Elvas Tower: Bleichert Bi-Cable Aerial Mine Tram System - Elvas Tower

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#1 User is offline   CrisGer 

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Posted 05 November 2017 - 08:02 PM

File Name: Bleichert Bi-Cable Aerial Mine Tram System
File Submitter: CrisGer
File Submitted: 05 Nov 2017
File Category: Miscellaneous (Everything Else)



C Gerlach
November 2017

This System of Aerial Tram cars delivered Ore to mills from mines and returend the empty cars back to the mine pithead. The system ran on four cables, two uppper cables supported the up and down flows and cables beneath on both sides pulled the cars along with a moving cable driven by Bull wheels at both top and bottom. The static lines were anchored and kept taunt by coutnerweights at top and bottom Tram Stations and along the way by weight stations.

the systme is complex and is created in parts becuase of the poly limits.

The towers can be placed individually, and then the wires placed and cars placed on them

Or the towers can be placed with a tower and wire set that allows them to be placed in a modular fashion and the individual cars attached. The cars are saved in a format at an angle suitable for the angle of the wire and will appear along the wire when opened in the editor. the full cars came down on the left wire facing the slope and the empties rose on the right wires.

Or wire sets of 2 wires each can be placed with either the full or empty cars so there are a number of ways you can place the system. There is a demo version in both the tower set and the wire set that will open in Shape Viewer but which will be too poly heavy to place with the original MSTS editor tho it may load with the Goku new one.

Steeper angles of ascent can be created by placing the towers indiviudaly and then the wire sets.

Custom layouts can be created the TSM source files are included for all parts.

All parts are free to use or alter as desired.

This set can be used in both freeware and payware releases free of charge.

Chris Gerlach

Elvas Tower
Nov 2017


a detailed description of the system follows:

Complete intact Tram systems remain at the Keane Miracle Mine in Death Valley and the Mayflower Mill and Mine in Silverton, Colorado.

Therw were hundreds of operating systems in the USA and Canada between 1880 and 1970.




Today's ski lifts, in their early years, were first installed using a technology first developed for the use of aerial tramways to haul ore and other materials from mines, and just about any other material including stone and lumber. Bingham Canyon was the home of several aerial tramways, the two longest being the Highland Boy and United States Mining tramways, before the growth of the system of railroads that served the mines in the canyon.

In the mid 1870s, a German engineer by the name of Adolf Bleichert designed what today is known as the "bicable" aerial tramway, meaning a stationary cable that supports a series of buckets that themselves are moved along by use of a hoist and moving cable, exactly the way a ski lift operates. He started the Adolf Bleichert & Company to design and install aerial tramway systems for mining companies worldwide. The U. S. license holder was the Trenton Iron Works of Trenton, New Jersey, who went on to install literally hundreds of systems, including several timber and lumber companies.

There were numerous bicable aerial tramways of the Bleichert design in Utah in the 1899 to 1910 era, including the system installed at Park City, Utah in 1902 at the Silver King Coalition Company's mine. The lower terminal of the Silver King Coalition became the symbol of Park City's ski industry. There were four aerial tramways in Bingham Canyon, my current area of interest.

An article in the New York Times in October 1897, about an eight-mile Bleichert tramway to be built over Chilkoot Pass in Alaska, mentioned that at the time there were fifty Bleichert bicable tramways in the country. (New York Times, October 12, 1897, "Chilkoot Pass Tramway")

Many cable tramways were constructed due to difficult conditions along the proposed route, such as crossing over a mountain ridge or high mountain pass. In most other cases, a cable tramway was a necessity due to steep terrain between the mine and the loading terminal, and building a railroad would have been extremely expensive.

Aerial tramways were an alternative to having a railroad branchline built. For the mine operators, cost per-ton was the deciding factor, with all costs being included in the calculations. The capacity of rail cars was a major factor, since at that time the typical rail car carried about 35-40 tons. railroad construction was expensive because modern earth-moving equipment was not available; it was all done by hand. Steam shovels could be used, but they were large and required their own specialized support systems.

In about 1905-1915, as soon as rail car and railroad capacity was increased due to steel construction for the cars and better steel for the rails, along with better infrastructure, the costs became more competitive, with aerial tramways remaining only where increasingly better earth-moving and modern civil engineering could not put in a railroad branchline. The cost-benefit studies included the mining companies having to maintain their own tramways, compared to a railroad branchline being maintained by the railroad company.

The typical Bleichert aerial tramway used buckets that varied between seven and nine cubic feet, depending on the weight of ore or other product being carried, which in turn dictated the capacity, which was usually between 700 and 1000 pounds in each bucket. Early miners saw the potential of a free ride right away, and there are numerous photos and stories, just here in Utah, of men riding the buckets up and down the mountain. It would have been a very simple design change to swap a bucket for a chair.

As for the speed, a Bleichert aerial tramway used buckets that detached from the transport cable using one of Bleichert's many patents, and were suspended from the stationary cable by wheels. At each terminal, the buckets were detached and either loaded or dumped, with workers manually moving the buckets via a system of circular I-beams that looked identical to what we see at a ski lift today. The speed was slow enough that a man could walk next to the traveling cable and be able to manually attach the bucket to the moving cable, yet fast enough that tons-per-hour production was not adversely affected.

Taken from "Different Methods of Hauling Ore at Bingham, Utah" by W. P. Hardesty, C. E., Engineering News, July 24, 1902.

The method of conveying ore from the mines that are difficult to reach by a surface line, by means of buckets or carriers traveling on a suspended cable down to lower ground, where it can be handled or shipped, is one that has become quite common through some parts of the West. The line to be described is about as good an illustration as can be found to show the value of this method.

The Highland Boy Gold Mining Co.'s property is located in the western part of the Bingham Camp. The ores are quite rich in copper, and a large tonnage is shipped out. The workings are located in Carr Fork, the principal fork of Bingham Canyon. The locality would be difficult to reach with a steam road, the fall of the gulch being rapid and development being difficult.

The ore was formerly hauled down to the railroad in wagons. With the enlargement of the properties and production of the company, it was decided to build an aerial tramway, after complete surveys had demonstrated that a surface line was hardly practicable.

The Bleichert system of cable carriage is used, and the line was built and all equipment furnished by the Trenton Iron Co., of Trenton, N. J. The line is on tangent throughout. The original length was 2-1/3 miles, but by a change in the location of the loading terminal it was reduced to 2-1/4 miles. The profile, drawn to natural scale, shows the mountainous route and also the location and height of the towers for supporting the cables. The ground elevation ranges from less than 5,900 ft. at the lower end to about 6,900 ft. at the upper one. The spacing between the towers varies from 152 ft. to about 870 ft. Where several towers are required to round off an abrupt change in grade they are spaced from 15 to 75 ft. The height of the towers varies from 14 to 70 ft. The greatest height of the cable above the ground is over 200 ft. There are 44 towers on the line.

The plans for the 25-ft. tower, about the average height, are practically standard for all. They show the side supports for the cables. Planks are laid on the sills and loaded with stone, to anchor the towers against swaying or tipping over.

The original design of spacing and heights of towers has proven to be excellent, with only one change being needed. Just north of the anchorage station (next described) the great length of span, combined with the steep incline, caused too sharp a turn in the cables, with resultant wear. So the two towers just north of the station were lowered 3 or 4 ft., while an additional tower was put in about 125 or 150 ft. further down. This effected the desired improvement.

At about one mile from the lower end is located an anchor station. Here the track cables from the opposite directions are anchored to a strong framework. By pulling in opposite directions they nearly counterbalance one another. They pass over supports and down on an incline to the anchor. The gap on the line between the supports is filled by an iron hanger bar. The traction cable is continuous.

At about 0.6 mile further up a tension station is located. Here each track cable coming in passes over a sheave to a tension weight below. The horizontal pull in opposite directions is nearly balanced by connecting the two. Provision for a varying length of the track cable is necessary because of the effect of heat and cold.

There are two track cables, one for the loaded buckets and one for the empties. Originally these were 1-1/8 ins. and 7/8-in. diameter, respectively, but when the tonnage was ta be increased the 1-1/8-in. cable was left on for the empties and the 7/8-in. one was displaced by a 1-1/4-in. cable for the loads. They are of the patent lack-coil track cable type. A 3/4-in. Langley traction cable is used. The track cable is supported at the ends of an arm at top of the tower and the traction cable runs on pulleys 6 ft. lower down.

The loading terminal is located so that tram cars loaded with ore, after being run out of the working tunnel of the mine, are run on a trestle into the building' and dumped into ore bins directly over the loading track. The traction cable makes two turns around a bull-wheel by which friction enough is secured to allow of control of' the cable by the wheel. Power can be applied by means of a horizontal shaft in the room below, beveled gearing on it engaging beveled gearing on the vertical shaft of the bull-wheel. Ordinarily no power is needed, but brakes have to be applied for regulation of the traction cable. This is because of the great excess of weight on the loaded side, acting by gravity through the 1,000-ft. fall to the discharge terminal. In starting up or when the buckets are all empty, power has to be applied.

There are 116 buckets used on the line at once. Each has a capacity of 4-1/2 cu. ft., weighing about 290 lbs. complete, and carrying about 700 lbs. of ore. They are spaced about 205 ft. apart, and travel at a rate of about 350 ft. per minute. Ordinarily about 105 loads per hour are run over the line. About 500 tons per day of 15 hours (1-1/2 shifts) is the usual day's work for the line.

The buckets have a strong and elaborate grip-ping device, which they are fastened to the traction cable. By a swivel connection between this and the bucket, the latter maintains an up-right position when the track cable is on an in-cline of as much as 500 from the horizontal.

On entering the loading terminal building the handle of the grip of each empty bucket strikes a projecting arm and is forced upward, and so the grip is released. The bucket here leaves the cable and runs on to a hanger bar (a continuation of the track cable), around which it travels by momentum to the loading place. The bucket is filled through one of the ore chutes, operated by an attendant. It is then pushed forward to the outgoing track cable. The spacing of the buckets is regulated by the revolutions of the bull-wheel actuating certain mechanism that rings a bell at the required intervals, at which an attendant fastens the grip and starts the bucket on its journey. During the cold weather the entrance and exit sides of the line are each provided with folding doors, opened by the bucket striking against converging arms and forcing them apart, and closed by springs as soon as the bucket passes through.

The pull of the cable on the bull-wheel is opposed by diagonal bracing and also by a cable leading back to a dead-man.

At the discharge terminal each bucket runs on to an unloading track. The grip is released by its handle striking a projecting arm, an attendant causes the load to be dumped, and the bucket runs around on the hanger bar to the position for starting on its return journey.

The traction cable makes the turn around a horizontal sheave mounted on a tension carriage. This slides back and forth, according to the tension of the cable, a chain leading from it over a vertical sheave and down to a weight.

The track cable at the terminal is 35 or 40 ft. above the ground. To raise coal up to its level (for transportation to the mine) the following ingenious method is employed: At the top of the shaft of the cable sheave is a beveled pinion which engages a beveled gear on a short horizontal shaft. The latter shaft is hollow, and it can be keyed, to an inside shaft and made to rotate the same. The key fits and slides in a slot cut length-ways of the inner shaft, so that, as the outer shaft and cogs are moved back and forth by varying- tension, the outer shaft--sliding on the inner one--is still connected by the key sliding in the slot. The inner shaft has at its further end (about 35 ft. distant) a sprocket wheel and endless chain, by which coal from below is raised up an incline to coal chutes, from which the buckets on the cable can be filled. The power is furnished by the excess of weight on the loaded cable, acting through the 1,000-ft. fall.

To give even wear on the track cable, twice a week it is gone over and given one-eighth turn at each tower by means of pipe wrenches. To control its position, a clip or clamp, fastened by a bolt and nut, is used, reaching from which is a lever arm whose further end is held between the branches of a double arm that runs longitudinally out from the top of the tower. To oil the traction cable, a bucket is specially fitted up; a spout sticks out in front, being regulated for a certain feed, and this oils the cable in front of the bucket as it moves along. The linemen travel in the buckets at their line work, jumping on and off at the different towers.

The tramway has been in operation about three years. The track cable has been partly renewed during this time. Some parts of the cables have worn out. A splice is made by slipping a sleeve, in shape like a frustum of a cone, over the end of each section and kneading the end. A right and left screw sleeve is then made to connect these, and by screwing up the ends of the cones are brought together.

The cost per .ton of ore transported over the line during the latter part of the time has been not over 9 cts. per ton, including all labor and repairs, and this low cost is obtained without credit being given for the coal and other supplies carried over the line to the mine. It is estimated that to build and equip a railroad for economical operation would have cost about four times as much as for the aerial tramway. Figures as to the exact first cost of the tramway complete, with all equipment, are not obtainable, but is it thought to have been about $35,000.

The terminal stations were designed for the company by Geo. K. Fischer, M. E. For the data from which this description has been prepared the writer is indebted to Mr. R. H. Channing, General Manager of the Highland Boy Gold Mining Co., Salt Lake City.


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