Page 24 - Wire Rope News & Sling Technology - August 2019
P. 24

continued from page 22
         next 20 years, carrying  thousands of
         tons  of  coal.  The  bankhead or  upper
         end of the incline was then serviced by
         an over-rope tramway, which  carried
         the coal skips  another  2.2 kM to the
         railhead across a long inclined trestle
         and a suspension bridge.
           The Sydney based consulting  engi-
         neer for the mine, Norman Selfe, went
         to the US in 1882 to view the construc-
         tion of the Brooklyn Bridge and learn
         about suspension bridge design.
           The original supporting ropes for
         the bridge are still where they were
         dropped after decommissioning of the
         bridge about 1903. The ropes are 1¼"
         Lang’s  Lay  6/7  RH.  Where  they  are
         above ground they are in very good
         condition, two broken wires from
         their original use on the incline are
         clearly visible.
                                            The Scenic Railway plunges 310 meters into the valley, with glass top affording views of the
                                            scenery above.
                                              The  flattening  of  the  wires  is  also   iron  “Slipper”  which  aligns  the  ends
                                            clearly  visible.  Ropes from  this  era   and fixes the gauge.
                                            were sourced from England, and made   Preventing bridge rail from sliding
                                            from plough steel. Bessemer steel was   down the incline was very difficult as
                                            still working its way into the rope man-  the low height of the bridge rail made
                                            ufacturers catalogues. The ropes have   the rail dog heads foul the wheel flang-
                                            a very long lay length of 11" or 280mm   es. It was replaced with web rail within
                                            compared to modern ropes of a similar               continued on page 26
                                            size 7¼" or 184mm.
                                              Two  Lancashire  boilers  supplied
                                            steam to the endless rope winder and
                                            the incline winder, feeding to a 20 me-
                                            ter high square brick chimney.
                                              The mine was built in what today
         3/4” 6/19 ord lay haulage rope used on the
         over rope tramway.                 we call a “green field site”. There was
                                            nothing there! No roads, water, sur-
                                            veys or  maps. Everything had  to  be
                                            brought in. The mine was only feasible
                                            because of the proximity of the railway
                                            connecting it to Sydney, even though
                                            it was 2kM away across 4 creeks and
                                            3 ridges with a total 100M lift. A dam
                                            had to be built to supply water for the
                                            boilers and the miners.
                                              Funding was of course an issue, and
                                            a  company  was  floated  on  the  newly
                                            formed Sydney Stock Exchange, called
                                            “Katoomba Coal and Shale Ltd.” Enter-
                                            prises  like  this  were  readily  financed
                                            by English money, gold mines in par-
                                            ticular attracting get rich quick inves-
                                            tors. However most of the funds for the
                                            mine were sourced from Sydney based
                                            investors ranging from lawyers to tai-
                                            lors and land auctioneers.
                                              This mine was being built just as   The 1882 incline which served the coal mine,
                                            many changes in equipment were     shows  the coal  mine adit on the left with
                                            coming  into  the  mining  industry  in   a self-acting dual incline bringing  the coal
                                            Australia. Bridge rail was being re-  down  to  a “tippler”  which tipped  it  into a
         6/7 Lang’s Lay rope that was used on the main                         chute which, in turn, dropped the coal into
         incline was reused, even with its broken wires,   placed by web rail. The incline was   the skips for the trip up the dual incline, with
         to support a suspension bridge for the coal   initially  fitted  with  bridge  rail,  the   empties coming back down at the same time.
         trucks on their way to the rail siding.  lengths of which are joined at a cast   The main incline was steam hauled.

         24     Wire Rope News & Sling Technology   August 2019
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