Text and Photos Michel Azéma

Centre for Alternative Technology
Machynlleth, Wales

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Centre for Altern. Techno
Presentation
The water
Not so simple!
The carriages
Technical datas
The only modern water operated funicular
CAT logo
Presentation  
General Vue
Established in 1975, the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) is aimed to inform and enable people to explore new ways of living that help protect the environment.
In May 1992 a Cliff Railway was opened to carry CAT's visitors up from the car park to the site which is 30 meters above, improving access especially for disabled persons.
The mission of the Centre for Alternative Technology is to display a vision of how people can live in harmony with the environment without destroying the life-support system. That is why it was decided to build a water-balanced cliff railway.
It was specially designed to save energy and to reclaim unused energy.
A strange similarity between the Centre for Alternative Technology funicular and the Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway!
History

Between 1830 and the early 1950's the site was formerly occupied by the Llwyngwern Slate Quarry.

The slate was sent, via the narrow gauge Corris railway, to Machynlleth where it was transshiped on the main railway.

The site, now occupied by the water operated funicular was formerly a quarry incline with two parallel 2' 3" tracks. The weight of the loaded wagons coming down was used to haul up the returning empties with a wood and cast iron winding drum at the top controlled by a braking system to prevent runaways.

 

The old quarry incline in 1890

My opinion
By Michel Azéma
This is interesting to compare two water-operated funiculars, Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway and Centre for Alternative Technology Cliff Railway.
They are close by each other and may be the last one was influenced by the first one.
The water-balanced funicular technology was very widespread in the XIXth century and most of the funiculars were progressively replaced by electricity-operated ones.
The Centre for Alternative Technology Cliff Railway is the only modern water-operated funicular.
It was remarkably designed to be 100% water-powered and semiautomatic.

No driver in the cars. Just one operator at the top station to close the gate and press the button for the departure. At the bottom station the cashier is also in charge to close the door and to press the ready button for departure.
Location


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The Machynlleth's icon, the surprising town clock!
At what time is the take-off ?
Oldissues Index
 
Centre for Altern. Techno
Presentation
The water
Not so simple!
The carriages
Technical datas
 
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