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Funicular Railways Here and in Europe

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by Roger Farnworth, Apr 2, 2018.

  1. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth Member

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    I thought it might be good to start a new thread about Funicular Railways. These are all usually of a gauge narrower than standard gauge, I think. I don't know whether there will be any great interest in this, but I offer two blogs about funiculars which have now disappeared. The first was between Cannes and Super-Cannes in the South of France.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/04/02/the-funicular-railway-in-cannes

    The second was in Grasse, the perfume capital of Provence, and linked the PLM railway station to the town centre.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.co...ailway-in-grasse-chemin-de-fer-de-provence-23
     
  2. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
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  3. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth Member

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    I've been on the Cairngorm Mountain Railway. I should have remembered. The second link has worked fine for me. Thank you!☺
     
  4. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Well-Known Member

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    I haven’t been on the Cairngorm one but I went on the German one about 20 years ago. It’s utterly quirky especially the tramway at the top where the running line goes straight over the turntable.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  5. JayDee

    JayDee Member

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    I've done the Linton and Lynmouth one a few times.

    A fascinating mode of getting up and down a cliffside, and eerily quiet as well due to the water power!
     
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  6. LesterBrown

    LesterBrown Member

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    Unfortunately currently closed following a landslip, hopefully it will re-open very soon.
     
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  7. JayDee

    JayDee Member

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    Oh what a shame. I do hope it's opened up again. Was always popular when I was down there a few years ago.
     
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  8. Steve B

    Steve B Well-Known Member

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    Let's not forget the funicular that thinks it's a tramway, and which is actually two funiculars in one - the Great Orme Tramway in Llandudno. Two balanced funiculars where you have to get off half way and transfer to the other tram. What a crazy idea, but it's been around for a long time and quite delightful.

    Steve B
    (Oh, and it's narrow gauge!)
     
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  9. StoneRoad

    StoneRoad Member

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    I'll put a word in for the Saltburn Cliff Lift - another water balance funicular, but the tracks are always separate.
    The passenger cars had a major rebuild a few years ago.
    some images here : http://www.ipernity.com/doc/312383/album/404859
     
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  10. LesterBrown

    LesterBrown Member

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    Hopefully just a matter of days, only a small amount of debris but, by its nature difficult to access and no doubt they will want to check nothing more going to fall.

    3'9" gauge by the way.
     
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  11. kscanes

    kscanes Resident of Nat Pres

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    The metre gauge Penang Hill Railway, Malaysia, had a similar two section layout until it was re-equipped in 2010. Total route length about 2km. Odd (to me anyway) was the wheel layout: One side of each car had a double flanged wheel whilst the other side had an unflanged roller. The two cars on each section had opposite sides double flanged; this guided the cars round opposite sides of the passing loop with no need for point changing. The passenger cars propelled a goods wagon used for both luggage and freight; the wagons could be transferred between sections by an overhead gantry if necessary.

    Another odd thing is that there were request halts as well as the main terminal stations, with the result that the other balancing car stopped at "no where" places on the route.

    (Sorry, not UK or Europe so off topic, but hopefully interesting nonetheless)
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2018
  12. Steve B

    Steve B Well-Known Member

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    The double flanged wheel arrangement is not so uncommon on funiculars - it is often combined with the set up where the top half of the line is laid with three rails, with the centre rail being shared by both cars, widening out to four rails (obviously!) for the passing loop, and then merging in to two rails for the lower section. That way the haulage cables are kept apart from each other.

    Another example (again not Europe) if you're in the area is the Victoria Peak Tramway in Hong Kong - http://www.hongkongextras.com/peak_tram.html - the street trams are good fun too!

    Steve B
     
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  13. CLN_WVR

    CLN_WVR Member

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    Aberystwyth has a funicular railway (it is standard gauge though), it leads to (amongst other things) a Camera Obscura.

    Some images. Sorry about the arty/garish one it was very overcast when we descended so the only way to get any kind of detail was some 'interesting' post processing - the distant shot was taken on a different day

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth Member

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    Thank you for the details about the funicular at Aberystwyth. My brother-in-law and his wife live close to
    Aberystwyth and I was not aware of the funicular!
     
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  15. Robin

    Robin Well-Known Member Friend

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    The Bridgnorth Cliff Railway website has loads of historical and technical information on "England’s Oldest and Steepest Inland Electric Funicular Railway". It is 3ft 6in gauge and rises 111 feet in a distance of just 201 feet. It is also within walking distance of the Severn Valley Railway's Bridgnorth station.

    http://www.bridgnorthcliffrailway.co.uk/
     
  16. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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  17. CLN_WVR

    CLN_WVR Member

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    The West Cliff Railway in Bournemouth is actually 5'6" gauge (so I guess we have wide gauge to think about as well.)

    One other thing I have noticed about the Aberystwyth one is that inside the carriages the seating is stepped to follow the angle of the line, in some funiculars the floor of the carriage is flat as the carriage is mounted on a triangular frame - I am not 100% sure which is the most popular design or if it just relates to something as simple as line length
     
  18. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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  19. westernrenown

    westernrenown New Member

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  20. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    The Great Orme is legally a tramway and not a cableway so has to comply with the relevant legislation. In the UK the following rail mounted cableways presently exist:
    Aberystwyth Cliff Railway
    Air Rail Link Birmingham International
    Babbacombe Cliff Railway
    Blists Hill Cableway
    Bridgnorth Cliff Railway
    Cairngorm Mountain Railway
    Central Tramway (Scarborough)
    Centre for Alternative Technology
    East Cliff Railway (Bournemouth)
    East Hill Hastings
    Legoland Windsor
    Lizard RNLI Cliff Railway
    Llechwedd Slate Caverns
    London Millennium Funicular
    Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway
    National Coal Mining Museum
    Saltburn Cliff Railway
    Shipley Glen Tramway
    South Cliff Lift (Scarborough)
    Southbourne Cliff Railway (B’mouth)
    Southend Cliff Railway
    Folkestone Leas Lift
    West Cliff Railway (Bournemouth)
    West Hill Hastings

    Not all of the above are currently operational.

    That's 24 in total. To put it in perspective, there are some 17,500 in Europe and 30,000 worldwide.
     
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