File:Scarborough Central Tramway - Top station exterior.jpg

The British town of Scarborough has had a total of five cliff railways, three remain in service. Two of these funiculars were on Scarborough's North Bay and three on South Bay, both railways on North Bay are closed.

File:Scarborough Funiculars - plan.png

Central TramwayEdit

File:Scarborough Central Tramway - Track.jpg

The Central Tramway Company Scarborough Limited opened the Central Tramway in 1880 and started operating on 1 August 1881. The funicular was operated by steam, the steam house was situated away from the top station. Since drivers have no view of the cars, they use marks on the rope to indicate the car positions.

In 1910 the funicular was converted to electric drive. In 1932 the cars were replaced and the motor placed under the top station. Driving was done from a driving station at the top of the station with full view of the cars.

The track is 71 m long on a 1 in 2 gradient. The track is 1,435 mm (4 ft 8½ in) standard gauge. The funicular is operated by two cars.

North Clift LiftEdit

The North Clift Lift was built by the Medway Safety Lift Company Ltd in 1930 and closed in September 1996. The lift was part of a large Corporation development at Peasholm Gap. It has been dismantled and has now been reassembled in Launceston, Cornwall.

The funicular was run by two cars and electric powered. The track was 51 m long with a track width of 1981 mm.

Queens Parade Cliff LiftEdit

The Scarborough Queen's Parade Tramway Company Limited was created on 4 March 1878, linking Queen's Parade, on the top of the North Cliff to the Promenade Pier.

A cabin broke loose on 8 August 1878, the opening day, the lift closed for the rest of the year. With accidents every year, pump engine and water supply failures and a further landslip in 1887 stopped the use of the lift.

The track was 87 m long on a 1 in 2.5 gradient and 1219 mm wide, two cars ran up and down the lift.

South Cliff LiftEdit

File:Scarborough South Cliff Lift - Track.jpg

The Scarborough South Cliff Tramway Company Limited was created in 1873 and opened on 6 July 1875, linking the South Cliff Esplanade to the Scarborough Spa and costing £ 8000, it was then the first funicular in the United Kingdom.

The lift was designed by a Mr Lucas and built by Crossley Brothers of Manchester, the cars, capable of carrying 14 passengers each, were constructed by the Metropolitan Carriage Company of Birmingham. The track is 4 ft 8½ in (1,435 mm) wide and 284 ft (86 m) long. The lift was first using water as counterweight. It was using sea water. Two Crossley gas engines, replaced by steam pumps in 1879, were installed to pump the sea water to the upper station to fill the top car. The water pipe was between the two parallel tracks.

The track, 4 ft 8½ in (1,435 mm) standard gauge, is 87 m long on a 1 in 1.75 gradient. The two cars were between 1875 and 1879 gas powered, then between 1879 and 1947, powered by steam. The cars are, since 1947, powered by a 90 hp electric engine. The two cars were replaced by two cars built by Hudswell Clarke & Company in 1934-1935.

The Scarborough Borough Council bought the funicular from its owners in 1993. In 1997, the lift was modified to be completely automatic.

St Nicholas Cliff LiftEdit

File:Scarborough St Nicholas Cliff Lift - Bottom station.jpg

The St Nicholas Cliff Lift was built by the Medway Safety Lift Company Ltd in 1929 and opened on 5 August. The Saint Nicholas Cliff Lift is located on the other side of the Grand Hotel from the Central Tramway, near the Aquarium.

There originally was no bottom station, passengers stepped into the tramcars directly from the pavement as the control equipment was incorporated in the upper station and no station was provided at the bottom of the lift. Fares are paid at the top station.

In late 2006, Scarborough Council announced its intention to close the lift, as a cost-cutting measure.

The track is 31 m long on a 1 in 1.33 gradient, the track width is 2286 mm.


Historic town tramway systems in the United Kingdom (v/t)


Alford and Sutton - Barnsley and District - Birmingham Corporation - Blackpool - Brill - Bristol - Chesterfield - City of Birmingham - Dearne District - Derby - Doncaster - Grimsby & Immingham - Grimsby District - Heaton Park - Hull - Ilkeston - Liverpool - London County Council - London United - Maidstone Corporation - Mansfield & District - Matlock - Mexborough & Swinton - Nottingham Corporation - Nottingham & District - Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire - Rotherham - Scarborough funiculars - Sheffield - Southampton - Volks Electric - Warrington - Wisbech and Upwell - Wolverton and Stony Stratford


Great Orme - Swansea and Mumbles Railway - Pwllheli and Llanbedrog


Glasgow - Scottish Tramway and Transport Society

Northern Ireland

Giant's Causeway Tramway

Isle of Man

Douglas Bay Horse Tramway - Douglas Southern Electric Tramway - Manx Electric Railway - Snaefell Mountain Railway - Upper Douglas Cable Tramway


Maley & Taunton