Hastings Funicular RailwaysEast Hill and West Hill railways
Hastings Old Town UK [map], Sat 26th Oct 2013 [©urban75]
Hastings has no less than two funicular railways running from its seafront, with the East Cliff Railway climbing up from George Street to Hastings Castle, and the West Cliff Railway connecting with Hastings Country Park.
Here's some photos from my visit in 2012.
The West Hill Railway
Construction started on the West Hill Railway in 1889 by the privately owned Hastings Lift Company. The project encountered considerable local opposition from the start, resulting in the line coming in 50% over budget and taking two years to finish, finally opening in 1891.
The increased costs contributed to the company declaring bankruptcy in 1894. Operations were then taken over by The Hastings Passenger Lift Company who ran the service until 1947 when Hastings Borough Council bought the line.
Previously gas engine-powered, the railway was converted to electric operation in 1971, and enjoyed a major refurbishment in 1991 on the occasion of its centenary year.
The railways has two cars, and is 500 feet in length, rising 170 feet at a gradient of 33%. The gauge is an unusual 6 foot wide.
Going up with five passengers and a dog as my fellow travellers.
Much of the line runs through tunnels, so the view isn't exactly fantastic!
Passing the second car.
There's some fantastic views from the top.
To the left you can see the East Hill Cliff Railway.
The more dramatic East Hill Cliff Railway runs a shorter distance of 267 feet at a gradient of 78%, making it the steepest funicular railway in the United Kingdom. The railway has two cars, each with a capacity of 16 passengers, and runs on a 5 foot gauge.
Built in 1903 by Hastings Borough Council, the line originally operated on the water balance principle, with the twin towers of the upper station containing the water tanks for this purpose.
After modernisation works between 1973 and 1976, the line was converted to electric operation with new cars provided.
In this view, you can see the distinctive net shops on The Stade.
The tall black wooden sheds were built to provide a weather proof store for the fishing gear made from natural materials to prevent them from rotting in wet weather. The sheds are tarred and weatherboarded.
The elegant Edwardian station on the Stade.
Looking down at the Stade.
View from the top.
Station operator at the top of the cliff.
Heading back down. The views across Hastings are spectacular.
Looking up to the cliff station.
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