Site of aerial cableway, Aberaeron

button_lang_welshbutton_lang_frenchSite of aerial cableway, Aberaeron

aberaeron_carriage_bachFor several decades, visitors to Aberaeron were winched across the river at this point in a gondola suspended from a cable. The base for the south-side winding mechanism is visible in the grassy bank on the far side of the river.

The apparatus was originally set up by Captain John Evans to connect his home to his timber sawing mill on the opposite shore, while the town’s lower river bridge was rebuilt after a flood in 1881. The bridge had been patched up many times since its construction, with shallow foundations, in 1814. Rock was later quarried from the riverside upstream for housebuilding, and stone was taken from the riverbed downstream as ballast for empty ships leaving the harbour. The altered river flow lowered the riverbed under the bridge, which was weakened.

By 1882, Capt Evans was opening his “tramcar” to the public on fair days. It soon became known as the “carriage bach” (little carriage). The return fare was one penny. The gondola was winched across by an attendant. The cable was lowered onto the riverbed whenever a masted vessel needed to pass at high tide, to reach or leave the area of the harbour between here and the bridge. The equipment was removed and stored after each summer.

Publican and coal merchant Evan Loyn had installed his own version of the ride by 1885. The four-seat gondola carried the name “Aeron Express”, as shown in the old postcard above. On “Dydd Mercher Mawr” (Wednesday fair day) in July 1896, 1,000 halfpenny fares were paid for the ride. It carried c.12,500 paying passengers in summer 1901. By then, the harbour lessees had the sole right to operate the “carriage bach”.

The ride continued to operate until the early 1930s. A replica crossed the river for several years in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Postcode: SA46 0BU    View Location Map

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