Cable Car and Cable Car Lane upgrade

The Cable Car resumed service on 18 August following a major equipment upgrade. Work on the first phase of a two-stage upgrade of Cable Car Lane is under way.

Lane and businesses open as usual

The lane is open as usual while the work happens. You can still visit the food outlets, bar and other businesses within. You can also get through to the car park at the rear of the lane and side entrance to Fujitsu Tower and the Cable Car Centre.

Artist's impression showing Cable Car Lane as it will look when a planned upgrade is complete.

An artist's impression of how Cable Car Lane will look with the new glass canopy


The upgrade includes a new glass canopy that will make this key visitor attraction and transport hub much lighter and brighter.


The Cable Car is Wellington’s second most popular visitor attraction after Te Papa. More than a million people a year ride on it and for most, the journey starts and ends in Cable Car Lane.

The new terminus and lookout at the top, which opened in 2014, is looking great. There’s now a permanent light show in the middle and top tunnels, and the laneway improvements will just add to the experience by significantly enhancing the Lambton terminus and main entrance.

The existing canopy above Cable Car Lane was put in in the 1980s and doesn’t let in much light. The new glass one will make the whole lane feel brighter and more spacious.

The work on the Cable Car Lane is part of wider programme to revitalise Wellington laneways.

What’s happening to the Cable Car

The Cable Car has just had its first major upgrade in more than 30 years. This included:

  • upgrading the electric drive and control system
  • refurbishment of the Cable Car carriages.

It was expected to be back in action on 1 August, but additional work was required. Services resumed on 18 August. 

For more information about the Cable Car upgrade: Wellington Cable Car

What’s happening in Cable Car Lane

Work on the first phase of the lane upgrade includes:

  • replacing the leaky old canopy with an elegant new glass one
  • demolishing the old ticket booth and replacing it with a larger new one
  • moving the entry gates to make it easier to queue and buy tickets.

Work on the new ticket booth and gates has been completed. 

The steel frame for the new glass one was lowered into position by crane in sections over a weekend in August and has now been connected to the buildings on either side. New services, including a fire sprinkler system, have been installed.

Finishing work includes installing:

  • aluminium cladding panels around the steel frame and ducting pipes and other services
  • thickened glazing (strong glass panels)
  • pendant lights
  • LED lighting to make the lane lighter at night.

We are planning to do the second and final phase of work on the lane in 2017, though this has yet to be confirmed. It is likely to include new paving and new way-finding signs.

How the lane work is being done

A temporary roof was built over the lane and scaffolding assembled above that, so that workers could safely dismantle and remove the old canopy, and install the new one. This means people can continue to use the lane and get to the Cable Car and businesses below.

Work is happening from two levels of scaffolding that are approximately 8 and 12 metres above the lane.

Each piece of cladding and glazing has to be installed in a certain order a bit like a giant jigsaw puzzle. And because the lane is so narrow, many of the materials, including the heavy glass panels, have to be lifted and manoeuvred into position by hand.


  • 7 June 2016 – Cable Car closes for two-month upgrade and is replaced with a temporary bus service from Lambton Quay
  • Mid-June 2016 – Work starts on Cable Car Lane upgrade (phase 1)
  • 13-14 August 2016 (weather permitting) – Canopy for Cable Car Lane installed by crane. Lambton Quay closed to vehicles, but open to pedestrians. 
  • 18 August 2016 – Cable Car back in action
  • 2017 (to be confirmed) – Cable Car Lane upgrade (phase 2) work planned