This Yorkshire Water-Balanced Cliff Tram Is The Oldest In The UK

This Yorkshire Water-Balanced Cliff Tram Is The Oldest In The UK

Having visited Saltburn-by-the-Sea recently, we have to say that the cliff tram was one of the highlights of the trip by far. The lift is a fantastic example of Victorian engineering and is also the oldest of its kind.

Designed to help guide visitors to the beach and pier that stood at the bottom of a very steep cliff, the cliff tram transports you back in time as you slowly descend towards Saltburn Pier in the traditional carriage with its beautiful stained glass.

Watch our trip on Saltburn Cliff lift below:


Late on the trend, but we had to make it perfect 😂✨ Saltburn by the Sea, North Yorkshire 📍 #saltburnbythesea #saltburnbeach #accidentallywesanderson #northyorkshire #yorkshirecoast #yorkshirebeach

♬ original sound – Jeremy Cascamisi

From the operators dressed in their waistcoats and flat caps to the symmetrical design of the lift whose centre runs in a straight line all the way to the end of the pier. This a great example of the detail Victorians put into everything.

When does the Saltburn cliff lift run?

The Saltburn cliff lift runs from mid-March to the end of October and helps connect the pier to the old town and saves people climbing the 173 steps to the top.

It’s open 7 days a week in peak season and runs from 10:30am – 5pm with the last tram leaving at 4:55pm.

Saltburn Cliff Lift
Photo © Gerald Massey (cc-by-sa/2.0)

It costs £1.60 for a single fair, which is £3.20 for a return for an adult. A child (aged 5 – 16) is just £1, so £2 return. They also do a family ticket for two adults and two children for or one adult and four children for £4.50.

The cliff tram that is used today and the oldest of its kind in the UK and the second oldest in the world was built in 188.

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The Saltburn Pier Company contracted John Anderson, who had designed the pier, who designed the original hoist was made 120ft high and made of wood dated from 1870 to 1883 before being replaced with the much safer one you see today.

How does the Saltburn Cliff lift work?

Taking approximately 55 seconds there are two carriages to journey up the 207ft track on the 75% incline, each carriage has a water capacity of 1,500 litres.

Running on parallel funicular tracts, the movement of each carriage is controlled by a brakeman at the top via an iron winding wheel.

Saltburn Cliff Lift
Credit: Saltburn Cliff Tramway

The carriage at the top has its water tank filled until its mass exceeds the other carriage, which then travels to the top with the brakeman controlling the speed of travel.

When the carriage reaches the bottom its water is released, reducing the mass of the lower car, and pumped back to the top.

To find out more visit the website here. Saltburn Cliff Tramway, Lower Promenade, Saltburn, TS12 1HQ

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