Cable Car and Cable Car Lane upgrade

The Cable Car resumed service in August 2016 following a major equipment upgrade. Major improvements have also been made to Cable Car Lane.

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

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


The upgrade included a new glass canopy that has made 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 are just adding 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 has made the whole lane feel brighter and more spacious.

The canopy has been designed in three sections, so the structures can move independently in the event of an earthquake, and is made from thick safety glass.  

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

 Cable Car upgrade

The Cable Car had its first major upgrade in more than 30 years in 2016. This included:

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

 Services resumed in August 2016.

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

What’s been done in Cable Car Lane

The upgrade of the lane included:

  • 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.

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

How the lane work was 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 meant people could continue to use the lane and get to the Cable Car and businesses below.

Work was done from two levels of scaffolding that were approximately 8 and 12 metres above the lane.

Each piece of cladding and glazing had 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, had to be lifted and manoeuvred into position by hand.


  • 7 June 2016 – Cable Car closed for two-month upgrade and was replaced with a temporary bus service from Lambton Quay
  • Mid-June 2016 – Work started on Cable Car Lane 
  • 13-14 August 2016  – Canopy for Cable Car Lane installed by crane. 
  • 18 August 2016 – Cable Car back in action
  • Early 2017 – major construction work in the lane complete
  • Early 2018 – mural designed and painted by Wellington artist Gina Kiel