Aberystwyth Cliff Railway
The railway’s opening in 1896 stimulated the development of Constitution Hill as a leisure area where visitors enjoyed view across Aberystwyth and a wide expanse of Wales. Passengers ride for more than 230 metres in two funicular cars, which are attached via a steel cable to winding and braking machinery at the top.
Originally water was fed into a tank beneath the car waiting at the top station, providing enough weight to haul the other car to the top even if the descending car was empty while the ascending one was carrying passengers. The water was emptied at the lower station while the other car had its tank filled. The system was converted to electric operation in 1921.
The track and unusual tilted cars were designed by George Croydon Marks, a specialist in funicular lifts and railways. He later became a Cornish MP and Peer. Digging the cutting for the central section of the railway involved excavating 12,000 tons of rock.
Today the railway’s operated by Constitution Hill Ltd, a charity whose trustees are volunteers from the local community. All profits are used to cover maintenance and restoration costs. The charity’s work has also revived some of the atmosphere of Constitution Hill when it was a popular Victorian park. The charity has installed ramps from the upper station to allow people with wheelchairs or prams to visit the nearby camera obscura. In 2005 the charity opened Y Consti, a café and gift shop at the upper station, with the help of a European Union grant.
Postcode: SY23 2DN