HOW THE TRAMWAY WORKS

The Central Tramway is a funicular railway. The principle of a funicular railway is that two carriages are permanently attached to each other by means of steel hauling ropes, or cables. The cables run over a central pulley (see photo 1), with deep grooves cut into the pulley which is driven by a motor. The diameter of this pulley is seven feet. The two carriages counterbalance each other, as one ascends, the other descends and vice versa. The weight of the carriages pulls the steel cables into the grooves in the main pulley, giving the necessary traction in order to prevent the cables slipping on the pulley.


THIS DIAGRAM APPEARS AT THE TOP AND BOTTOM STATIONS AND IS REPRODUCED HERE
BY KIND PERMISSION OF 
RICHARD PALMER

The Central Tramway has two tracks running between Marine Parade in the centre of Scarborough at the top station, and Foreshore Road, on the South Bay beach at the bottom station. The tracks are 234 feet long and the gradient of the incline is 1 in 2.8.



The Tramway has an electronically controlled drive system, which picks up signals from the carriages passing over the track. This system was newly installed for the opening of the 2009 season. The new system incorporates important safety features including controlled slowing and stopping of the carriages into the stations.

The system is driven by a 60 horsepower electric motor, which drives a David Brown 17 inch gear box, which in turn drives the main pulley.


The 4 hauling cables, attached to the two carriages, are special high strength “Dyform” cables, each one 20 mm thick, with a breaking strength of  32 tons. Therefore the four cables are capable of carrying 128 tons. The two carriages, when fully loaded can weigh up to 7.5 tons each, i.e. 15 tons in total. Well within the capacity of  the 128 ton breaking strength.