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Thursday, 23 May 2013

London Funicular Railway / Millennium Inclinator

In a nutshell

Gauge:         1 metre

Length:        26.85m

Opened:       5 December 2003


View Narrow Gauge Railways in a larger map


Date of visit: 16 May 2013


Key Facts

  • The railway has a gradient of 13.6°
  • It was constructed by Maspero Elevatori of Italy
  • It is electrically powered with a speed of 0.5m/s and a maximum capacity of four passengers weighing 700kg
  • Although it resembles an inclined lift and is referred to as 'an inclinator', it can just about be classed as a funicular railway, hence its inclusion in this blog.



View The Millennium Inclinator in a larger map

My Impressions

Having walked along the South Bank from Westminster, we had a pleasant cup of tea in the cafe on the top floor of the Tate Modern. This gave us a fine view of the Millennium Bridge and a tantalising glimpse of the Millennium Inclinator at its far end.

After crossing the bridge the inclinator hove into view on the right hand side. The cabin looked very much like a lift cubicle and on closer inspection the track appeared to be flat steel.

Looking down the track the guides for the cable can be seen on the centre, there appears to be a guide rail to the right of centre and at the edge is a folding cable guide.

Travelling down the inclinator takes around a minute - with the same sort of announcements one hears in a lift (or elevator).

The view from the bottom of the inclinator shows its proximity to St Paul's Cathedral. I waited around for a good ten minutes or so but no one seemed interested in taking a ride in the inclinator - and so I decided to make a return trip

From documents posted on the web, it would appear that the inclinator experienced some operational problems in its early days. It was certainly working faultlessly on the day I visited. The system seems uncomplicated and given that it seems to have very little use, one must assume that it will continue to give fairly reliable service.


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