Biggest engineering upgrade in 50 years at Scarborough's Central Tramway to commence in January 2022

In January the Central Tramway Company will continue their ambitious programme of upgrades with the largest engineering project at the famous cliff railway in over 50 years.

By Louise Perrin
Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 3:18 pm
Work will begin on the Central Tramway in January
Work will begin on the Central Tramway in January

After celebrating its 140th anniversary in August this year, the company is investing further in the tramway’s infrastructure, some of which dates back to the early part of the 20th century when the railway was converted from the original steam power.

The planned engineering work will be carried out by Wheelsets UK taking 3 months between January and March next year, and will mean the closure of the cliff railway to the public.

The current chassis dating from the 1930s will be fully replaced, including the fitting of new state-of-the-art emergency brakes, these will be integrated into the computerised control system that was fitted early in 2020.

Helen Galvin, Scarborough Central Tramway General Manager

The carriages will also be refurbished for the first time since the 1980s when a large fire at the Olympia site caused damage to the tramway.

Chairman, Neil Purshouse said; “This is a huge project for us, but it’s essential if we are to keep running for another 140 years.

"Our first priority is safety, and we’re always looking for ways to improve and upgrade the machinery. Our location and exposure to the elements means that the moving parts do suffer from the weather.

"Like all of us, the tramway needs some extra care and attention in its old age.”

General Manager, Helen Galvin joined the team at Central Tramway this year, and already appreciates the importance of the cliff railway for both locals and visitors.

“The plan is to be open again for Easter. We’ve scheduled the works for the quietest time, but we appreciate that the 3 month closure will affect many of our visitors who enjoy visiting Scarborough during the less busy months.”

The initial work will involve the removal of the carriages and chassis by a large 50 tonne crane, affecting the Foreshore Road on the 12th of January, and again when the chassis and carriages are replaced at the end of March.

The tramway will remain open throughout the Christmas and New Year holiday (except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) until the 3rd of January when it will close for the work.

Reopening is scheduled for the end of March with a final date still to be confirmed. More details and updates can be found on the tramway website at: