East Cliff Railway

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This article is about the cliff railway in Bournemouth. For the similarly named cliff railway in Hastings, see East Hill Cliff Railway.
The cliff railway from the beach. In November, the beach is deserted and the railway shut down for the winter.
A closer view of the line in operation.

The East Cliff Railway, or East Cliff Lift, is a funicular railway located in the English seaside resort of Bournemouth. The line serves to link the seaside promenade and beach with the cliff top and the town behind.[1]

The line is owned and operated by Bournemouth Borough Council and has the following technical parameters:[1][2]

  • Length: 170 feet (52 m)
  • Gradient: 68.9%
  • Cars: 2
  • Capacity: 12 passengers per car
  • Configuration: Double track
  • Gauge: 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm)
  • Traction: Electricity

The line was constructed for Bournemouth Corporation, and opened in 1908. It was electrically operated from the start, with winding gear situated at the upper station driven by a 25 horsepower (19 kW) winding motor. The line was controlled by a driver at the upper station, assisted by an attendant at the lower station. Wooden-bodied cars were used.[1] The cars were replaced in the 1960s by aluminium-bodied cars intended to be interchangeable across all three of Bournemouth's surviving cliff railways. In 1987 the track was re-laid, and during the 1990s the line was further upgraded with the installation of an electronic control system.[1]

On 24 April 2016 the lift was damaged by a landslip.[3] The cars were removed from the track by crane on 21 May 2016.[4] The lift has remained closed since the landslip and is not due to re-open before the end of summer 2016.[5] The landslip also damaged the lower toll house for the lift and the decision has been taken to dismantle the current structure.[5]

The East Cliff Railway is one of three such cliff railways in Bournemouth, the other two being the West Cliff Railway and the Fisherman's Walk Cliff Railway. All three operate between April and October.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Bournemouth's Cliff Railways". The Heritage Trail. Retrieved 2009-05-15. 
  2. ^ "East Cliff, Bournemouth". Funiculars.net. Retrieved 2009-05-15. 
  3. ^ "Toilets demolished and cliff lift damaged after landslip in Bournemouth". Bournemouth Daily Echo. 24 April 2016. 
  4. ^ "Cliff lifts lifted after landslide". Bournemouth Daily Echo. 21 May 2016. 
  5. ^ a b "Cliff lift WON'T reopen this summer, say council officers". 20 June 2016. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°43′05″N 1°51′55″W / 50.717989°N 1.865364°W / 50.717989; -1.865364