Babbacombe Cliff Railway, which has been transporting people from up on Babbacombe Downs down to the secluded Oddicombe Beach since 1926, is now open again for the 2019 season.
2019 is a particularly special year for the team at the railway as it is the tenth anniversary of community ownership of this historic attraction. In 2009 a group of local people got together, formed a Community Interest Company and took over Babbacombe Cliff Railway. Nicky Allen, Marketing Manager, says “During the ten years that the railway has been run by the community, it has gone from strength to strength. To give you some idea of how thriving an enterprise Babbacombe Cliff Railway now is, you just have to consider the number of people who travel with us. Back in 2009 we carried fewer than 90,000 people a year. As 2018 ended our traveller numbers were over 135,000 for that year. However you look at it, that is a success story.”
She added “Huge amounts of work, time, passion, enthusiasm and professionalism have gone into the running of the railway with the protection of its future always paramount. There has been massive re-investment, not least the £100,000 that was spent in 2017 on brand new carriages. Running a railway such as this is an expensive business. You can’t just buy the bits and pieces you need off the shelf. Pretty much everything is bespoke.”
Babbacombe Cliff Railway is part of the local community and the team is keen to celebrate this special year with as many people as possible. One of the ways they plan to do this is at this year’s Cliff Railway Day on Saturday 11 May where everyone travels for free all day.
Nicky said “The Cliff Railway is run by a voluntary Board, a host of other volunteers and a small team of paid employees. However, we are all very aware that it is still in operation because of each and every person who rides it. So, we thought that Cliff Railway Day would be the perfect chance to say thank you. Also, just in case there are any local people who haven’t travelled with us before, this could be the perfect day for them to come and enjoy a ride. Or two. For free.”
Other events this year will include the John Ayres Ukulele Proms on Saturday 8 June. Previously known as the Babbacombe Ukulele Festival the name was changed last year after its founder, and Chairman of Babbacombe Cliff Railway Community Interest Company, John Ayres, sadly passed away. The event will continue his work bringing a host of ukulele bands to Oddicombe Beach for a day of live music and plenty of good cheer.
Then, a little later in the year, the increasingly popular “Last Team Standing” will be back on Saturday 14 September. Now in its fourth year, the competition was over-subscribed in 2018 and is now a must-do event for the team.
Babbacombe Cliff Railway is open every day from 9am to 5pm and fares have been kept the same as last year. All part of the tenth anniversary celebrations.
Details of all events plus news and other information are available on the website at www.babbacombecliffrailway.co.uk
The team at Babbacombe Cliff Railway is always interested in hearing from anyone who may be interested in volunteering, particularly to help run the Visitor Centre on the beach. So if you think you might like to find out more then give them a ring on 01803 328750 or e-mail email@example.com