Zugspitz cable car

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Reaching windswept heights: the new Zugspitze cable car uses DOM Sicherheitstechnik

You can’t get any higher – not in Germany at least. The Zugspitze in the Wetterstein mountains is the highest mountain in the country. Evidence shows that it was first conquered in 1820, and since then hundreds of thousands of people have reached the summit – and those who don’t want to take one of the three cable cars, can climb their way to the top – for example the new Zugspitze Cable Car.

After six years of planning and construction, it made its maiden journey on 21 December 2017. Around 400 people work on the cable cars – with access and authorisation management provided by DOM security technology. It would be a piece of cake for fine-weather engineers: but building here at 3,000 metres above sea level, you need a head for heights and be immune to the elements. Ice and driving snow, persistent cloud patches and heavy rainfall occur here in the summer as well as the winter – but so do wonderfully sunny days that open up breathtaking views for mountaineers, ski enthusiasts and day-trippers. The new ‘Seilbahn Zugspitze’ cable car is a technical triumph in mountain access in many ways: there is just one steelwork pylon standing a dizzying 127 metres high – plus an overall difference in height of 1,945 metres with no mid-station. The cables rise above an unsupported cable-way span of 3,213 metres: all  world records. The operator Bayerische Zugspitzbahn Bergbahn AG, a subsidiary of Gemeindewerke Garmisch-Patenkirchen, has invested a huge 50 million euro in the mammoth project.


This may come as a surprise to anyone not familiar with cable cars: Bayerische Zugspitzbahn Bergbahn AG employs more than 400 people, which points to the organisational complexity of the operation: it includes multiple cable cars, a rack railway and various mountain and valley stations with refreshment facilities. Authorisations for the various employees in the individual areas of the cable car operation need to be clearly differentiated, as Christian Scharpf of Bayerische Zugspitzbahn Bergbahn AG explains. He led the project for the Zugspitze Cable Car in his capacity as Senior System Engineer. There are big differences between access authorisations – for example between administration, catering and the engineers. Operations managers and IT technicians, for example, can access all areas. But there are also external cleaning staff, and security personnel, etc.

So for Christian Scharpf and his organisation, a digital solution for the locking and access system appeared to be critical from the outset. In comparison with a traditional key system, this also yields considerable savings potential. “Transponders are very easy to reprogramme – key management using mechanical keys doesn’t let you do that. Authorisation structures also needed to be made more detailed,” according to Christian Scharpf.


DOM systems seem literally predestined for such requirements in terms of flexibility. The final deciding factor was the fact that DOM “offers the best options in terms of the equipment and programming options, “ says Christian Scharpf. DOM’s security systems great reputation, and recommendation from the Gröbl locksmith company also played a role, adds the systems engineer.

It means we used a wide range of products from the DOM portfolio: electronic doors with Access Manager, as well as special doors such as emergency exit doors that comply with the stringent fire protection requirements for public areas in particular. Certain alarmed high security areas are secured with burglar resistant doors compliant with RC4. Various cylinder sizes also had to be taken into consideration.

The unusual location brought its own particular challenge: up here, almost 3,000 metres above sea level, all the products and components have to withstand severe fluctuations in the weather and sometimes very low temperatures as well as snow and ice – yet always function faultlessly.


The DOM ENiQ Digital Security Ecosystem meets all these requirements – in particular, thanks to its flexibility in granting and managing individual  authorisations. For the special doors – in this situation the escape and fire safety doors – the ENiQ ecosystem offers tailor-made cylinders. Senior System Engineer Christian Scharpf emphasises the straightforward administration, especially with operations ongoing.

The Bayerische Zugspitzbahn Bergbahn AG has already worked with DOM systems at its various locations, in some cases DOM ELS is still being used. According to Christian Scharpf, however, standardization is planned in favour of the new ENiQ system. Most of the locks are programmed offline – but some are done online via the ENiQ AccessManager. This latter is essential for the organisation at the valley station car park, for example. Visitors have to pay parking fees here, so there is a barrier in operation. The catering staff and other external workers are granted access via transponders – the centrally managed online system renders the laborious issuing of tickets superfluous.

The cable car company was easily able to manage the installation of the entire system itself – with the support of the local locksmith Gröbl. A total of 31 cylinders were initially installed, with a further 15 to come – plus DOM ENiQ ITT’s (Intelligent Transponder Terminal) to allow easy updating of authorisations on the transponders. This means that the individual doors do not need to be programmed: authorisation management is handled centrally via PC – and the rights on the transponders can easily be extended or modified at the terminals. To make things even easier, authorisations in the future will be restricted to one week – for example for changing employees – so that they expire automatically if authorisations are not extended at the terminals.

The new system has been proving its worth at the Zugspitze Cable Car every day since it was introduced – at probably the highest place ever that digital locking systems from DOM can be found.

Products used in this project