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Monday, 22 March 2010

Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway



In many parts of the country, the twin towns of Lynton and Lynmouth would probably have merged into one urban sprawl by now. Indeed, the horizontal distance between them is very little - but Lynton is 500ft higher, up a very steep hillside.

Thankfully (to save our legs) the Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway runs a tiny train line between the two towns:

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This is a train like none I've seen before. It was built in Victorian times and has run up and down the hillside, several times a day, ever since. It has tracks, but it also has cables to pull the carriages up.

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When the train runs, one carriage goes up while the other goes down. The tracks spread apart a little in the middle to allow them to pass one another.

The most interesting feature (in my opinion, at least) is the method of power. The train is green in more ways than one, because it's powered by water! In the space underneath each carriage is a large water tank, which is filled at the top, and emptied at the bottom. When the brakes are taken off, the weight difference causes one carriage to slide down the tracks, winching the other one up.

It also moves surprisingly fast... you expect it to be a slow, gentle ride but it whooshes up the hillside. Definitely a fun way of getting from A to B.

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21 comments:

Kirsty said...

That is amazing - and what a clever way to power it. nowadays people wouldn't even think of that would they? they'd just shove an engine or electricity under it. I definitely want to visit it now!

mel said...

wow, that is really cute - and ingenious!
it's amazing what can be done with levers and pulleys, etc. kudos to this inventor.

lakeviewer said...

What a delightful way to move folks around, and green too.

Tabor said...

I love when something is both fun and green!!

Hayley said...

Ohhh I miss Devon even more so having read that! I LOVE that little Railway! Its so cool and so unique! Its wonderful!

Elle said...

What a fun and interesting post! The power system for the train is quite clever, but I'd probably be a little nervous riding it; the hill looks quite steep!

Mo said...

What a cool little train. Must visit this area for an adventure

liliannattel said...

How ingenious! But I think I'd rather walk down.

Chef E said...

I have actually seen one, and thought it was so cool! I think one was used in a movie before, there you go add it to a script girl!

Fly Girl said...

An eco-friendly train is ingenius! I'd love to take a ride on that.

Midday Escapades said...

I was be so scared to get on one. I'm such a wimp. It's very cool though how they built it. Just amazing.

cait said...

This is so neat! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! :)

Kimberly said...

What a neat cart. Thanks for sharing this along with the history. Perfect!

Bagman and Butler said...

Whooeee! The second shot gave me vertigo. Love it!

Kel said...

That looks like so much fun! It reminds me of when we lived in Europe. Everything seemed so much more simple, pure, and beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

Janean said...

scary, but beautiful. i've been on a tram like this and if you don't think about the distance straight down, it's loads of fun!

Tracie said...

I've ridden a similar train in Pittsburg, PA. I don't know if it's powered the same way or not. Very fun ride.

arlee bird said...

I believe this is what is called a "funicular railway" or an incline railway. There is one here in Los Angeles that just reopened recently after being closed for a few years. It had broken loose somehow and crashed, killing an old man. The one here in L.A. is much shorter than the one you show.

I recall riding one of these in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania when I was a child back in the late 50s-- it was probably as long as the L & L. The water powered feature sounds pretty unique.

Enjoyed the description and pictures.

Lee

carma said...

Are you sure that thing is sturdy???? Looks like quite a drop. Might have to close my eyes.

Salamandergrey said...

Came to say thank you for stopping on my blog yesterday.

A 2 Z said...

Hi Rachel,

I would definitely try it. Anything to save some steps when I'm trying to go sightseeing. Take care.

Anne-Marie

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