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) opened on 1 August 1896. It is a funicular railway in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales, having a length of 778 feet (237 m). It was the longest funicular railway in the British Isles[1] until 2001, when the Cairngorm Mountain Railway opened.


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 Standard 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. Archived from the original on 2012-02-23. 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