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How a funicular works

The cable is attached to the car with the yellow fastener. At the left is John Andersson, engine attendant at the funicular at Skansen.
The cable is attached to the car with the yellow fastener. At the left is John Andersson, engine attendant at the funicular at Skansen.

Brakes
Funicular safety is excellent, not least because they are equipped with multiple braking systems, mechanical, electrical and manual, which work independently of each other.

Sensors
Immediately before each station are sensors that detect when a car arrives. These can be magnetic contacts, mechanical contacts or photo-electric cells. When a car arrives at the right point at the station, the sensors detect this and the motor slows down, braking the car gently and smoothly to a stop.

Cable brakes
The cables that connect the two cars are fastened underneath each car. The fastener includes a device that senses whether the cable is tensioned. If the cable should become slack for any reason, that car's emergency brakes are applied immediately. A tensioned cable thus releases the brakes on the cars.

Sling weights
Sling weights are attached to the motor's driving axle in the machine room. These weights stop the entire machinery if the motor should start running too fast for any reason.

Door brakes
Some funiculars, like the one at Skansen, also have sensors on the door edges that sense when a door is blocked or open. This applies the brakes for the entire line.
 

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© Text och photo: Bruse LF Persson
 

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