Aberystwyth Cliff Railway

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Aberystwyth Cliff Railway
Railway on Constitution hill 1.JPG
Locale Aberystwyth
Transit type Funicular railway
Number of stations 2
Began operation 1 August 1896
Operator(s) Constitution Hill Ltd
System length 778 feet (237 m)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)

The Aberystwyth Cliff Railway (Welsh: Rheilffordd y Graig) is a funicular railway in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales. Opened in 1896 at 778 feet (237 m) in length, it was the longest funicular railway in the British Isles, surpassed in length by the Cairngorm Mountain Railway at 1,970m, with a height difference of 462m.[1]


The railway is part of Constitution Hill, a Victorian development on the hill of the same name built by the Aberystwyth Improvement Company,[2] and form of early theme park. It consisted of arcades and a restaurant at the foot of the hill, the railway, and at the top of the hill a camera obscura and park. Constitution Hill was designed and engineered by George Croydon Marks, who later became a Labour peer, who at the same time designed the new pavilion for the Royal Pier.[3]

As part of Constitution Hill, Croydon-Marks designed into the development a meandering footpath as an alternative route. To allow this to pass over the railway on a footbridge, in the midsection 12,000 tonnes of rock were excavated to provide the railway with a lower path.


Originally operated on a water balance system, it was electrified in 1921. The 4ft 10in (1,422mm) gauge railway climbs 430 feet (130 m) in 778 feet (237 m) — a gradient steeper than 1:2 (50%). Its twin carriages, which both take 30 passengers,[2] are named the Lord Geraint and the Lord Marks.

Appearance in music and literature[edit]

The railway makes appearances in the work of Malcolm Pryce.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Riley, Andrew; Blackwood, Lorna (2007-11-30). "Focus on... Aberystwyth". London: The Times. Retrieved 2010-06-04. 
  2. ^ a b "Aberystwyth Cliff Railway". engineering-timelines.com. Retrieved 2010-06-04. 
  3. ^ "Aberystwyth Royal Pier". visitaberystwyth.com. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°25′23″N 4°05′02″W / 52.42300°N 4.08379°W / 52.42300; -4.08379