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Scarborough was the historic birth place of cliff railways in this country.

Three passenger carrying funicular railways were built along this unique stretch of Yorkshire coastline before anywhere else in the UK.


The first was the Scarborough Spa Lift, built in 1875, now owned and operated by Scarborough Borough Council. The second was on the North Bay. The Queens Parade Cliff Railway was a short-lived endeavour that lasted just 10 years, serving the ill-fated pier that stood briefly on the North Bay .


Formed in January 1881, the Central Tramway Company is proud to have celebrated its 140th anniversary last year. 

The first Chairman of the Company was John Woodall Woodall, a local banker and four times mayor of Scarborough. £10,000 was raised through the sale of shares in the company, and construction work by George Wood of Hull began in February 1881.

The Tramway was opened to the public just 6 months later on Monday the 1st of August. The opening day was a huge success with almost 3000 passengers travelling.

The Tramway was originally steam powered with the engine house located almost half way down the tracks. 

Image courtesy of Scarborough Museums Trust Collection.

In 1920 the Tramway changed to electric power, supplied by the new road tram system built around Scarborough. In 1931 when the road trams closed a new 400v motor was installed. 

More recently the Tramway has undergone significant engineering upgrades making full use of recent advances in lift and transport technology.

Click the link below to view and download a longer pdf history of the Tramway.  

DC-SCB RED 2512 Front or West Elevation.
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