Sunday, January 6, 2019

Golden Reef Tramway Chapter 5 Set-up (Final Chapter)

This is the fifth and final chapter of the Golden Reef Mine Tramway project. The last chapter covered the assembly the towers.


Critical Alignment Checks We shot the alignment of the 1 1/8” cable guides that will hold the stationary cables in place. The tram buckets will be suspended on those cables and if the alignment was off the cables could dislodge from the guides and bad things happen.  The alignment was perfect and we will have no trouble with the guide alignment. The picture below shows the location of the guides.

Tower Anchor Components The design section identified the swages, turnbuckles and shackles needed to anchor that two 1 1/8” stationary cables. The needed components were purchased and next step was to assemble the components.
Measuring Cable Lengths We took the cables and stretched them across the tower cable guides to mark the cables with the swages, turnbuckles and shackles installed. We used cable clamps to stretch the cables so they could be marked where the vendor needed to cut and install the swages. The picture below shows the temporary clamps to stretch the cables.

Transporting Cables to Vendor We removed the cables from the towers and put them into a trailer to transport them to the vendor that will install the swages. You are probably wondering how we moved the 70-foot cables from the museum to the machine shop and back. The picture below shows how we moved the long cables.

1 1/8” wire Rope Connectors We cut the two 1 1/8” cables to allow for the length of the connectors and then took the two approximately 70’ cables to a machine shop and had the swages pressed on to the cables with a 30-ton (60,000 pound) press. The picture below shows the machine used to press the wire ropes on the swages.

Transport of Wire Ropes We brought the cables back to the museum and installed them on the tram towers with a trailer. The picture below shows the cables with swages installed ready to take back to the museum and installed on the towers.

Installing the Cables We used manpower to loop the cables over the towers and then tightened them down with the cable clamps that Pete supplied.

Cables installed The cables were installed and the turnbuckles were adjusted. We did a load test on the cables and they passed. The test was performed with buckets filled with water to a weight of about 350 pounds and then the cable droop was measured and it was within the 18” droop requirement.  See the setup below:

After the cables were installed, we laid out the location of the continuous cable horizontal pulley was placed where it would be when the driver and driven structures were installed


Tram Buckets We already had the original tram bucket and hanger and they were installed. It took a little longer to obtain the other bucket and hanger. We took the original bucket over to Cave Creek Welding and they offered to construct an identical bucket to fit on the hanger we got from California.


Tram Bucket Installation Now that we have the stationary cable installed, we need to install the tram buckets. There was much discussion about how to do the activity and as usual everyone had an opinion. We ended up with two plans and both of them are displayed below. You make the decision which one is safer.  

The picture below shows the installed tram buckets ready to install the moving cable.


Driver & Driven Foundations and structures These components are critical to the operation of the tramway. These components will actually allow the tram buckets to travel back and forth on the 1 1/8” stationary cables. The moving 7/8” cable will not have very much tension, just enough to keep the slack on the drive motor roller. This part of the project was to excavate, construct driver driven frames with rebar and then pour the concrete.

The pictures below show the stages of the completion of the Drive end installation.

The pictures below show the stages of the completion of the Driven end installation. The final assembly consisted of installing the sliding tower attached to the backstay with (4) 1” all thread to allow sliding adjustment to obtain the desired tension on the traveling cable.This is the component that will adjust the tension on teh traveling cable.

Traveling Cable Installation This process required two activities. First we had to install the two 38” horizontal pulleys on the driver and driven ends. We had to weld a shaft spacer on the top end of the 2 5/8” shafts to accommodate the pulleys. The picture below shows the spacer being welded on the driven end station.

Teamwork enabled the pulley to be installed on the vertical shaft. The cable will then be stretched over the horizontal pulley.

The traveling cable had to be lifted with linemen pulleys on the stationary cable and then pulled up with a com-a-long to the desired tension.


We installed rails from the tramway bucket station to the stamp mill crusher. This is how the materials got form the tramway to the primary crusher on the stamp mill. The pictures below show to construction of the track and platforms.


Drive Motor Design This is a special motor for this application. It is low speed, 67 RPM and has lots of torque to drive the tram system. It is also a reversible motor so that we can run the tram buckets back and forth on the stationary cables. The motor is shown below.

Drive Motor Installation and Testing   The last step was to install the drive motor and test its operation. We had to install the non-skid tape on the horizontal pulley to ensure the motor roller would grip the pulley. We also noted that the pulley would ride up when the motor was tested. This was resolved with installation of a collar on the vertical shaft that would prevent the pulley from riding up on the shaft. We first set the motor on the cross member to verify the orientation of the motor to the horizontal pulley. See the picture below:

We had to weld the base plate onto the cross member to mount the motor in a position that allows the roller to contact the horizontal pulley. We used (4) 3/8” bolts to adequately anchor the motor. The plate was welded and ready to install the motor.

The picture below shows the motor installed and ready to be tested. We tested the motor moving the tram buckets back and forth several times for all that were observing the initial operation of the tramway. It takes the buckets about 30 seconds to make the 50-foot trip from one tower to the other tower. The original tramway was 2,000 feet long. This is the only
Bleichert’s Double Rope Mining Tramway that operates in the USA, that I know of.