At the end of the working day, a bell is sounded at the lower station to advise intending passengers that the last lift is about to leave. The bell has an interesting history rescued from a Scandinavian vessel Talga. The bell is rung by the operator in the bottom station 30 minutes and 15 minutes before the last trip.

The first sub-level of the machine room houses the control panel and the hoist rope diverters. The hoist ropes are arranged in a double wrap arrangement, which means that they pass around the traction sheave twice. This is required so that adequate traction can be afforded between the hoist ropes and the sheave itself to be able to move the two lift cars. Because of the way the ropes pay off, traction sheave offset rope diverters are installed. To the uninitiated, these may appear to be leaning and incorrectly fitted but to an appreciative eye, this is actually correct  engineering. There is another set of ropes attached to the bottom end of each of the lift cars, which travel over a set of diverter sheaves located under the bottom station. These ropes, known as compensating ropes, are there to maintain a balance between the two lift cars during travel.

If you can imagine a lift car at the bottom without the compensating ropes, there would be the weight of the lift car, its load and four 718 ft hoist ropes to overcome, with assistance given only by the weight of the upper car and its load going down. In this situation the power demanded of the motor would vary during the ride and by fitting the compensating ropes there is a continuous loop of ropes, which means that the only differential in weight between the two cars during travel is the number of people in them.

When the cars were replaced, the original seven-window design was replaced with five windows, giving views. Ramps were added to secure the doors at each end of the cars during travel and to assist people with wheelchairs and pushchairs negotiating the gap between the car and the landing at each station.

The ramps at the bottom are steeper because the cars arrive slightly higher against the bottom station. The reason for this is that in an earlier refurbishment the track was relayed and left about 9″ higher at the bottom than it was originally. Compare the doorways at the top and bottom when you ride.


  • Two cars of traditional funicular design with a 40-person standing capacity
  • 720-foot (220 m) track with a 5 ft 8 in (1,727 mm) gauge
  • Rated speed of 2.5 metres per second (8.2 ft/s)
  • Drive equipment located at the top station
  • Direct current wattage drive system, incorporating a servomotor-operated controller
  • Hoisting ropes attached to upper ends of car chassis, supplemented by a compensating rope system to load balance for car position on track

Links: Wikipedia