The Clifton Rocks Railway was one of Bristol's secrets. It linked Clifton to pleasure steamers at Hotwells, a rail link to Avonmouth and a tram link
to Bristol centre, by means of a water powered lift service. It operated between 1893 and 1934 and is the only cliff railway with four sets of
tracks in a tunnel in the world.
It is a superb example of Victorian engineering. During the war, it was used as an air raid shelter. It was
also used by Imperial Airways (including work on barrage balloons), and by the BBC as a top secret transmitting station as the backup up for London.
This required a large amount of building construction over the rails by the Ministry of Works in 1940. From the 1960s it was left to go derelict after
the BBC gave up its lease.
A definitive history has just been published which tells the story from the 1600s to present day. "The ups and downs of Clifton Rocks Railway and the Clifton Spa". It has 317 pages and 430 images. It will be on sale and can be signed by the author. Booklets for will also be for sale. Become a friend and get the latest copy of the Cable.
Come and see the artefacts from the railway, and from under the refuge ledges, including items left behind by children. Look at the models made by the volunteers and a display of photographs taken by the Bristol Photographic Society, also the clock to commemorate the opening of the Railway in 1893 made out of the first piece of rock removed by blasting from the tunnel, and the first marble block cut for the adjacent Pump Room.
There will also be an exhibition in the Hotel on the April open day.
Do note that it is not suitable for young children.
All work so far (since Easter 2005) has been done by volunteers using donations from the public. Clifton Rocks Railway a limited company "Clifton Rocks Railway Ltd" and a Charitable Trust.
The top station and most of the tunnel is owned by the Avon Gorge Hotel, the bottom station by Bristol City Council.
See http://www.cliftonrocksrailway.org.uk for more details of progress and monthly photos.
Map & Directions
Tel: +44 (0)17 946 2207
Sorry, this event has passed