Angel's Flight, The Incline, and other American Funiculars - myLargescale.com > Community > Forums


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Old 07-09-2014, 02:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Angel's Flight, The Incline, and other American Funiculars

Hi, all --

I spent several childhood years riding the Angel's Flight narrow gauge funicular railway in Los Angeles (pre-tear-down; stupidly redesigned rebuild; fatal accident; re-closure; second rebuild with different stupid design flaw; second non-fatal accident; and third closure), and am also a freelance modeller of Rock City atop Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee, home of The Incline Railway, a standard gauge funicular railway.

I am now considering the feasibility of modelling a G-scale narrow gauge funicular railway on my layout. My era is the 1920s-1930s, but in a setting that features older (e.g. 1900-1920) equipment as well.

I have seen HO-scale funiculars in operation, but i have never seen a G-scale one, hence my request for help.

First, i do have sufficient slope and will not need to perform any great feats of landscaping to achieve a constant angle.

Second, i know that there are several types of designs for cars on funicular railways; my interest is exclusively in those with inclined cars built and mounted at an angle.

European funicular railway; Nerobergbahn, Wiesbaden, Germany, built in 1888; water-powered (!):




American funicular; original Angel's Flight, built in 1901, Los Angeles:




Third, I realize that The Lookout Mountain Incline would be more true to the rural and forested ET&WNC prototypes on which i have based the rest of my layout, and that the OLD Incline cars are much nicer than the current model of "urban-bus-like" cars ...

The original Incline Railway, Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, built in 1895; seating is inclined but the car is not:




Second incarnation of trolley-style incline-built cars on The Incline Railway:




Modern (ugly) bus-style cars on The Incline:



.... but Angel's Flight, with its orange and black livery, stair-stepped windows, and fabulous entrance portals, is just "prettier" to me, so i hope to give my funicular cars its basic look.

Angel's Flight in its current position (post 2001) in Los Angeles, with restored portal:




So, now to my questions are:

Are there any ready-to-run European funiculars, for instance from LGB, or must the entire system by hand-built?

(Note that i am not a mechanism-freak -- the model need not actually BE a funicular, just look and operate as one -- battery power or R/C would be fine, even though the rest of my line is track-power.)

If a ready-to-run European-style G-scale set-up exists, could it be kit-bashed to run inclined American-style cars?

If a ready-to-run European-style G-scale set-up exists, is there a builder who could be hired to do the kit-bashing?

All hints, clues, experiences, and pointers to articles on G-scale funicular railways will be gratefully accepted by this newbie non-builder.

Thanks!

cat
ET&WNC
The East Tennessee and Western Northern California Railroad
"Future Home of Angel's Flight? -- Well, Let's See About That!"
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Old 07-09-2014, 02:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You might want to check out this site for inspiration: http://www.davebodnar.com/railway/incline/index.htm. And then there is this little gem from the 2013 National Garden Railway Convention held in Cincinnati -


Scott

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Old 07-09-2014, 02:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think your best bet would be a gravity assisted cable powered system. With 2 cars of equal weight all you need power is the cable that connects them.The cable wrapped around a capstan of a small stationary motor, hidden in the track structure.
LGB did a cog railway, there may be cars you can adapt, Chuck N should chime in soon, he had that set.
Good Luck
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Old 07-09-2014, 02:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you so much for that link, Scott.

Wow! What a thorough and well-illustrated article! Thanks. This is world-class modelling, and a one-off, obviously. It uses horizontally-oriented cars (modelled from the Duquesne Incline prototype) rather than inclined cars (ala Angel's Flight), but the principles are the same.

Yes, Totalwrecker, the LGB cog railway is what i was thinking of.

cat
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Old 07-09-2014, 03:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Catherine, I like funicular railways too and try to ride them when the opportunity presents. I have been on on ones in Paris, Lisbon, Niagara Falls, Pittsburgh and the Isle of Capri, if that gives you any idea of my interest.

Above is a shot of the faux G scale one I saw in operation at the Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania. It is just a couple of Aristo Eggliners with a reversing mechanism. Certainly not completely authentic, but it gives the impression.
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Old 07-09-2014, 03:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think this is a great idea and look forward to what you come up with. The mechanism can be a simple 555 chip that throws a relay to reverse the current to a motor/capstan and you could even use one of the commercially available units if you didn't want to make your own.
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Old 07-09-2014, 03:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Cat:

John is correct. I did have an LGB cog point to point running on my layout in Denver. I ran the electric FO engine from the overhead wire. I was very pleased with its operation. I believe that I only had it push/pull one car (2 axle coach) up and down. I had a timing circuit that reversed the polarity on the track so it was automatic. I also put a 10 ohm resister across a gap in the track about a foot before the diodes at each end. The resister slowed the engine by about half before it reached the diode and stopped. I did not care for the sudden stop from full speed at the end.

I also beveled the cogs in the rack at each end of the rack section. I think that I filed it down for about an inch. This prevented a bump when the gear on the engine engaged with the teeth on the rack.

This is not a funicular, but it did climb a grade between the two levels of my layout. I tended to run LGB European trains on the upper loop and LGB American rolling stock on the lower level. I called the cog train the Trans-Atlantic express.

If you go this route, don't make it too steep or pull too many cars. I believe the my rise was about 1.5' over a run of about 10-15'. We moved from Denver in 1993, so my memory is a little fuzzy.

Stan Cedarleaf has had to replace some of the gears on his LGB cog engine, his grade may have been steeper than mine, or maybe he was pulling a heavier load.

If you have access to older GARDEN RAILWAYS issues, you will see an article on my Denver layout in the January/February 1990 issue.

Chuck



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Old 07-09-2014, 04:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I would suggest thinking of something along the lines of Court Flight, Angels Flights lesser known rival

http://www.kcet.org/updaily/socal_fo...uniculars.html

Its very much inline with the flavor of Angels Flights but the trackwork would be much easier to build. Not sure how to suggest doing the motive system, the LGB rack system would probably work but that system is expensive and now harder to find here in the US. A cable/drum system could be built but I'm not enough of an engineer to suggest how.
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Old 07-09-2014, 05:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I use one of these to run my Rigiduo out to the island. A belt runs a 3-1/2" stainless steel 2-groove pulley. A pulley mounted to a tower takes care of the other end. The line is 80# test fishing line with a few pieces of Malibu cable insulation strung on it before the ends are tied. Then I just set the Rididuo cars on these insulation strips and the strips pinch the fishing line enough to prevent slippage.

There is no reason this could not be done just keeping the pulley/cable at /near ground level.

Get a couple cheap Bachmann coaches and cut them into sections on a band saw. Reassemble the sections, stepped, and add a new fašade to the area below the windows that has an angled appearance to suit the slope.

When the cable car comes into the platform, it presses a switch that disengages the power so the cars stop. But reverse power can still make its way through a diode, so they restart when the circuit reverses current.

If I had the proper slope, I'd do it.
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Old 07-09-2014, 05:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Ooops.

http://www.goldmine-elec-products.co...?number=G15642
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