England’s oldest and steepest electric funicular railway had to be closed for two days during this week’s half-term break to ensure vital engineering and maintenance work could be carried out, it has been revealed.
Bridgnorth Cliff Railway was closed all day on Tuesday while work to shorten ropes and repair abutment walls was undertaken.
The attraction was also shut to the public yesterday while more work was carried out on the walls and the top ticket station was redecorated. Parts of the railway were also painted during the two days.
The owners of the cliff railway today said they had faced a difficult decision over whether to close the attraction during the school holidays. But they said the work had been essential and was now finished.
Dr Malvern Tipping, chairman of the railway, said: “We needed to set aside a week for on-going building and trackside maintenance works, as well as scheduled engineering.
“These cliff railways are a bit like the Forth Rail Bridge, in Scotland, as they require regular repair and maintenance.
“Our difficulty is that we seek to open 362 days of the year and our passengers have an expectation that we will remain open throughout.
“However, in order to ensure their continued safety and to maintain the fabric of the trackside and the buildings, we do have to undertake these works.
“We try to keep disruption to a minimum and hope that both regulars and visitors alike will understand.”
Allan Reynolds, who previously owned the railway, was in attendance to instruct staff on the approved procedures for the shortening of the ropes.
Dr Tipping said: “The works had to be scheduled for half-term week because it was the only time frame the railway could get its staff and contractors together.
“October was selected because it was after the summer season and a month when weather conditions would permit the use of lime putty mortar.”
General manager Chris Preece said the engineering work went well and were completed within a day. He said: “The supervision by Allan Reynolds resulted in the smooth running of the operation.”