All the Fun of the Funicular

We had a day trip in the camper to Bridgnorth, Shropshire. It rained, but we weren’t down hearted.

Whenever I’m in Bridgnorth I have to visit and travel on the Cliff railway because it is a small marvel of engineering and because of a family connection.

The cost to ride the rail is only £1.20 return, which is a bargain in comparison to other railways. The difference is that the Bridgnorth cliff rail is not only a tourist attraction, it is a much used public transport system.

Bridgnorth is split into two sections, High Town and Low town. The Cliff railway was built in July 1892 to transport residents between the towns instead of scaling the 200 steps.

It’s the oldest and steepest inland electric funicular railway in England

In 1944 the hydraulic system of counterbalanced cars was replaced with an electrically operated mining type motor of 32 hp. The conversion was carried out by Messrs. Francis & J.S. Lane based in Silverend, Brierley Hill. The effect of the conversion was to double the speed of the railway, up to a maximum speed of 250 feet per minute. The railway reopened in December 1944, and showed an immediate increase in traffic.

There are 3 steel ropes – a separate one from each car to the winding drum, and a safety rope running from one car to the other via the winding wheel. These are 26mm multi-strand ropes tested to an actual breaking strain of 58 tonnes. They are examined in great detail for defects every 6 months, and are replaced every 5 to 7 years.

Whilst working for Francis & John Lane back in the sixties, my father checked and replaced the steel ropes. obviously they have been replaced many times since then.

Cliff Railway

In 1955, the passenger cars were replaced with a more modern type, with improved lighting.

The Carriage design is so elegant it harks back to a stylish period. It would be easy to imagine Monsieur Poirot stepping through the door.

Cliff Railway (5)

Cliff Railway (4)

On the way down

Cliff Railway (2)

Cliff Railway (3)

Passing midway