Showcasing Babbacombe Cliff Railway Engineering

The historic, yet ever-popular, attraction that is Babbacombe Cliff Railway was visited on 26 July by Stephen Lisk, President of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers. Stephen had been invited by the Cliff Railway’s Technical Director, Dave Cooper. Dave has been involved with Babbacombe Cliff Railway since 2003, overseeing the complete rebuild in 2006/7. Dave is also a Fellow of the Institution and was keen to show Stephen around. Dave said “I knew that Stephen was interested in visiting us at Babbacombe so it’s been a case of getting the diaries together to make it happen.” He added “It was good for Stephen to see the operation that we have in Babbacombe, both in terms of the engineering of the railway and in terms of its popularity. On a sunny day in July, at the beginning of the school holidays, it was extremely busy.”

Dave gave Stephen a tour of the subterranean machine room and track and they also discussed the need for apprenticeships so that continuity of skills can be achieved in a bid to be able to adequately maintain the cliff railway which is approaching 100 years old. Dave said “Babbacombe Cliff Railway is in great condition and a thriving business. This success is what enables us to keep it well maintained and to safeguard its future. However, as well as being financially secure, we also needthe practical skills required. A new era of apprenticeships means that maybe that is a way forward for us. And, as always, chatting to others in the industry and sharing information and ideas, is always a positive plan.”

Babbacombe Cliff Railway is owned and run by a Community Interest Company. The Company is managed by a board of voluntary directors with a paid team of staff running the day to day business and volunteers working in the Visitor Centre on Oddicombe Beach. The railway now runs seven days a week for most of the year, with a period of closure for maintenance each January, and it transports over 120,000 people each year. For more information on the railway, its history, special events and news, visit the website at