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1
The Gravity Railroad of Reading, PA
The Gravity Railroad of Reading, PA
::2010/09/28::
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2
Lackawanna Gravity Railroad quad ride
Lackawanna Gravity Railroad quad ride
::2008/07/06::
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3
The Crookedest Railroad - Mount Tamalpais (Mt Tam) - The Gravity Railroad, 1917 - Silent
The Crookedest Railroad - Mount Tamalpais (Mt Tam) - The Gravity Railroad, 1917 - Silent
::2013/02/01::
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4
Metal Detecting a Gravity Railroad
Metal Detecting a Gravity Railroad
::2014/09/18::
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[Mount Tamalpais Gravity Railroad] 1917
[Mount Tamalpais Gravity Railroad] 1917
::2014/02/27::
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Mount  Tamalpais Gravity Railroad.mp4 1917
Mount Tamalpais Gravity Railroad.mp4 1917
::2012/12/26::
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The Gravity Railroad in Reading
The Gravity Railroad in Reading
::2012/03/23::
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Switchback Gravity Railroad Trail (1)
Switchback Gravity Railroad Trail (1)
::2013/09/22::
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9
Lackawanna Gravity Railroad quad ride 2
Lackawanna Gravity Railroad quad ride 2
::2008/07/06::
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10
Switchback Gravity Railroad Trail (2)
Switchback Gravity Railroad Trail (2)
::2013/09/22::
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11
the old gravity railroad tunnel
the old gravity railroad tunnel
::2010/12/18::
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12
GRAVITY RAILROAD
GRAVITY RAILROAD
::2011/01/15::
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13
Atv gravity railroad
Atv gravity railroad
::2011/04/23::
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14
Atv gravity railroad tunnel
Atv gravity railroad tunnel
::2011/04/23::
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Mill Valley Railroad Gravity Car Dedication
Mill Valley Railroad Gravity Car Dedication
::2012/08/26::
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16
RailRoad Tank car for Modeling on you model Railroad
RailRoad Tank car for Modeling on you model Railroad
::2011/08/07::
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17
Railroad Boxcar in Siding
Railroad Boxcar in Siding
::2011/08/07::
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18
High Water - Railroad Song
High Water - Railroad Song
::2013/10/01::
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19
Human-powered railroad car workout
Human-powered railroad car workout
::2011/06/13::
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20
Mt. Tamalpais & Muir Woods Railroad, 1926
Mt. Tamalpais & Muir Woods Railroad, 1926
::2011/10/18::
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21
Railfan with a police scanner (a "How to" guide) Uniden radioshack
Railfan with a police scanner (a "How to" guide) Uniden radioshack
::2009/03/21::
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Train hitting a switch HARD!!!
Train hitting a switch HARD!!!
::2010/02/22::
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23
Grand Trunk Western GP38-2 On CN 385!
Grand Trunk Western GP38-2 On CN 385!
::2011/02/25::
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24
In-ko-pah Railroad Freight Ride 2014
In-ko-pah Railroad Freight Ride 2014
::2014/08/10::
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Railroad tie retaining wall 7_2_14
Railroad tie retaining wall 7_2_14
::2014/07/02::
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New Camera for Cab view ride on HO railroad  (clock wise lap)
New Camera for Cab view ride on HO railroad (clock wise lap)
::2014/02/21::
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Brian Law
Brian Law's woodenclocks - Clock 20 with Gravity escapement
::2014/06/15::
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Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Ride POV - Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World, Florida
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Ride POV - Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World, Florida
::2013/02/09::
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WILLY MOON-Railroad Track Lyrics
WILLY MOON-Railroad Track Lyrics
::2013/08/30::
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Kansas City Railroad Pocket Watch
Kansas City Railroad Pocket Watch
::2014/06/25::
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Railroad Tie Wall Timelapse.
Railroad Tie Wall Timelapse.
::2012/07/08::
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Kasemoto Gravity Evo MRDA
Kasemoto Gravity Evo MRDA
::2014/06/23::
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Minecraft Traincraft Mod Showcase! Railroad Systems , Trains , New Rails And More! [1.6.4]
Minecraft Traincraft Mod Showcase! Railroad Systems , Trains , New Rails And More! [1.6.4]
::2013/10/20::
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Bamboo Railroad, Cambodia
Bamboo Railroad, Cambodia
::2011/03/26::
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My model railroad: the first 6 months
My model railroad: the first 6 months
::2014/06/25::
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No Limits Rollercoaster 2 - Zero Gravity
No Limits Rollercoaster 2 - Zero Gravity
::2014/01/20::
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Old Locomotive on Ancient Rail ND&W Railroad
Old Locomotive on Ancient Rail ND&W Railroad
::2014/09/14::
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Loaded For War! Santa Fe Railroad In World War Two - Educational Film - S88TV1
Loaded For War! Santa Fe Railroad In World War Two - Educational Film - S88TV1
::2014/08/06::
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The Longest Johns - On The Railroad - Falmouth 2014
The Longest Johns - On The Railroad - Falmouth 2014
::2014/07/16::
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Metro-North Railroad trains at Williams Bridge railfanning part 1
Metro-North Railroad trains at Williams Bridge railfanning part 1
::2014/08/31::
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The Vanishing EL (1950) - Railroad , Third Avenue El , If Things Could Talk 40670 HD
The Vanishing EL (1950) - Railroad , Third Avenue El , If Things Could Talk 40670 HD
::2014/09/01::
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Food for Thought: March 27, 2014, "Tracking the Nantucket Railroad"
Food for Thought: March 27, 2014, "Tracking the Nantucket Railroad"
::2014/04/10::
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Mission Interstellar #021: Gravity too High
Mission Interstellar #021: Gravity too High
::2014/07/19::
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44
Stone Mountain Scenic Railroad at Stone Mountain
Stone Mountain Scenic Railroad at Stone Mountain
::2014/08/09::
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Switzerland by Rail Road Air
Switzerland by Rail Road Air
::2014/08/07::
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Raticate Railroad - Pokemon X/Y WiFi Battle vs P0kem3n | #165
Raticate Railroad - Pokemon X/Y WiFi Battle vs P0kem3n | #165
::2014/08/12::
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Felix, the robot for railroad switch dimensional measurement
Felix, the robot for railroad switch dimensional measurement
::2014/07/29::
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48
Modeling Railroad Signal Systems: Simple Green & Red Signals
Modeling Railroad Signal Systems: Simple Green & Red Signals
::2014/07/13::
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49
Hamilton 23-Jewel, 950 16-Size Bar Over Crown Railroad Pocket Watch ~ see VIDEO!
Hamilton 23-Jewel, 950 16-Size Bar Over Crown Railroad Pocket Watch ~ see VIDEO!
::2014/06/25::
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norwalk railroad crossings all crossings
norwalk railroad crossings all crossings
::2014/06/04::
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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For theoretical gravity railroads of the future, see Gravity train.

A gravity railroad (American English) or gravity railway (British English) is a railroad on a slope that allow cars carrying minerals or passengers to coast down the slope by the force of gravity alone. The cars are then hauled back up the slope using animal power or a stationary engine and a cable, a chain or one or more wide, flat iron bands. The speed of the cars is controlled by a braking mechanism on one or more cars on the train. The typical amusement park roller coaster is designed from gravity railroad technology based on the looping track incorporated into the second railroad of the United States, the Mauch Chunk & Summit Hill Railroad, which remained in operation for decades as a tourist attraction and ride after it was withdrawn from freight service hauling coal.

Types of gravity railroad[edit]

Some gravity railroads were designed to allow the weight of the descending loaded cars to lift the empty cars back up to the top, using a cable looped around a pulley at the top for a portion of the line. A later revision designed by John B. Jervis, used two separate tracks known as the loaded or heavy track which carried cars loaded with coal to the destination, and the light track, used to return empty cars to the mines. This method allowed cars to travel in a loop, without the need for passing sidings. A stationary steam engine and a looping cable, chain or iron bands were used to raise the empty cars up the lift planes. The cars then coasted down a slight grade to the next lift plane. When cars reversed direction at the ends of the line on a switch or turnout instead of a loop, the railroad was known as a switchback gravity railroad.

Switchback gravity railroad[edit]

Switchbacked incline

The term "switchback gravity railroad" is sometimes applied to gravity railroads that used special self-acting (momentum-driven) Y-shaped switches known as switchbacks to automatically reverse a car's direction at certain points as it descends; this essentially folds the incline across the slope in a characteristic "zig-zag" shape. (See diagram: car starts from point A, coasts through switch at B, and comes to a stop at C. Car then rolls through the switch again and proceeds to the switch at D, where the process is repeated.) A separate track was typically used to haul the empty cars back to the top.

The original implementation of this type of system is credited to the Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway, which hauled coal and passengers from 1827 until 1933. This was very popular with tourists, and led to the development of the roller coaster.

Self-acting incline[edit]

In the UK, a self-acting incline is one in which the loaded wagons going down pull, via a cable and drum, the empty wagons going up. There might be two separate tracks, or a single track with a passing loop. This system was widely used on slate railways in Wales.

A variation on this system is the cliff railway for passengers. Both passenger cars are equipped with water tanks and, at the start, both tanks are full. Water is then let out of the tank on the lower car until the difference in weight between the two cars causes them to move.

Examples[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

The Ffestiniog Railway in Gwynedd, northwest Wales, was built in 1832 to carry slate from quarries high in the hills to the sea at Porthmadog. The line was laid out for the wagons to descend by gravity, while horses were originally used to haul the empty wagons up the hill. On the downward journey the horses travelled in a Dandy waggon at the rear of the train. Later on, steam haulage was adopted. This narrow gauge railway is still operational but all passenger trains are now locomotive-hauled.

A single open railroad car, on a single rail track that twists and turns through a forest. The car is carrying more than 40 passengers, all of whom are wearing hats.
Gravity car no. 21 on the Mt. Tamalpais and Muir Woods Scenic Rwy c. 1915.

Demonstration gravity trains are still occasionally run using original wagons - up to 50 at a time.

United States[edit]

In the United States, The Delaware and Hudson Canal Company operated an extensive gravity railroad system from 1828 until 1898. With 22 separate lift planes, the 55-mile (88 km) Pennsylvania Coal Company Gravity Railroad was the longest, and operated until 1885. Equipment and machinery of the railroad was purchased in 1886 by the recently constructed Shohola Glen Summer Resort (1882) and used until 1907.

Due to the success and advancement of the gravity railroads, a gravity operation at Hawley and Pittston was created. This 47 mile route from Paupack Eddy (Hawley) and Port Griffith (Pittston) allowed Pennsylvania Coal Company to directly ship anthracite from its mines to Hudson Canal and Delaware. This means of transportation ultimately led anthracite to the New York markets.

From 1896 through 1929, steam trains carried passengers up Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, California. In 1902, gravity cars began carrying passengers from the mountain's summit down the twisting single-track railway to the city of Mill Valley and starting in 1907, the first tourists into Muir Woods. Gravity service supplemented the steam train service. The powerful steam engines of the Mount Tamalpais & Muir Woods Railway then towed the gravity cars back to the summit for the next scheduled run.

On May 3, 2009, the Gravity Car Barn museum opened at the east peak of Mount Tamalpais to commemorate the old form of transportation. There, a recreated gravity car rolls on eighty-four feet of track.[1]

Other inclined railroads[edit]

A funicular is not a true gravity railroad, as cars never coast freely and are always connected to a cable. A rack-and-pinion railway or rack railway is also not a true gravity railroad for similar reasons.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Gravity Car Barn". Mt. Tamalpais Interpretive Association, Gravity Car Barn. Retrieved August 26, 2012. 
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