The inclined plane was used to carry loaded small tub boats from the Shropshire Canal at the top to the short stretch parallel to the river to a wharfage at Coalport. These tubs were 20 ft (6m) long and 6 ft 6 in wide (2m). Fully loaded they weighed approx 5 tons.
After they were attached to a cradle they were pulled to the apex of the gorge using a Heslop low pressure steam engine (haystack boiler). From here they were attached to a drum and chain which was fully wound. On the opposite set of tracks was a second chain which ran down the length of the incline where it was attached to a second cradle and empty tub boat.
From here gravity took over and the full tub and cradle travelled down and the empty one travelled up. At the top a man controlled the speed of the descent by monitoring the rate of assent.
A fully competent crew could move two tubs, one up and one down in four minutes.
The incline has a vertical drop of 206 ft (63m) and a length approx of 700 ft (215m) giving it a slope of 1 in 4 (25%). An unrestricted cradle and tub would be travelling at almost 25 mph (30Km/h) at the bottom.
Submitted By: Neil Cartman on 14 February 2011
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