Shropshire Star

Picture shows how stricken Bridgnorth Cliff Railway also ground to a halt 50 years ago

As Bridgnorth's funicular railway remains closed due to issues with a retaining wall, a photographer has reflected on another health and safety closure at the attraction more than 50 years ago.

Firemen rescuing passengers when Bridgnorth Cliff Railway came to a halt during a power cut due to the 1970s miners' strikes (picture: Mike Hayward)

Mike Hayward, who used to take pictures for the Shropshire Star and Bridgnorth Journal, has found in his archives a photograph of when the Cliff Railway ground to a halt in 1972.

The 75-year-old retired photographer's image shows two elderly ladies being hauled from a stranded carriage with a rope by members of the fire brigade.

"I don't remember the exact date but it was during the miners' strike in 1972," recalled Mr Hayward. "I think a power cut had caught the Cliff Railway unaware and it had stopped halfway.

"It was the only time that the railway had to shut that I can remember.

"But I don't recall who the two ladies were, who old they were or what happened afterwards but obviously they were brought to safety.

"I just can't imagine it would happen these days with the fire service asking them to stagger up the track on a rope."

The miners' strike in 1972 lasted from January 9 to February 28, which dates the picture to the winter of that year.

The Bridgnorth Cliff Railway has been taking people from Low Town to High Town since 1892.

It is described as "England's oldest and steepest inland electric funicular railway", although the attraction has been closed since December.

Structural issues with a retaining wall shut it down due to health and safety fears. It is not expected to reopen until at least Easter.

Director of the railway, Dr Malvern Tipping, who has already contacted solicitors to make 14 out of 16 of his employees redundant while the visitor attraction remains closed, has now said he fears for the future of the 130-year old attraction.