Your safety and our safety are the same. Since day 1 the team at Inclined Elevation has been actively working on building the safest, most reliable and best integrated lifts we can.

Standard Features

N.B. See the Owners Manual page for a Glossary of Terms

The Track

Building a safe solid lift starts with the track and the track support structure.

We have 2 different track styles, standard and low profile, which we use for different conditions. Each style can be in one of two width, narrow for 1-person, some 2-person, and 2-pitch 4 person lifts, and standard from some 2-person and all single pitch 4 person lifts. All the tracks fix 2 pieces of 3" C-channel a constant distance apart a dolly, running on custom machined wheels and heavy duty roller bearings and suspended off the hoist cable, runs up and down inside these channels.

Standard Track: In our shop we build 20' long trussed beam track "sides" using 3" C-channel, angle iron, and flat bar. The inside part of the channel is polished, finished with graphite to make for a smoother, quieter ride and the rest of the side is spray painted an industrial primer and paint. In the field, 2 sides and 4 angle iron "crossers" are bolted together using self-locking structural steel bolts to form a 20' section of track. Standard track requires supporting legs every 20' or so.

Low Profile Track: When the track is near the ground we use "low profile track", 2 lengths of 3" C-channel welded a constant distance apart with angle iron crossers. Low Profile track requires supporting legs at 10' intervals. Lifts 66 and 77 even use a combination of Standard and Low Profile track.

Rock-Solid Stability – In the field each 20' section of track is raised, located, and fixed in place with an all-welded, geometrically rigid support structure that has an inherently stable design. For large track we build support legs every 20', for small track every 10'. The support structure geometry does not transfer any applied torque forces to the footings so they can then be lighter and less invasive while still creating a solid and steady track.

This photo was taken at  Lift 47 , a 2-pitch lift, but it still shows our standard leg design: the legs themselves are splayed out slightly to increase track stability, the "X-braces" running between the legs create multiple inherently rigid triangles, and the downhill braces, running from the base of the legs up to the track, convert forces running down the track into shear forces at the base of the legs, eliminating torque forces on the footings. All elements are arc welded together and refinished in the field. Building legs any other way just makes no sense to us.

This photo was taken at Lift 47, a 2-pitch lift, but it still shows our standard leg design: the legs themselves are splayed out slightly to increase track stability, the "X-braces" running between the legs create multiple inherently rigid triangles, and the downhill braces, running from the base of the legs up to the track, convert forces running down the track into shear forces at the base of the legs, eliminating torque forces on the footings. All elements are arc welded together and refinished in the field. Building legs any other way just makes no sense to us.

Securely Anchored – The legs supporting the track are fixed into bedrock with sealing cement and anchor bolts where possible. On forest floor we remove a trench of organic material, fill it with pea gravel for drainage, and set 80' long 3"x2"x1/4" angle iron footplate on top. The footplate is pinned with angle iron or rebar stakes that are pounded into the ground and welded to the footplates. The legs supporting the track are then welded to the footplates. The track actually has a small but positive impact on slope stability.

2-Pitch Track – Some hillsides have flatter upper and steeper lower section and a single-pitch track will not suffice. In 2011, we developed our own 2-pitch track and car system to handle these conditions. The track has 3 sections, an upper section, then a curved section which is an arc of a circle, and finally a lower, steeper section. To keep the car level throughout it's tun we weld on 2 sections of "pipe track", a curved section, with the same arc of a circle, but displaced uphill, and a straight lower section. Above the curve an oversized chain holds the car level, in and below the curve the car, which is connected to the dolly with an oversized hinge, and has "back-riggers" with rollers, is kept level by the rollers riding under the pipe track. To date (Dec 2017) we've built nine 2-pitch lifts — lifts 41, 43, 47, 49, 50, 67, 68, 74, and 79. (Lift 49 is also a 3-station lift.)

Precision – Our goal is to build tracks that are straighter than the raw materials we begin with, ensuring the smoothest, most comfortable ride. We use a rifle telescope to fix each 20-foot section of track horizontally and vertically to +/- 1/16 inch at the legs before being welded in position. In the stations, we can set the car door opening to within 1/4 inch of their target position.

Captured Wheels


Unlike lifts where the wheels ride on top of the track, our wheels ride inside the track and cannot derail. The dolly rides on 4 main wheels, custom machined by Lakecast Ltd., from 4140 tool steel and pressed onto heavy duty industrial quality roller bearings. Because of this captured wheel system our lifts can be used in all seasons.

Hoist System

This is the winch system on  Lift 55  inside it's nearly completed protective housing.

This is the winch system on Lift 55 inside it's nearly completed protective housing.

Variable-Speed Motors – All passenger lifts are powered by industrial-duty, 3-phase, variable-speed Nord-Gear brake-motors and reducers. The motors are controlled by a variable-frequency drive (VFD) that runs off standard single-phase 220 V input and are seamlessly coupled to the winch drum through a hollow shaft output, industrial-duty, helical bevel-gear Nord-Gear reducer running synthetic lubrication. The winch drum, reducer, and motor assembly are attached to the track through Sealmaster pillow block bearings. The winch system accelerates smoothly to about 70 feet per minute and decelerates before coming to a gentle stop.

Winch Drum – Our grooved winch drums are machined at Bracebridege Machine Shop using 10" heavy wall pipe. The 10" size gives a smoother ride and longer cable life than the industry standard 6" drum as well as allowing us to use the heavier 3/8" compacted hoisting cable. It has to turn more slowly to give the same linear speed, which means more gear reduction, and, to maintain durability, a larger, more expensive reducer chassis.

Hoist Cables– Starting with Lift 62, we've been using 3/8” "compacted" aircraft cable hoist cables that are manufactured in North America, the quality of the off-shore cables proved to be less than adequate. These new cables have breaking strengths of over 15,600 lbs and are more uniform, more durable, and more flexible than non-compacted cables. We use a compacted 5/16" cable when we periodically replace those diameter hoist cables: it has the same great uniformity, durability, and flexibility and a breaking strength of 12,400 lbs. Actual cable loads are specific to each lift and are typically under 1,000 lbs.

Inherently Stable Hoisting Geometry– In 2006, just as he was started Inclined Elevation, John decided that the hoisting cable needed to be attached at the top end of the dolly, not the bottom end as was the industry standard in Ontario. With this change, the lifting point is above the centre of gravity of the car, so the car becomes inherently stable (instead of inherently unstable). This required replacing the existing emergency slack-cable braking system with a new design. It turns out that the new braking design fires faster, once tripped the brakes cannot be unset by the hoist cable, and cannot pinch the hoist cable in the track. It’s safe go up the track after this brake has tripped. It’s also straightforward to reset this brake from all cantilevered cars while riding in the car.

Rider Wheels – The rider wheels run on the web of the channel and keep the dolly centred. We use solid neoprene wheels and have brass bushings fitted for smoother running and longer wheel life.

Emergency Braking & Motor Shut-Off Systems

The 4140 steel brake dogs have aggressive heat-treated teeth that dig into the track and hold the car.

The 4140 steel brake dogs have aggressive heat-treated teeth that dig into the track and hold the car.

Slack Cable Brakes – If the car stops when being lowered (say, by a fallen branch) the suspension cable will go slack. When less than an inch of cable has gone gone slack, the automatic slack-cable emergency brake will release the trigger arm, which uses both gravity and a coil spring to drive 2 flame-hardened 4140 steel brake dogs into the track with progressively increasing force so the car stops within a fraction of an inch. The slack trigger arm also acts as a back-up brake, preventing the car from sliding any more than five feet down the track.

Over-Speed Brakes – The typical running speed of an inclined elevator is 60 feet per minute or 0.3 meters per second. If the car exceeds 0.5 meters per second, the over-speed braking system fires, driving the brake dogs into the track. The heart of this system is beautifully designed German elevator overspeed governor. The clever design of this governor makes the tripping speed decrease if the governor pivots stiffen from a lack of lubrication. Typical over-speed governors have their tripping speed increase as their pivots stiffen, making them useless.

When the Over-Speed Brake trips the Slack-Cable Brake will also trip.

Slack Cable Motor Shut-Off – All our lifts have a fail-safe mechanism that immediately stops the hoist motor when the suspension cable goes slack.

After either brake is tripped the car can still be safely raised to the top stations so the riders aren't trapped.

PLC-Based Lift Control System

Intelligent Control – Safety and convenience are further enhanced because our lifts are controlled by a
Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), running our proprietary Lift Control System (LCS) programs. These are the brains of the lift, receiving information from user controlled buttons, track mounted proximity switches, and station gate limit switches and controlling the motor through the VFD and the station gates. There is no better system on the market for controlling your lift.

Customized For You – The lift is turned on and off using by entering the correct sequence with the the STOP and station buttons on the station button boxes or with an (optional) remote controller. We can also program your lift to turn itself off after a chosen period of inactivity (from minutes to days to never). An optional PARK button moves the lift from either station a programmed time and then stops the car. The lift controls can optionally be used to control dock and garden lighting.

Other Standard Features

Electrical – We only use top-of-the-line electrical and electro-mechanical components. Major electrical components are manufactured by Telemecanique and Schneider Electric. Our CSA approved panels are built in Midland Ontario by Walker Panels

Fold-Up Seats – Passenger seats fold up to stay drier and increase space for cargo.

Quality Materials – Durable red cedar seats, floors, walls, and top rails on passenger cars are held in place with rust-proof brass screws and blind nuts. A quality stain is used to finish the cedar. We typically finish the cedar on the car and on the machinery housing with Sansin SDF stains in a colour of your choosing. We can also discuss finishing them to match the cottage.

Optional Features

Station Gate Interlocks

Interlocked station gates make sense when a station is high off the ground so there's a fall hazard or to protect riders getting on or off the car from the lift being carelessly moved. We offer the following interlocked access gate options, these systems can often be retrofitted to existing lifts.

Electro-mechanical Interlocked Gates – When access platforms have safe railings and a solid self-closing self-latching access gates, preferably all in metal, we can use an electro-mechanical interlock to prevent the station gate from opening unless the car is in the station and to prevent the car from moving unless the gate is closed and latched. We will work with you and/or your rail and gate installers to ensure that they work properly.

Rotating and Sliding Gate Systems: These automatic access gates are run by the lift control system and, as well as interlocking the gate with the lift, also automatically open and close the access gates as the car arrives at or prepares to leave the station.

Photocell Interlocks - New in 2018, these are useful when there's no fall-hazard in the station but you want to protect riders getting on or off a car from being surprised and hurt if someone at another station tries to move the car.

Other Options

Wireless Remote Controllers – A wireless remote turns the lift on or off, controls optional track or dock lighting, and stops the lift and changes your destination. It can be operated from your car, boat, or wherever.

Built-In Cargo Platform – On cantilevered cars where the car attaches to the bottom end of the dolly, we can add a storage area behind the seat that's ideal for cargo. 

Flatbed Truck-Style Lift – Lifts 27 and 28 have a "flatbed" car which is simpler and is less expensive than the standard 4-person car. They're built to transport people and materials and is often used during cottage or boathouse construction to lower costs. Lift 27 was used to carry an old cottage up the hill and a new one down the hill.

A Wheelbarrow Lift: We also built a cargo lift with a cargo bucket that tips loads of seaweeds into a garden tractor at the top station.


  • Third and even fourth stations

  • Ice scrapers to clear ice from the top of the track during winter operations

  • Integrated track, garden, dock lighting

  • Higher-capacity motors

  • Emergency backup generators

  • Stairs running alongside the track

  • Safety fences on the car for steep lifts

  • Self-closing, automatically locking car doors

  • Wood fittings on the car and machinery covers to match your cottage

  • 42-inch car walls

  • Canopies, See Lifts 21, 24, 62

  • PARK buttons

Note: We are always open to developing other custom options, depending on your needs.


5 Years - All static components (including the track and car) are guaranteed for five years.

2 Years - All dynamic components (including the motor, gearbox, and electrical control systems) and the paint are guaranteed for two years.

These warranties assume that all prescribed maintenance and repairs have been performed by Inclined Elevation Inc. or by a qualified company or individual approved by us. Our warranty excludes damage caused by neglect, misuse, or acts of nature.