East Hill Cliff Railway

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East Hill Cliff Railway
Hastings funicular railway.jpg
The upper station and car in 2005, before closure and replacement
Statusin use
LocaleHastings, United Kingdom
Operator(s)Hastings Borough Council
Opened1902 (1902)
Line length0.0505 mi (0.0813 km)
Number of tracksDouble track
Track gauge5 ft (1,524 mm)
Maximum incline78%
View of the line showing both stations
View down the line, also showing the distinctive net shops on the Stade

East Hill Cliff Railway, or East Hill Lift, is a funicular railway located in the English seaside town of Hastings. It provides access to Hastings Country Park via the East Hill, which overlooks the Old Town and Rock-a-Nore, an area to the east of Hastings. The line provides views over The Stade, home to the largest beach-launched fishing fleet in Europe.

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

  • Length: 267 feet (81 m)
  • Gradient: 78%
  • Cars: 2
  • Capacity: 16 passengers per car
  • Configuration: Double track
  • Gauge: 5 ft (1,524 mm)
  • Traction: Electricity

The line was opened in August 1902 by Hastings Borough Council. It was originally operated on the water balance principle, and the twin towers of the upper station contained water tanks for this purpose. The line was modernised between 1973 and 1976, during which time it was converted to electric operation and new cars were provided.[2][3]

The line was shut in June 2007 because of an incident where a fault in a control panel caused the cars to fail to stop at the correct point, resulting in damage to both cars and stations. In 2008, Hastings Borough Council decided on a major refurbishment involving new cars and new control and safety systems, together with repairs to the damaged stations.[4][5][6] The line reopened in March 2010.

Following the closure of lines in Broadstairs[7] and Margate,[8] the East Hill Cliff Railway is now the steepest funicular railway in the United Kingdom. It is complemented by the West Hill Cliff Railway, which provides access to Hastings Castle and the Smugglers Adventure in St. Clements Caves.[3]

A model of the East Hill Cliff Railway is on public display at the Brighton Toy and Model Museum.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hastings East & West Hill Railways". The Heritage Trail. Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2009.
  2. ^ a b "East Hill". Funiculars.net. Retrieved 12 May 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Hastings Cliff Railways". Funicular Railways of the UK. Retrieved 12 May 2009.
  4. ^ "Cliff railway 'closed for weeks'". BBC. 28 June 2007. Retrieved 10 August 2008.
  5. ^ "Funicular to stay closed until next summer despite costly planned refurb". Hastings & St Leonards Observer. Johnston Press Digital Publishing. 7 August 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
  6. ^ "Ask the Leader - Questions and Answers - Question 770". Hastings Borough Council. 31 March 2009. Archived from the original on 15 October 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
  7. ^ Broadstairs Cliff Railway (1901-1991)
  8. ^ Margate Cliff Railway (Cliftonville Lido) (1913-1970s)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°51′24.55″N 0°35′43.1″E / 50.8568194°N 0.595306°E / 50.8568194; 0.595306