Shropshire Star

No signs of Bridgnorth Cliff Railway opening before Christmas despite wall repairs

The owner of the stricken Bridgnorth Cliff Railway has said the attraction is not yet ready to reopen despite the works to the damaged retaining wall having been completed.

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Engineer Barry Evans at the closed Bridgnorth Cliff Railway

The funicular train was closed on health and safety grounds just before Christmas last year after the damaged wall was discovered by contractors.

Twelve months on and a 65-metre section of retaining wall owned by Bridgnorth Town Council has now been repaired at a cost to local taxpayers of £750,000.

Castle Terrace was cleared of scaffolding last month, but the owner of the Bridgnorth attraction, Malvern Tipping, said the Cliff Railway was still not ready to reopen despite the completion of the works that stopped it in its tracks last year.

He said: "We await for engineers to attend to provide the necessary operator’s certification which is required by our regulators at HM Inspectorate of Mines.

Malvern Tipping with Cliff Railway engineer Barry Evans inspecting the retaining wall

"They had been booked to attend earlier, but we had to cancel due to the town council’s contractors still having scaffolding and other apparatus on the Cliff Railway’s tracks. These engineers take at least a month to book up.

"Ordinarily, we are required by our regulators to have these inspections every six months. We now await an inspection."

Mr Tipping added that the Cliff Railway was currently drafting new contracts of employment for the 14 staff made redundant when the attraction closed last year.

But he said that before the attraction opened he needed assurance that a small section of retaining wall that is has not been repaired by the town council won't hamper the tourist attraction.

"We will need confirmation from the town council and its engineers that that section poses no threat to the Cliff Railway, because the Health & Safety Executive will very likely require that assurance," he said.

He also said that a leaking sewage pipe had still not been repaired and they were waiting for the return of Severn Trent engineers.

"Severn Trent attended to take a look and then said that it would return to affect a remedy. When it did return, Severn Trent then announced that there would be further delay, because it had not yet obtained a street closure licence.

"Severn Trent then arrived the other day with the object of pumping in a foam to stop the sewerage seeping into our premises, only to leave saying that the weather was too cold for the foam to set."

He added: "Hence, four months on, we are still waiting for Severn Trent to resolve the matter."

Jessica Hamlett, Severn Trent Waste Team Manager from Shropshire, said: “Our team made a repair to the damaged waste pipe that was affecting the Cliff Railway a few weeks ago. We’ve since been back out to check to the pipe and found a mass of stone and rubble which is causing a blockage.

“This material wasn't in the sewer when we last visited the site and we're looking into how it could have entered the system, but it’s likely to have been put there by a third party. We’ll clear the blockage and have everything back to normal as quickly as possible and would like to apologise for any inconvenience.”

Bridgnorth Town Council was also approached for comment.