Our fabulous vintage chairlift is undergoing its annual overhaul and after carrying more than 300,000 visitors since its relaunch it’s a well-deserved makeover!
All 42 seats have been removed for an off-site specialist paint coating ahead of 2015’s busy season, with the experience the country’s only vintage chairlift due to reopen to visitors at February half-term.
DZG CEO, Peter Suddock, said: “We do an annual service this time of year when seats are removed and the rope is inspected to make sure it is in good condition.
“Scaffolding will be going up at the top of the chairlift to enable wheels and bearings to be checked and we’re also having the seats covered with a special powder paint coating, which we believe will last longer.
“They are actually in really good condition considering they are constantly out in all elements and have carried more than 300,000 people in the past two years, but we are just tidying them up as it’s important they look their best for our visitors.”
The chairlift was relaunched in August 2012 following a Heritage Lottery-funded refurb and has received accolades aplenty from tourism chiefs including VisitEngland chairman, Lady Cobham (above) and also Head of HLF West Mids, Reyahn King (below).
It was the first passenger-carrying aerial ropeway to be installed in England and transports visitors from the zoo’s lower zone to the 11th century Dudley Castle on the upper level, with the two-minute free trip offering panoramic views across Sandwell to Birmingham.
Mr Suddock said: “We have had tremendous interest in the chairlift since it re-opened to the public on August Bank Holiday 2012 following restoration. “Since it has been back in use we have carried out a simple survey using clicker counters to find out just how many height-compatible people take the two-minute ride between the zoo’s upper and lower levels, which comes in at around 80 per cent.
“That is an amazing percentage.”He added: The chairlift has brought back many happy memories and also spawned a whole generation of first timers who are now firm chairlift fans.”
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