Shipley Glen Tramway: a historic funicular tramway in England
We are in the wooded Shipley Glen, near the village of Saltaire in the English county of West Yorkshire. Originally built and operated as a way to ferry Victorian thrill seekers to and from an amusement park built at the top of a wooded valley, the tramway has served several generations in a variety of capacities.
Opened on 18 May 1895 by Sam Wilson, a local publican, showman and entrepreneur, the tramway runs between Baildon and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Saltaire, two villages at opposite ends of the track, now occupied by shops and restaurants as well as the David Hockney gallery (important contributor to the pop art movement of the 1960s, he is considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century). At the summit of the tramway is the Shipley Glen itself, a large expanse of countryside popular with walkers and families, and playing host to pubs, a hotel, and various sights of local interest.
The lower station of the funicular was intended to ease access to a number of other, now long closed, attractions at Shipley Glen, including a wooden toboggan ride and a massive fairground.
The amusement park that once sat next to the tramway was demolished in the early 2000s, but visitors still enjoy riding the cablecars to and from Saltaire, a popular destination for anyone familiar with artist David Hockney himself or Industrial Revolution-era Britain.
Despite a few small closures, and switching from gas to electrical power in the 1920s, the tramway has remained active for over 120 years in what is a pretty unusual feat in this day and age, and it is still today a fascinating little time-warped gem.
Author’s note: Shipley Glen Tramway website
Source and Images: Wikipedia