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Southend Cliff Lift

Western Esplanade, Southend on Sea, SS1 1EE
  • Dog Friendly
Access facilities:
  • Wheelchair Accessible

The Southend Cliff Lift was constructed in 1912. The first operation of the lift was on August Bank Holiday Monday of that year. The line has an unusual configuration, as it runs on a single-track elevated structure. The counterweight track runs within this structure, immediately below the main track that carries the only passenger car. Since opening in 1912 it has been modernised three times in 1930, 1959 and 1990. Each modernisation has resulted in the replacement of the car.

The Cliff Lift is operated by knowledgeable volunteers and the short journey on this iconic feature has fantastic views of the Pier and estuary. The lift is a valued part of Southend’s rich heritage.

It can hold up to 12 people, which includes the operator, and has a ramp for disabled access and pushchairs. The maximum number is dependant on how many pushchairs/wheelchairs are on board.

The line is owned and operated by Southend Borough Council, and has the following technical parameters:

  • Length: 130 feet (40 m)
  • Height difference: 57 feet (17 m)
  • Gradient: 43,4%
  • Cars: 1
  • Capacity: 12 passengers per car
  • Configuration: Single track, with separate counterweight track
  • Main track gauge: 4 ft 6 in (1,372 mm)
  • Counterweight track gauge: 21 in (533 mm)
  • Traction: Electricity
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