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Scarborough Cliff Railways, North Bay, site of
Queen's Parade and North Cliff, Scarborough, East Riding of Yorkshire, UK
associated engineer
Not known
date  8th August 1878, August 1930
UK era  Victorian  |  category  Railway  |  reference  TA042892
Scarborough’s hilly terrain is ideal for cliff railways, providing easy access between town and shore. There were two funicular railways in the town's North Bay and three in the South Bay, including Britain’s first cliff railway. However, the two northern ones are gone — one was demolished long ago and the other dismantled relatively recently.
From the 17th century, Scarborough was known for its medicinal springs, and later for its sea bathing. The town is built around two bays and along the promontory the runs between them, where a castle is situated.
Following the success of the first cliff railway in the South Bay (1875), another was set up in the North Bay between Queen's Parade and the Promenade Pier (1869). It opened on 8th August 1878. However, a runaway carriage damaged the lower station and closed the funicular until the next year. After that a series of accidents and landslips led to its final closure in 1887. The pier was destroyed by a gale in 1905.
This first North Bay railway had two cars running on parallel tracks 87m long and 1.219m wide over a 1 in 2.5 slope. It was a classic funicular — as one car moved down, the other came up. The motive power was counterbalanced water tanks, alternatively filled and emptied.
The later electric-powered North Cliff Lift on Royal Albert Drive opened in August 1930. It was constructed as part of the development at Peasholm Gap. Its funicular had two cars running on twin tracks 51m long and 1.981m wide over a gradient of 1 in 2.
The second railway closed in 1996, needing at least £75,000 to repair its corrosion and mechanical problems. Declining passenger numbers and annual running costs of £20,000 had made it uneconomic to undertake the repairs. It was dismantled and donated to Launceston Civic Society in 1998, intended for re-assembly as a working funicular in 2000. But to date it remains in storage in Cornwall, in the care of the Launceston Steam Railway.
Main contractor(1930): Medway Safety Lift Company Ltd, Dartford
Research: ECPK
reference sources   CEH North

Scarborough Cliff Railways, North Bay, site of