Photo courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
After nearly six decades in operation, including many years as the only public tram in Texas, the Wyler Aerial Tramway at Franklin Mountains State Park is closed until further notice.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), which has operated the tram for the past 19 years, made the decision to suspend operations following an engineering analysis conducted as part of a deferred maintenance project that was planned to begin later this fall.
Via a news release, TPWD officials shared, “Despite passing annual inspections, the latest analysis concluded the tram has surpassed its life expectancy and is no longer suited for public use. Out of an abundance of caution, TPWD has closed the tramway while it considers its options.”
The Wyler Aerial Tramway was originally designed to provide maintenance access for television transmission towers in the Franklin Mountains until it was donated to TPWD in 1997.
The department re-opened it to the public in 2001 following extensive renovation.
The construction of the tram predates the establishment of national tramway standards and, despite its clean record and successful annual inspections, the engineering review conducted this summer recommends that the tramway be updated to meet today’s standards, which would require a complete overhaul of the tramway.
Replacement of the tram is estimated to cost millions of dollars. TPWD does not have the financial resources to execute a capital construction project of this size at this time.
Wyler Aerial Tramway at Franklin Mountains State Park features two aerial cable cars that travel over the jagged mountain and rock formations on the east side of the Franklin Mountains to Ranger Peak.
From the summit, about 45,000 visitors per year experience a 360-degree view of two countries and three states.