Launceston Cliff Railway

Scarborough Borough Council has given Launceston their redundant North Cliff lift but Launceston had to pay for the cost of transport and the parts of the cliff lift are presently stored by the Launceston Steam Railway.

The Cliff Lift was illustrated as an example of a potential infrastructure project, linking the Newport area with the town centre and providing access for both local people and visitors to Launceston.

Various concerns are raised by those not in support, for example:-

  • the lack of attractiveness of Newport,
    sufficient to make people from the town travel down
  • the possible adverse effect on residents of Tower Street
  • concern that a Cliff Lift would not be used by locals much
  • concern that it is an inappropriate type of development for Launceston

“Town has timetable to get cliff railway going”

The scene is set for a real cliff-hanger in the Cornish town of Launceston.
The town took delivery, in bits and pieces, of a 70-year-old cliff railway from Scarborough.
Now the race is on to get it up (and down) and running again by the year 2000.
What Scarborough doesn’t want, Launceston Civic Society is delighted to have.

The society was spearheading a project, backed by Cornwall County and North Cornwall District Councils, to use the cliff railway as a half-mile link between the town centre on top of the hill to Newport industrial estate in the valley below. Business and retail development would attract visitors, particularly if their mode of transport to it was the cliff railway.

The Millennium Commission refused a grant for a clutch of Launceston projects, including the cliff railway on the grounds that it was not technically feasible.

A total of 123 comments were received on the Cliff Lift with 42 in support of the proposal and 70 against.

We shall see if the proposed scheme is either dead or sleeping!


Great Western Railway Proposed Electrification

In 1938 the Great Western Railway planned to electrify all railways west of Taunton at a cost of £4.3M with the exception of a minor few branch lines that would have been worked by diesel.

The second world brought this plan to an abrupt end and it is now unlikely to be realised for many decades.

The electrification is only now finally under way!


Authorised but not constructed:-

Taunton Electric Traction Co. Ltd. – Proposed Length:- 0.12 miles Proposed Track Gauge:- 3ft 6in

There were also proposed extensions in Devonport, Exeter, Plymouth and Weston super Mare which were not constructed.

Planned but did not proceed any further:-

Bideford & Hartland Light Railway Company 1902 – Proposed Length:- 15.25 miles Proposed Track Gauge:- 4ft 8.5in

Padstow, Redruthen & Mawgan Light Railway 1902 – Proposed Length:- 11.8 miles Proposed Track Gauge:- 4ft 8.5in

Bridgwater was Supplied originally by a Traction Company that had Tramways elsewhere. Was there an intention? – No tramways or mention of them appear in our records for Bridgwater

Also see our other pages on Electric Transport in the South West