Eight incredible pictures showing Bristol’s disused underground railway

The journey took just 40 seconds

It’s hard to imagine the Clifton Rocks Railway even existed. The only evidence to the untrained eye is the disused stone entrance to the lower station of the underground funicular railway - and that’s about it.

So these pictures, which bring to life the railway which operated from 1893 to 1934, may stir your interest. The railway system was ahead of its time on opening and operated inside the widest tunnel of its kind in the world. The journey took just 40 seconds.

The cars moved up and down the railway using a water-balance method, and on the opening day they attracted 6,220 passengers. However, numbers dwindled over time and after the opening of Hotwells railway station the operation closed in 1934.

It was brought back to life in the Second World War when part of the tunnel was used for air raid shelters and the BBC opened a transmission base. And five years ago, Bristol Observatory owner Ian Johnson bought the site with plans to open a museum.

To find out more about the railway’s history, visit The Clifton Rocks Railway Trust website here.

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