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    • December 3, 2019 1:13 PM EST
    • Found this video about the funicular at Catalina Island. It had track on each side of a ridge to transport passengers up and over it. 

    • December 3, 2019 12:14 PM EST
    • I don't think we should get too hung up on terminology and classifications since people seem to use all these terms differently and interchangeably.


      When I saw both artist renderings of the single track thing in Provincetown my first thought was what makes it run?  I doubt the artist made a mistake and neglected to add a second track. To make the analysis more challenging, finer details are lacking. So, assuming a single track was intended, I have came up with four different possible ways it could work based on these renderings.


      1.  Months ago, I copied this diagram of a very simple but very unusual way to make a two track funicular with two counter-balanced cars connected together.  I think it was in some article on mining where there was no gear room- just a pulley. One track would climb up one side of a hill where the pulley or Gear Room is located, and the other track goes down the other side of the hill!  Since we don't see what is behind the hill in the architect's rendering, there could be another track and boarding station on the other side. I know of no funicular anywhere that is built like this. Of course, I don't really think this is the case in Provincetown, but I just had a Colombo moment I had to share!



      2. It could be a cog railway since you can't see any detail in the renderings.  I also doubt this is the case because everybody knows what a cog railway is, and they would call it that if it was.  You can't confuse a cog railway with a funicular. But they call theirs a funicular so it can't be a cog railway.


      3. It could be what some people call an inclined elevator (like the one at the Luxor in Las Vegas).  In this case it would have a single car with a counter balance heavy weight. The weight could hang vertically in a shaft at the top or slide on inclined rails located UNDERNEATH the tracks, hidden from view.  This is possible, but again, unlikely.


      4. My best guess is that it is a single car system pulled by cable on a single track with no counterbalance.  This would make it a large version of the G-Scale model Todd was considering.  It would need a good motor winch and a cable spool.


       p.s. I've worked with many architects and often if the owner wants a sundial on their building they will draw anything they want that looks good to them.  Often they make these renderings before all the technical details have been worked out.  For all we know, the architects themselves don't even have the technical drawings yet and the artist had little information to work on.



    • December 3, 2019 11:36 AM EST
    • Greg Elmassian said:

      Reading the articles, it was mentioned that the vertical elevation to be covered is only 80 feet... I guess it is a short distance horizontally?




       Yes but the road that we now walk on to get up and down to the museum and tower is pretty steep.  Provincetown is a tourist destination for tens of thousands of people in the Summer and with this conveyance the museum and tower will be better connected to the town and make it more accessible to the people.  At only 80' maybe they will have just one car like that is shown in the renderings.  Either way it is exciting and I'm looking forward to riding it this Summer.  

    • December 3, 2019 11:20 AM EST
    • Reading the articles, it was mentioned that the vertical elevation to be covered is only 80 feet... I guess it is a short distance horizontally?



    • December 3, 2019 10:18 AM EST
    • Greg Elmassian said:

      that link takes you to a page full of images in bing...


      By the way, Wikipedia is a volunteer organization and is NOT always correct. The dictionaries define funicular as a cable car pulled up an incline....



      So, wikipedia extends the definition... but they are not the final authority, so Provincetown can relax.





      I should have been more clear.  The link brought you to an architects rendering of the proposed funicular at the base of the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown Ma.   Here is a link to a newspaper story about it and one of those drawings.  Perhaps there will be 2 cars but the rendering only shows one that is what has me questioning if there will be 2 to make it a true balanced funicular and not just some run of the mill cable car.   Still I think it is really neat that they are building one of these.  The walk up the hill to the museum and tower is a real workout.

    • December 3, 2019 9:36 AM EST
    • Whatever....................

    • December 3, 2019 8:35 AM EST
    • Countersunk or round head? 

    • December 3, 2019 2:13 AM EST
    • Rivit counters..................bah!...................

    • December 2, 2019 8:46 PM EST
    • So I had to look. Indenting and emphasis by moi.



      • funicular[ fyoo-nik-yuh-ler]
        • adjective
        • of or relating to a rope or cord, or its tension.
        • worked by a rope or the like.
      • funicular railway
        • noun
        • a short, very steep railway having two parallel sets of tracks, upon each of which runs a car or train raised or lowered by means of a cable that simultaneously lowers or raises the other car or train in such a way that the two are approximately counterbalanced.


      • funicular
        • adjective 
        • fu·​nic·​u·​lar | \ fyu̇-ˈni-kyə-lər , fə-\
        • Definition of funicular (Entry 1 of 2)
          • 1: having the form of or associated with a cord usually under tension
          • 2[New Latin funiculus] : of, relating to, or being a funiculus
          • 3: of, relating to, or being a funicular
          • a funicular system
      • funicular
        • noun
        • Definition of funicular (Entry 2 of 2)
          • a cable railway ascending a mountain
          • especially: one in which an ascending car counterbalances a descending car



      It appears that funicular firstly describes the tension of a cable hauling the car; and both one and two car systems are therefore described. 


      However, funicular "especially" refers to a counterbalancing pair of cars. Not due to linguistics, but apparently just usage.


      I always thought it was just the counterbalanced cars, but there ya go.


    • December 2, 2019 8:10 PM EST
    • I thought you turned your own wheels. Fender washers for outside flanges, brilliant!

    • December 2, 2019 7:39 PM EST
    • I made this for the TooMuchFun Railroad.  Now has the Wizard in a balloon on one side and the Wicked Witch of the West on the other.  Same concept.


      Works the same way as a simple reversing unit just using a 555 chip.  The trick was how to trip the switches.


    • December 2, 2019 7:39 PM EST
    • that link takes you to a page full of images in bing...


      By the way, Wikipedia is a volunteer organization and is NOT always correct. The dictionaries define funicular as a cable car pulled up an incline....



      So, wikipedia extends the definition... but they are not the final authority, so Provincetown can relax.





    • December 2, 2019 6:30 PM EST
    • Hmm  2 cars make a funicular while one car is a cable car .  I think someone should tell Provincetown that they are calling their people mover by the wrong name because it looks like their plan has only one car.

      Funicular = Fascinating stuff.



    • December 2, 2019 11:06 AM EST
    • Note: I have expanded the list of Funicular Parts and Suppliers in my post above and added some useful comments for each part.


      Now I need to reply to questions some of you have asked in your posts:


      1. Greg asked: Do you have a diagram of the original ABT switch layout? From reading the document, it appears you have made the improved version.

      Answer: No.  In fact I could not find ANY track diagrams of any real or model funicular.  The only track diagram I could find was a rough pencil sketch that showed an impossible and incorrect ABT switch.  Diagrams must exist in some library somewhere. Mr. ABT's improved design from 1890 is much better and smoother. than his original. This is precisely the reason I am posting my drawings- especially of the ABT passing switch and two rail track.  I highly suggest that if you plan on making a G-Scale Funicular with the ABT switch that you use my proven design and that you email me off-line at to request the high resolution, full-size PDF original.  I'll email you the copy. Just give a digital copy to your local blueprint printer company and tell them to print out a couple of full-size copies on white bond paper.  Use this as a template for bending and cutting the track.  This copy also shows the best locations for tie placement.  You can change the design if you want by lengthening the track (wouldn't a twenty foot track look cool!), or you can add two straight sections of track in the middle of the switch in order to use longer cars.  If the cars are too long for the switch, they will hit collide in the switch's curves!  That's why I used mini flat cars as bases of the cars.


      2. Cliff asked: John, in view of wheel flanges being only on one side, and the angle of the operation, how's the behavior of your cars? Like, do they want to stay firmly against the rail without bouncing, especially when going over the switches? Did you have to weight them down a lot?  Just curious.

      Answer: Great question. Because I used the big heavy solid steel Bachmann wheelsets, they have large flanges anyway.  The fender washers I used for the outside flanges are even a teensy bit wider than the Bachmann flanges. So since the cars and wheels are heavy, and the flanges are big, there is no problem with them staying where they belong.  You want a low center of gravity.  Also, by locating the cable hooks as low as possible (below the railtops), you avoid the sideways pull of a cable that is attached too high.


      3. Todd Haskins said: After hearing about this project I thought about building one for my RR but I really don't have a place for it. It wouldn't be near as complex as your with just one car.

      Comment: According to Wikipedia, I don't think a single car hoist would qualify as a funicular because ALL funiculars have two cars.  I'm thinking it would be classified as a cable car.  One of the great things about funiculars is that both cars weigh the same and are connected to the same cable so that they balance each other out.  This permits use of a smaller motor (or water tanks as David mentioned) since it does not really need to lift much weight.  The only thing the motor needs to overcome is friction on the gears, pulleys and cable guards.  It doesn't lift anything.  Your cable car would need a wind-up spool for the cable, a strong motor for lifting, and probably a different gear arrangement.  If you want a real funicular that's easier to build, you should consider a 4 rail (two track) funicular.  No complicated passing switch is needed.


      Here is a fantastic 4 rail Large Scale model at Bekonscot Model Village that uses the weight of water to go up and down.  I LOVE his ingenious automatic water drain in the bottom station.  So good! Some sort of speed brake or governor is apparently used. 

      And here's another water powered model:  This one hits hard at the bottom! Unfortunately, there is no braking mechanism on this one as on a real water powered funicular, so the model cars come to a rather abrupt stop.  If the track were longer, the gravity induced higher speed might cause collision damage from the bumpers.

      And here is a similar real one at Lea's Lift in Flokestone:  Believe me, this one has brakes!  Notice the cog teeth used for braking in the track next to the cable. A brake wheel in each car controlled by a brakeman who engages the braking mechanism in the car with the cogs.


      Personally, I would stay away from a water powered model because of the problems of rust, ice, mosquitoes, speed control and braking.


      And finally this one.  It's a nice four railer driven by electric motor.  My only comments are that it lacks a delay at the station stops and the cable speed is little too fast.  Braking is not needed with a G-Scale motor driven funicular.  You control speed with a throttle and/or gear arrangement.  See:

    • December 2, 2019 6:30 AM EST
    • Todd most funiculars have 2 cars to counterbalance each other. I even remember reading about one that had water tanks in the under-frames of the cars. The one at the top would have the water tank filled, and the one at the bottom would have the tank emptied, then gravity would pull the heavier car down while lifting the lighter car up. The hoist house only had to  have the equipment to fill the car with water, and braking equipment to control the speed and stop the cars at their appropriate places.

    • December 1, 2019 10:04 AM EST
    • Nicely done John.  In a town near me they have been talking about building a Funicular to bring people up a steep hill to a museum.  I don't think they have broken ground on it yet but the last time I was up there they did have surveyors flags in place.  I think the town is getting push back from abutters.  

      After hearing about this project I thought about building one for my RR but I really don't have a place for it. It wouldn't be near as complex as your with just one car.  


      Yours looks great.

    • December 1, 2019 3:13 AM EST
    • We got pretty proficient at that working for the phone company. We had a 1/8" peanut line used to pull aerial cable through rear property. After awhile the loop in the end would start to get frayed, and we have to make up a new one. And once in awhile the 1/2" winch line in the bed of the truck would need to have it done. That was a 3 person job.

    • November 30, 2019 9:26 PM EST
    • John, These are the instructions as per the Forestry Forum;

      "You start with a clean end on your cable.   Split and unwind the cable so that you end up with say 3 strands on one side and 4 strands on the other (seven strand is pretty common).   Unwind enough so that you get the loop size you want.  You want the ends of your strands to stop just inside of the loop.  You can check roughly by just bending the two sides to form a loop.  Make sure the strands in the two sides are wrapped tight, you should notice a spiral in the strands.  This spiral is what is going to lock the two sides together when you wrap them back together.   Bend the two sides together and start wrapping them back together at the top of the loop, working your way down both sides toward the bottom of the loop (cable).  You have to wrap the two sides ( groups of strands) so the spirals fit together.  If the spirals don't fit, you need to wrap in the opposite direction.   I've used this with a lot of cable and never had it fail.  Braiding cable is easier than braiding most ropes...  you don't have to worry as much about securing the ends of the strands."



    • November 30, 2019 12:22 PM EST
    • Hi John,


      Thanks for the kind words and explaining that what's around the braid is a tube.  That makes sense.  Just for fun and my own education, I think I will attempt to braid a piece of spare 1/32" cable.  I'm thinking I'll need to put on my jeweler's glasses because the little individual strands are as thin as a human hair!  I suppose instead of a tube, one could use shrink wrap instead for a tighter wrap.  It might even be thinner than a tube.  A dab of super glue on the braid before wrapping couldn't hurt.


      Stay tuned, I'm preparing for everybody a list of important parts suppliers with links, prices and descriptions....