Clifton Rocks, Bristol


  • Clifton Rocks Railway opened on 11th March 1893
  • Closed on 30th September 1934
  • Length 450ft.
  • Number of cars 4. Of very similar construction and appearance to the original Lynton & Lynmouth cars which were built by Starbuck two years before.
  • Four Lines with a
  • Gauge of 3ft 2in (not 3ft 8in as is often stated) laid on larch sleepers.
  • Gradients 1:2.5 for the lower section and 1:2.1 for the upper section.
  • Hydraulic Water Balance Operation with two Crossley Otto gas engines to pump the water back to the top reservoir.
  • Tunnel Width 28ft. Tunnel Height 17ft.
  • Gas Lit with natural daylight from skylights.
  • Only Fully Underground Passenger Cliff Railway in the World.
  • Operating times:-
    June to September: 8:30-10pm weekdays, Sundays 2:30-10pm
    October to May: Closing time 9pm
Clifton Rocks Railway Drawing

Clifton Rocks Railway


Top Station
Extract from leaflet

The above text and photo are from a leaflet published by
“The Clifton Rocks Railway Refurbishment Group”
.Post 1912 tickets were buff 1d up and �d down with pink 2d through tickets. In 1928 the fares were 2d up, 1�d down. For 3d you could travel by tram from Bristol town Centre to Hotwells, up the railway to Clifton, and then back to the town centre by motor bus.

During WW2 the lower section of the tunnel was used as a BBC transmitter station, the middle section had three air raid shelters, and the upper section housed a barrage balloon unit and a first aid post. Steps were built on both sides of the tunnel over the outer tracks. All four tracks are still in situ but partly are covered by WW2 building works.

In the TunnelIn the Tunnel 2Lower Station

There are plans to reopen the railway in some form, but since the multiple-use history is unique, only some of the track could be used in order to preserve the WW2 items.. Access is from the top Clifton station on advertised open days. There is no public access to the lower Hotwells station due to the adjacent very busy main road.

Lower Station

PosterNew Back End The writer has constructed a small diorama with two tracks and one car and this can be seen at the Clifton top station on open days. Also to be seen are artefacts found when clearing rubble, and 30ft of rail from the pavement on which a full size replica of the back end of a car has been placed. There is a proposal to construct an operational four track model when finance permits.

Clifton Rocks Railway Refurbishment Group
Web Site:-

(C) J.B.Perkin 2007

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