Climbing to the Summit of Mount Rokko San
INTERMEDIATE STATION on the Mount Rokko San Cable Railway. This is the meeting-
MOUNT ROKKO SAN is a famous pleasure and health resort in Japan. It lies in the midst of a range of mountains between the great industrial cities of Kobe and Osaka. A commanding view is obtained over high peaks and picturesque valleys, while to the south the eye takes in the tortuous coast line. The wealthy merchants of Kobe and Osaka have built their summer residences on the plateau of Mount Rokko San, and have turned it into a vast garden, with all the art and refinement that has been handed down to them through the centuries.
Countless roads and paths wind their way through pine forests, leading in all directions, up mountains and down valleys. The whole district is a paradise for walkers, and Mount Rokko San is known throughout Japan as “the mountain of the five hundred roads”. One of the country’s best-
To meet the ever-
The cable railway of Mount Rokko San is one of the longest in existence; it has a route length of 1,939 yards, or 1 mile 179 yards. It connects Dobashi, a station on the Kobe-
The irregular formation of Mount Rokko San, with its uneven slopes intersected by gorges, made the planning of the line a difficult problem. Further, to meet the considerable traffic requirements, a novel method was adopted by the constructors of the line, the Società Anonima Ceretti & Tanfani.
An Unusual Method
The line is divided into two sections of equal length. Each section has at exactly halfway a passing loop with automatic point switches to allow the descending and ascending cars to pass one another. On each section two cars travel alternately in opposite directions, so that there are in all four cars moving simultaneously. The two cars travelling in the same direction form one train, but, instead of being coupled together as in ordinary trains, they are connected by a long flexible wire rope which is the exact length of one section.
To explain the arrangement, let us number the cars of the ascending train 1 and 2, and those of the descending train 3 and 4. When 1 is at the lower terminus, 2 is at the intermediate station, 3 at the upper station, and 4 at the intermediate station on the same track as 2, facing each other. On arrival at the intermediate station, which is reached simultaneously by the two cars, passengers change cars to continue their journey in either direction.
The carriages have a length of 36 ft 1-
The trains, which travel simultaneously, are moved by the traction rope which is attached to the two carriages facing the mountain. The rope has a diameter of 1 21/32-
PLAN OF THE TRACK. The cable railway on Mount Rokko San has a route length of 1,939 yards (1 mile 179 yards). This metre-
The driving machinery is installed in the upper station and consists of two pulleys, for the deviation of the traction rope and of the driving and the counter pulleys. The pulleys have a diameter of 14 ft 9⅛-
The deviation pulleys are placed at the near side of the arriving car, and are connected by a special device which automatically cuts off the current if the tension of the traction rope should decrease below the predetermined limit. The operator’s cabin is situated in front of the driving plant on a raised structure near the arrival platform. The operator’s bench is equipped with the various controllers, levers, brakes, telephone, and measuring instruments. A large window gives a full view of the arrival platform and of part of the line.
The motor group consists of two asynchronous three-
Besides the above-
Various systems were formerly used on steep gradients, such as strong pointed steel bars which, if the traction rope broke, were thrown automatically, point downwards, into the ground. Another system comprises a toothed rack rail in the centre between the rails and a complicated mechanism fitted below the floor of the carriage, where a rack engages the rack rail if the traction rope breaks, while at the same time a band brake acts on the wheel axles. The rack rail system is, naturally, very expensive and is to-
The principle underlying this system is two-
The braking device is contained in a casing which is suspended from the underframe of the carriage in such a way that the rail-
The traction rope is connected with a lever, the upper arm of which compresses a double helical spring connected by a wire to a lever which causes the opening of the valve. The oil under pressure flows into the cylinders, and moves the pistons which push the steel wedge forward.
This automatic action occurs when the traction rope breaks, and the tension, therefore, fails. The lever is released, freeing in its turn the spring from its compressed position so that the wire and the subsequent levers are pulled. The automatic brakes of the two cars forming one train are electrically connected, so that the brakes in both cars act simultaneously.
Although this arrangement sounds very complicated it is in reality a most simple one, and acts almost instantaneously.
The Japanese authorities carried out some interesting tests on taking over the line from the constructors. The carriages were loaded with 140 bags of sand weighing nine tons, so that the total weight of each loaded carriage was about eighteen tons. The upper car of a train was made to descend the gradient of 1 in 2 at the normal speed, when the hand brake was applied. The car stopped in two and two-
UPPER TERMINUS of Mount Rokko San Cable Railway. The difference in level between the upper and lower termini is 1,614 ft. The average gradient is 1 in 3½, and the maximum gradient 1 in 2. The laying of the track entailed the boring of tunnels and the erection of concrete viaducts.
[From part 30, published 23 August 1935]