Historic Central Tramway Company's refurbished carriages return to Scarborough after leaving for first time since 1881

Scarborough's historic Central Tramway cliff lift carriages have returned to the seafront after they were removed for the first time in more than 140 years as part of major refurbishment works.

By George Buksmann
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 11:09 am
Updated Thursday, 5th May 2022, 11:11 am

The two 1970s carriages were due to return in March but delays with the fabrication and galvanising of the new chassis meant the repairs could not be completed in time, they were instead delivered on May 4.

Foreshore Road was closed to allow a 50-tonne crane to lift the carriages back onto the rails, as spectators looked on to welcome their return.

The two carriages had not been refurbished in 50 years, but have now been stripped down and fully rebuilt at a specialist yard in Rotherham under the expertise of Martin Hudson, Managing Director at Wheelsets UK.

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The Tramway carriages returned to Scarborough's seafront on the back of a lorry.

Mr Hudson said: "There's been a four to five-week delay from the initial schedule due to issues with the fabrication and galvanising of the new chassis but we're confident that the upgrade will be well worth the wait.

"This has been a very challenging project with many hidden surprises along the way, along with the inevitable daily delays and difficulties due to current issues with the supply of equipment and services.

"At Wheelsets UK we've done our best to meet the company's targets despite some setbacks, working weekends and long hours at the workshop. We are confident the owners and public will be impressed and even safer by the end result."

The refurbished carriages have received new floors, ceilings, lights, seats and brakes, as the vehicles suffer badly from weather-related corrosion in their exposed cliffside location – as well as damage caused by seagull droppings.

It was the first time there were no carriages on the tracks since the Tramway opened in 1881.

The cliff lift to and from the seafront has been shut since January and had hoped to reopen in time for Easter and the return of tourists during the school holidays, but this was postponed due to engineering delays.

The historic cliff lift now plans to reopen in mid-May, but no date has been confirmed.

A 50-tonne crane was used to life the carriages back onto the tracks, as spectators gathered.