February 1st, 2001 12:17 pm
Killed, 7 Hurt
by Michel Azéma
not a cable break!
At 12:17 pm the cabin going up suddenly hit the second cabin
which was going down!
One passenger was killed and 7 injured.
It seems that the accident was not due to a cable break as
I first thought. The cable suddenly got out from the groove
of the pulley (spool) at the top of the line and the upper
cabin found itself with a bif length of untightened cable!
Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times
Rob Hernandez / Los Angeles Times
cabin rushed down the track and hit the second cabin in the
lower half of the line.
Contrary to what I previously wrote, there are no emergency
brakes below the cars! The only security of cabin was a second
cable which was parallel to the traction cable. There was
also emergency brakes on the spool at the top station but
this brakes were unable to stop the way down of the car, of
course because the cable was no more winded into the groove
of the spool! This security cable was linking the two cars
and was also ineffective for the same reason.
of funiculars are designed to assume an unsollicited break
of the cable or an overspeed of the car. This is the main
risk of inclined cable railways, so the break of the cable
is controled by an emergency break on the cabins.
When the cable breaks there is an overspeed of the cabin,
this overspeed is mecanicaly detected by a special system
under each cabin and the emergency brakes are activated and
the cabin must be stopped in a few meters. The emergency brakes
are strong jaws which grip the rails.
Angels Flight Funicular was not fitted with such an emergency