Funicular goods railway - help!!

Funicular goods railway - help!!

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Discussion

oliverhanmer

Original Poster:

42 posts

116 months

Monday 25th August 2014
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Hi. This is my first post so please bear with me. We have moved into a house on the side of a hill. It has 90 steps from the street level to the house. The previous owners had installed a funicular goods railway to bring up shopping and other stuff or to lower garden waste etc to the street level. The railway no longer works and we are keen to get it fixed. The motor is beyond repair and the electrics (running from a single phase) are also ruined through water ingress. The two chains that sit inside the tracks and which, powered by the motor, control the trolley up and down the hill.

There are, it seems to me anyway, two options;

1 - replace the motor,electrics and chain and start again - I'd need someone to do that for me so in addition to the hardware there would be labour costs too
2 - buy a mains powered winch but, whilst I can see how this works bringing the trolley up the slope, I'm not sure how they work in controlling the descent of the trolley down the slope. There are loads of winches on the market at differing prices depending on load capacity etc but I can't get my head around which one would be best if any of them.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the above or alternative suggestions. I've been scratching my head on this one since we moved in a few months ago so any help would be gratefully received.

Thanks very much and sorry for the long message.

Fatboy

7,976 posts

272 months

Monday 25th August 2014
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Sounds interesting - can't offer much to help, but if you post up some photos of the motor, mechanism and control gear you'll probably get some helpful replies - always amazes me what people on here know smile

Simpo Two

85,358 posts

265 months

Monday 25th August 2014
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90 steps... I'd get a bigger motor and trolley and take myself up!

TVR keith

1,341 posts

222 months

Monday 25th August 2014
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You say the motor is beyond repair but have you sought the opinion of an expert?
A trawl of the net should find someone in your area who rebuilds/rewinds electric motors/starter motors etc;
May be worth a try

jamesc_1729

468 posts

189 months

Monday 25th August 2014
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Sounds fascinating. Definitely pics of house and railway please!

A winch is a good idea - they normally have a reverse which will give the controlled descent, certainly on 4x4 mounted ones.

jamesc_1729

468 posts

189 months

Monday 25th August 2014
quotequote all
Sounds fascinating. Definitely pics of house and railway please!

A winch is a good idea - they normally have a reverse which will give the controlled descent, certainly on 4x4 mounted ones.

oliverhanmer

Original Poster:

42 posts

116 months

Monday 25th August 2014
quotequote all
Yes I took the motor to a specialist who told me it couldn't be fixed. The steps keep you fit although I've often thought about turning it into a people carrying railway! I'll just focus for now on getting the thing working!

Any views on the winch idea?

oliverhanmer

Original Poster:

42 posts

116 months

Monday 25th August 2014
quotequote all
I'll take some photos and post them once it stops raining!

h8tax

440 posts

143 months

Monday 25th August 2014
quotequote all
You can get a mains powered winch (including remote control models) which will do what you require - but the limitation may be in the drum size - if you need a long cable you need a big enough drum to fit all the cable on. Machine mart do a very wide selection. They are powered both in and out, so don't 'freewheel'.

My concern with one of these would be longevity - it sounds like you might be using it a lot, and a good one could cost several hundred. You might be better off getting an industrial motor and gearbox for longer service life, but it would mean more use of professionals to wire up etc.

The advantage of the winch is that you could easily do a diy install - just plug in and go.

PoleDriver

28,634 posts

194 months

Monday 25th August 2014
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Where in the country are you? wink

Renovation

1,763 posts

121 months

Monday 25th August 2014
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Winches tend to be geared to pull high loads, very slowly, if you had one you could gear it up - but why not just buy a suitable motor ?

Simpo Two

85,358 posts

265 months

Monday 25th August 2014
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Or you take a leaf from the canal engineeers and have a counterweight, greatly reducing the size/power of the motor needed.

oliverhanmer

Original Poster:

42 posts

116 months

Monday 25th August 2014
quotequote all
Thanks this is all very helpful. I'm in Caterham, Surrey. The railway is 35metres so the drum will need to be pretty large. I've been quoted just over £1200 for a suitable sized winch and rope from a specialist lifting company.

I've not ruled out getting a new motor but with that comes the cost of new electrics and a new chain - it's rusted through lack of maintenance - so that's 70m of chain, a new motor and electrics and someone to install it all. The winch is probably cheaper all in - I reckon I can get a decent one for less than quoted - and it will be easier to fit and to maintain in the future.

I've also thought about the counter balance idea but wasn't sure based on what I have in place how that would work.

I'll get some photos up ASAP.

Thanks again.

Kinky

39,550 posts

269 months

Tuesday 26th August 2014
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There are some well known and respected PHers who may be able to assist. I'll point them this way smile

carreauchompeur

17,839 posts

204 months

Tuesday 26th August 2014
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The winch sounds very much like the best option, I would also quote for uprating it to carry people though!

cptsideways

13,544 posts

252 months

Tuesday 26th August 2014
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Nice big V8 winch system would be cool smile


Have a look at marine windlass's (anchor chain/rope winches) waterproof simple to operate & will do the job quite well I should imagine.

dickymint

24,269 posts

258 months

Tuesday 26th August 2014
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Second hand stair lifts can be bought for about £250 - can't find any prices for track though. Might be worth investigating?

Simpo Two

85,358 posts

265 months

Tuesday 26th August 2014
quotequote all
dickymint said:
Second hand stair lifts can be bought for about £250 - can't find any prices for track though. Might be worth investigating?
Rather slow for 90m though - unless you can chip it...

oliverhanmer

Original Poster:

42 posts

116 months

Tuesday 26th August 2014
quotequote all
Thanks again everyone. It's still lashing it down so difficult to take any decent photos. I've looked at motors and reckon I can get a standard single phase one for about £200. That needs to be wired in with a two way switch. I then need 70metres of roller chain in order for the motor to drive the trolley up and down. No idea how much that costs. I'd definitely need professional help with that option. A winch seems easiest and I could fit that with some help from a friend - are they all mains powered? Most seem to be intended for fitting on 4x4s and presumably run through the car's battery....? I looked at windlass. They look really cool but couldn't work out how they'd fit with what I have in mind but that is probably my ignorance. Stair lift! Interestingly some one else on my road has installed a full lift but I think that's a little OTT for me. Could someone recommend a suitable winch? - there are hundreds out there.

I think that a winch with wireless remote sounds sensible - I just need to work out how the trolley would fit on the tracks if it's not relying on the roller chain to pull it up and down - the trolley fits on to the chain at the moment. I think I just need to attach small wheels to the trolley to fit into the runner where the chain is.

I'll send photos when this damned rain stops but thanks everyone for your help. It's much appreciated.

Davel

8,982 posts

258 months

Tuesday 26th August 2014
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Is there no local engineering company who could restore what you've already got?

Just replace the bits that you have to?

Any idea how old it is?