Case Studies

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Babbacombe Cliff Railway

Contract: Refurbishment of Funicular Railway
Main contractor: Lift Specialists
Client: Torbay Council
Type of work: Lift Refurbishment

Originally opened April 1926, Babbacombe Cliff Railway is a funicular railway in Torquay which links Babbacombe Downs with Oddicombe Beach. Lift Specialist were contacted when a programme of renovation began in November 2005.


The first task was to strip out the old equipment and one of the lift cars. The track sleepers, limit switches and diverters were all lifted and taken away. Ramps were added to secure the car doors during travel and to assist with wheelchair and pushchairs access. We worked closely with Embankment Engineering, who designed and built the new cars to get maximum life expectancy, given their exposure to rain and salt water spray from the sea. The new sleepers and track were then laid.


Next, we removed the old DC VV ward Leonard system and replaced the hoist motor to match a new AC VF control system supplied by Kollmorgen. Much else had to be either replaced or overhauled, including the gearbox, limit switches and car chassis, before the new cars in the original colours of the operating company could be lifted back onto the track.


As a result of Lift Specialist’s extensive work on this project, Babbacombe Cliff Railway is today more reliable and energy efficient, more accessible, and looks smarter than it has done in many years.