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Cliff railway reveals cause of fault

By Dominic Robertson | Bridgnorth | News | Published:

A historic cliff railway will require a two-day shut-down for work on an electrical motor that closed the attraction last week, it has been revealed.

The cliff railway

Bridgnorth Cliff Railway reopened today after a two day shut-down following a carriage becoming stuck due to an electrical fault on Wednesday evening.

Its chairman Dr Malvern Tipping, has said that an investigation of the cause means a partial refurbishment of an electric motor will take place in the coming months.

Dr Tipping said that an expert from West Midlands Rewinds of Kidderminster had stripped the motor down yesterday morning to find out what had happened.

The fault was identified as being a wire which had come loose from one of the brake drums, but not the other.

As a consequence the system’s braking system automatically kicked in.

Dr Tipping said that a repair has been carried out but that a partial refurbishment of the motor, requiring a further two day closure, would take place in the next month or so.

He said: “Once the system was stripped down, the fault was soon identified as being an electrical wire having come loose from one of the brake drums, but not the other. That automatically brought the system to a halt and explains the grating noise heard by Mr Thompson in one of the carriages. In much the same manner as a string on a musical instrument, the taut steel ropes transmitted the sound and vibrations down from the winding room to the carriage."

Five people were stuck in the carriage during the stoppage.

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A member of the fire service climbed down to the carriages with first aid equipment and a radio for reassurance while colleagues worked to release the carriage brakes and move the passengers back to the station.

Dr Tipping said they had referred the incident to the Health and Safety Executive, even though it was not required.

He said: “Although the stoppage was a non-reportable incident, I immediately informed the Health & Safety Executive on learning about it. Having since looked into it, the HSE has commended the response by our staff and the fire brigade as being a textbook rescue, using the additional weight of a firefighter in the carriage for an out of balance gravity-controlled wind. Therefore, I would like to thank both Peter Bridger and the fire brigade for a truly excellent intervention."

Dr Tipping said that although the two-day closure would be an inconvenience, he was pleased the railway had been able to re-open in time for tomorrow's Bridgnorth Carnival.

He said: “Following advice from West Midlands Rewinds, we are going to have a partial refurbishment of the electric motor in the coming months. This will necessitate another two-day closure. I appreciate that this will be an inconvenience to passengers, but am sure that they understand that it is necessary that we do these things. In the meantime, I am pleased that travellers to the carnival will now not be inconvenienced.”

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