Victorian Ingenuity – Water powered Railroad


This is Victorian engineering and ingenuity at its finest. The Lynton to Lynmouth Cliff Railroad was built in 1890.  It travels half a mile up a cliff at a 53% incline! The two cars (this is the bottom car looking up the line) are connected by cables.  At the top, the car takes on 700 gallons of water from a local stream, then the bottom car releases the water it took on at the top, slowly, the weight differential pulls the top car down (gravity) and the bottom car is pulled to the top as it lightens its load by releasing water.  When it gets to the top, the whole process starts again.  The speed is controlled by a “dead man’s braking system” that is the precursor to modern railway brakes.  All of this takes place inside Exmoor National Park which is an amazing landscape encompassing public and private lands over 267 square miles in north Devon, England.  The gallery page offers a number of images of Exmoor National Park, our first of many National Park visits on this sabbatical.

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I am a professor of Political Science at Colorado Mesa University on sabbatical in the fall semester 2018. I study public land policy and a wide variety of other subjects. Currently I am studying about European Landscape Policies while on sabbatical. That is the focus of this blog.

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