close to Asmara. I'll have to remember to
Photo courtesy of Tom Johnson. Below, McDowell clowns for the camera a bit as he shows his "manly
man" stuff. I know I could have done this when I was there...it should
be noted that there are 4 wires here. Two 30 mm wires were intended
to carry the weight and one 22 mm wire was intended to pull the gondola.
The picture that I took of the ropeway on the flats only show 3 wires.
The picture of the gondola from Jerry Pry shows 4 wires. The gondola
is on one of the middle sized wires. It is attached to the smaller
wire. The larger wire is above the rest. It is the larger wire which
McDowell uses for his chin-ups.
Photo courtesy of Tom Johnson. The chin-up exercise is not as dangerous as it seems. The mountain
side is just below his feet. The taper of the land is sufficient
that at the camera view angle, he appears in space above the valley.
If he fell, it wouldn't be far, but he might have had to sit on a prickly
Over the Flats, the structure of the pylons was quite spindly used
guy wires for support in some cases as seen below.
I've found a couple of good pictures of the gondola, one from Jerry
Pry and one from Tom Johnson:
Photo courtesy of Jerry Pry Jerry's picture shows some details of the mechanism. They appear
to have a tipping mechanism.
Photo courtesy of Tom Johnson. In these views, there are 4 wires. Two are attached to the gondola
and the other two are free hanging.
Photo courtesy of Billy Lowery Bill and I climbed around those hills together more than once.
This was taken on a trip when I wasn't along. In Bill's picture,
it is clear how the pulling line and suspension lines were attached.
It may be that the 2 wires for suspension ran with one on a path from
Massawa to Asmara and a second from Asmara to Massawa. The pulling
wire made the round trip Massawa to Asmara to Massawa. This makes
sense to me and enables the wire to go back to Massawa at the same rate
it was being pulled up. After having been asked some questions on
how it worked by Dave Engstrom, I came to the conclusion that the pulling
wire looped at each of the eight engines.