City of Bristol
Thousands of people pass the bottom entrance to the Clifton Rocks Railway as they drive along Bristol's Portway, with most not knowing what secret is buried in the rock of the Avon Gorge. Constructed with great difficulty inside the cliffs of the Avon Gorge in order to reduce its visual impact on the picturesque surroundings, this water powered 'funicular' railway opened on 11 March, 1893 and operated for 40 years against diminishing trade. Its closure in 1934 did not mark the end of its useful life as it became a secret transmission base for the BBC during WWII, a repair centre for Imperial Airways barrage balloons, and a refuge shelter. This resulted in many blast walls and rooms being built on the rails. It has been empty and disused since the BBC moved out after the war. Volunteers have been working on it since Easter 2005 The Clifton Rocks Railway Trust has been formed by a group of volunteers to restore the Railway. Supported by the Avon Gorge Hotel, Bristol City Council and sponsored by a number of local companies the Trust is working hard to restore elements of the railway.
19/20 May 10-4 8/9 September 10-4 Group trips arranged by appointment
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Facilities and services
Only the top station can be seen on open days, but there is an exhibition of photos and artefacts found. Views of cable wheels, track and tunnel
- Brochure or leaflet available with directions to museum
- CD-ROM guide available
- Guided tours
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