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European Railroad Discussion > Lisbon funicular question

Date: 05/31/20 14:08
Lisbon funicular question
Author: colehour

While watching and episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations on Lisbon, there were some shots of one of the funiculars. I was sturck by the fact that it had two overhead wires and two trolley poles as well as some odd looking track work. Apparently these cars use both a cable as well as traction motors. I was trying to figure out just how this works, but apparently the cable coordinates the uphill and downhill cars.

I looked for more information on this, but couldn't find much. I guess that with that arrangment there would be a problem using one of the rails as the ground, hence the two overhead wires.

Any more information on this interesting operation would be welcome. 

Unfortunately, although I spent about a day in Lisbon 20+ years ago, I did not ride any public transportation, given that we were on a tight schedule at the end of a tour. I spent a week in Portugal a few years later, but never got to Lisbon. Beautiful country and people. 

Date: 06/01/20 09:13
Re: Lisbon funicular question
Author: PHall

Overhead wire and trolley poles to provide power for lights?

Date: 06/01/20 09:51
Re: Lisbon funicular question
Author: 86235

The ascensors in Lisbon are powered by electric motors, hence the OHLE so they are not true funiculars, which are cable powered. Lisbon's are attached to a cable but that simply ensures the cars start at the same time from their respective termini. As you can see the Lisbon ascensor cars have the same sort of controller that you would find on a tram, this is the Lavra Ascensor.

Date: 06/01/20 10:39
Re: Lisbon funicular question
Author: colehour

Thanks for the information. Given the tracks I saw in the brief shot on TV, it looks like there must be some kind of passing track along the line where the cars pass one another, like some funiculars. Thus the need for some way of coordinating the movement of the cars: the cable.

The grades look pretty steep, but the traction motor propulsion obviously works, given how long they have been in service.

Date: 06/02/20 01:27
Re: Lisbon funicular question
Author: Hartington

Originally they were water powred. Tank under the passengers filled at the top, emptied at the bottom the two cars tied together by a rope going round a pulley at the top. There's one like that still running in the UK up the cliff between Lynton and Lynmouth.

Another unusual approach was the Wellington (NZ) cable car. These days a conventional funicular but origionally the two cars were tied with a rope like Lisbon but there was a second (moving) rope and, just like San Francisco a grip on the cars. Only one car took rope (can't remember whether it was up or down) and hauked the one in the opposite direction. I should add that when I say "cars" there was a grip vehicle and a trailer on each "train"..

Date: 07/03/20 13:45
Re: Lisbon funicular question
Author: Frank30

On the last picture, it looks as though there is a rack in the middle of the track, so this would be a cog railway?
The traction motor(s) are perhaps connected to the cog which gets the vehicle up and down. Any other thoughts
on this?

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