The rails were laid to standard gauge and spiked to closely spaced wooden sleepers, which in turn rested on comparative light ballast. The sleepers themselves were cut from 12in. diameter tree trunks sawn into 8ft lengths and sliced longitudinally to produce two apiece.
These were embedded round side downwards and the even surfaces provided accommodation for light weight flat bottomed rails.
Divided by the incline, the two locomotives never met following their delivery. An old photograph of the upper one, shows it to be an 0-6-0 saddle tank built by, Manning Wardle Company in 1885 and bearing their works number 967. Details of its counterpart remain unknown, although records do tell us that 967 was one of twelve. Perhaps the lower engine was another of them. The additional number 334 visible in the photograph was probably given on its return from the unsuccessful mission overseas.
The rolling stock comprised about 15 to 20 four-wheel trucks of the conventional open-sided and flat-bottom types, and certain other information discloses that one enclosed type was kept permanently on the upper level for carrying officers and other ranks between the two forts.
The line was ready for opening about 1893, and its first task was to bring up the massive coastal guns. These were dismantled and transported in sections to Higher Tregantle, where they wore reassembled and placed on their respective sites.
From then on in addition to replenishing the magazines after every gunnery practice the railway supplied both forts with every conceivable type of stores, the most essential being rations, coal and drinking water. A number of flat-bottom trucks carrying large capacity tanks were enlisted as permanent water carriers.
The incline worked on the orthodox counter-balance principle powered from a stationary steam winding-house. In exchanging ends trucks were attached to a long spiral wired cable, and when set in motion trucks drawn upwards met the downgrade ones on the passing loop. Its speed is believed never to have been over 15 miles an hour.
Changeover points from two to three rails were automatically switched by the trucks themselves. To prevent accidents when out of use a heavy stop-block slightly below the top points could be set firmly across by moving a hand level.
After each exchange loaded trucks arriving at the top were drawn forward by 967 to Scraesdon Fort's siding, and those for return more often than not empties, were carefully pushed back to the cable connecting point.