Peak Forest Tramway

There are two inclines on the peak forest tramway, the great incline and lodes knowle quarry incline used to transport limnestone.

Great Incline

Bottom of the incline NGR SK066810

This is situated at Chapel-en-le-Frith, the bottom of the plane being in Townend. Like the short-lived inclined plane at Lodes Knowle, it had a double track but it differed in that it was self-acting and substantially larger. The track bed of the plane was not flat, having been cleverly designed to be steeper at the top (1:6) than it was at the bottom (1:8).

In operation, loaded wagons, descending under the action of gravity, hauled up ascending empty (or lightly loaded) wagons. The maximum number of wagons permitted to pass over the plane at any one time was 16 (eight down and eight up). Thus, a gross weight of between 22.4 and 28 tons was being used at the top to haul up a net weight of between 6.4 and 8 tons at the bottom.

In the early years, the wagons were attached to a wrought-iron chain. As the wagons passed over the plane the chain increased the weight on the down side and decreased it on the up side. It is even likely that at the time the tramway opened that hemp rope was used, but this was quickly dispensed with in favour of chain.

It was 512 yards long and rose up 209 feet. The incline was operated by gravity, full wagons descending pulling empty wagons up. The workers used a signal at the base of the incline to indicate the wagons were ready and the operator at the top released the brake allowing the wagons to move.

Lodes Knowle Quarry Incline

NGR SK085795

A 33yd-long inclined plane was provided at Lodes Knowle Quarry, self acting incline with additionaly powered by means of a horse gin. This consisted of a horse harnessed to one end of a long horizontal pole, which was attached at the other end to a vertical shaft coupled to a horizontal rope drum. It is known that the plane was double tracked, so this meant that a hemp rope was wound, say, 1 turns, around the rope drum and then the short end would be hooked to full wagons at the top of the plane and the long end would be hooked to empty wagons at the bottom. When everything was ready, the horse would be obliged to walk around the vertical shaft to lower and raise the wagons and the weight of the descending full wagons would assist the horse to do its work. This arrangement suggests that there was often an imbalance between full and empty wagons, otherwise it would have been a self-acting inclined plane and the horse could have been dispensed with. The effect of this was that the horse was sometimes the provider of motive power and at other times it was acting as a brake.