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Author Topic: Funicular Railway, Devil's Dyke  (Read 1649 times)
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pomme homme
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« on: February 02, 2013, 17:24:35 PM »

Between 1897 and 1907, on the north face of the South Downs, there existed something of a rarity in the south - a non cliff funicular railway. The 36 inch gauge 'Steep Grade Railway' was approximately 840 feet in length, rising some 700 feet from Poynings to Devil's Dyke. Its success - or lack of it - never matched its promoters' expectations, hence its short life. Evidence of it remains today, as can be seen in the photos at http://www.hows.org.uk/personal/rail/dd.htm. There are also some good photos at http://www.urban75.org/railway/devils-dyke.html. How pleasant it would be if, today, one could enjoy a pint at the Shepherd and Dog followed by a walk along the Downs without having to use shanks pony - or the car - to get from one to the other!  

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pomme homme
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2013, 17:29:58 PM »

A view of the top (Devil's Dyke) station. This image is taken from Lost Railways of Sussex by Leslie Oppitz. No indication is given of the date when the photograph was taken but I suspect that it was very early in the life of the funicular railway. If you contrast it to the picture in the first post, you will note that (1) there are no covered bodies to the cars, which are no more than platforms with wooden ballustrades and (2) the station infrastructure is much less extensive.

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helcion
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2013, 17:47:33 PM »

Pomme homme       -

Slightly mystified as to why both cars are at the top together
This is not normal on double-track funiculars !

Perhaps you are mistooken  [perish the thought !] & the cars are in fact underway & out of sight & what we are seeing are the boarding platforms.

Unless for some curious reason each car was individually hauled up & down, which seems rather unlikely.

Cheers

Helcion
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pomme homme
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2013, 17:58:04 PM »

"Unusually for a funicular-style railway, the track gradient was not constant so the two cars had to be run independently" (from http://www.urban75.org/railway/devils-dyke.html). But having looked at the photograph more closely, I think that your observation is correct, helcion, for I can see a car, with a canted roof, between the two wooden platforms - which are obviously just that!
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helcion
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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2013, 21:09:35 PM »

Pomme Homme     -

I'm sure that your quote re two independent cars on a varying grade is correct, but it is quite possible to operate a 'conventional' two-car funicular with varying gradients.

The Sandgate Hill lift, Folkestone, was one such line & opened in 1893, four years before the Devil's Dyke line.

The changing grade can be clearly seen on this postcard.   

Cheers

Helcion

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daveSea
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« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2013, 15:29:51 PM »

A couple more old photos giving different views

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Dave
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« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2013, 17:14:09 PM »

The trackline is still visible- probably more so at the moment with the ground drying
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pomme homme
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« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2014, 14:42:28 PM »

Another image, this one appearing in the Railway Magazine of October 1940.

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pomme homme
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« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2014, 18:18:51 PM »

A little technical history of the Steep Grade Railway - care of an article on cliff railways by P.W.Gentry that appeared in the August 1951 issue of the Railway Magazine.

'The last cliff railway to be built in England in the nineteenth century was that of the Brighton Dyke Steep Grade Railway Ltd., which was constructed with the object of improving transport facilities between Poynings and the summit of Devil's Dyke, near Brighton. The line, of which an illustration was published in The Railway Magazine for October, 1940, was laid with 35-lb. flat-bottom rail to the 3-ft. gauge on longitudinal timbers tied by cross transoms anchored to piles driven into the chalk. It was designed by Charles Blaber, of Brighton, and constructed by Courtney & Birkett, the Southwick yacht builders. The railway, which was 840 ft. long, was opened on July 24, 1897, and worked with two 14-seat cars built by the Ashbury Railway Carriage Company. Like the Sandgate Hill Lift, it had varying gradients, of which the steepest section was 1 in 1.5. A 25 h.p. Hornsby-Ackroyd oil engine provided the motive power and the cars were of somewhat crude appearance. Traffic did not come up to expectations and the railway was offered for sale by auction on December 13, 1900. It was withdrawn as the highest bid was only £390. The line continued in operation until about 1908. All equipment was removed by 1913.'
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pomme homme
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« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2017, 18:14:58 PM »

A side elevation drawing of one of the cars as appearing in The Engineer (date unknown).

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