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Coal cableway centre (Taubanesentrale)

The old coal cableway centre, locally known as Taubanesentrale, is is one of Longyearbyen’s most prominent landmarks. It looks futuristic, but it is a symbol of a history that is about to loose its connection to the present, as coal mining is getting less and less important in Longyearbyen.

The first part of the coal cableway was built in 1907, in the early years of the American time of Longyearbyen (then Longyear City, named after the founder). It connected the first mine, mine 1 (now often referred to as the “Americans’ mine”) which is located high up on the slope of Platåberg above the church, and the harbour. A little trench-like cut was made in the upper part of the slope down towards the harbour. This part of Longyearbyen, with the Sysselmannen’s office building, the coal cableway centre etc., is named “Skjæringa” (“the cut”) after this cut.

The coal cableway system was enlarged over the years as new mines were established, first around Longyearbyen and later further away in Adventdalen (mine 5, 6 and 7). The coal cableway centre (taubanesentrale) was built in 1956.

The whole coal cableway system were abandoned in 1987. Since then, lorries are used to transport coal from the mines to the harbour. Today, only mine 7 is still in use.

The old coal cableway centre remains as part of Longyearbyen’s cultural heritage. Visually prominent and historically in a central location, it is a very popular photo stop. It was opened to the public in 1991 and became part of Svalbardmuseum in 1993. It was occasionally used for exhibitions and cultural events, but it has been just empty and the doors have been locked now for many years. It was legally protected i 2003 (it was not automatically protected as it was built in 1956; automatical protection applies to anything older than 1946).


last modification: 2019-03-26 · copyright: Rolf Stange