An Interview With Trevor Russell About The Cliff Lift

by | Oct 23, 2023 | Saltburn News | 0 comments

Here at we are delighted to have interviewed Trevor Russell who is a key figure on the Cliff Tramway here in Saltburn – which as we all know is one the top things to do in Saltburn.

In total, we asked Trevor 10 quick-fire questions about both the Cliff Lift and what he enjoys most about Saltburn.

How long have you been working on the Cliff Lift for?

I’ve been working mostly as a seasonal worker at the tram since 2017. I started working on the Tramway aged 61. I am 67 now but don’t have any plans to retire in the foreseeable future.

What do you love most about the job?

I love the challenges that I face the Tramway looks pretty simple to look at whilst it’s running up and down, but there’s a lot more to it than what the eyes see. I love the interaction with the public and I also love working with a fantastic team.

What’s your proudest moment working on the lift?

My proudest moment was winning an award in September this year. We won first place in the Seaside Heritage Network Attraction Bucket and Spade award. It’s the very first time that the competition was run.

saltburn pier 4

I remember saying to my boss a few months earlier that I’d love to make the Tramway the best attraction in the North East, then before I knew it we had won this, beating all other contenders around the UK was the icing on the cake for me but this isn’t about me.

It’s about the whole team and I applaud the team for their hard work during such a challenging season.

Do you have any good stories that you could share?

There are some stories that come to mind. The Tramway is generally a place where people ask for directions or ask if any lost items have been handed in. I remember one person coming into the station asking if anyone had handed in their sunglasses.

We asked where they might have lost them, they replied that they had lost them whilst doing the Cleveland Way which is 110 miles long. One lady asked where the Trams go apart from the top station. I told her that they travel on to Stockton via Middlesbrough.

When operating the Tramway from the top station we often get asked where they must pay, when we tell them that they pay at the bottom station they head off to walk down 173 steps instead of getting into the Tram and paying as they exit.

What made you get into working on the lift?

Before working on the lift, I drove locomotives for most of my life. I retired in 2010 but didn’t like retirement. I applied out of the blue for a seasonal role and was surprised when I was accepted.

The tram closed for two years during Covid, and I was ready to start back because I was really bored. I was accepted for a full-time position and within two months of starting back was offered the role running the Tram and what a great job it is. It can be challenging at times but it’s worth it.

If someone has never been to Saltburn what would you recommend?

I would recommend coming to Saltburn for the Farmers markets which is held on various weekends and to see and learn about the history of how Saltburn came about and to see the old buildings from the Victorian era.

One of the best places to find some of this information is around the promenade and the Tramway. The staff at the Tramway will always be willing give a full description of how the Tramway works and how Henry Pease formed Saltburn in 1860’s.

After Saltburn, what is your favourite place in the North East?

My most favourite places in the Northeast are Great Ayton and Stokesley.

Have you ever been or operated any other cliff lift in the UK?

I have never operated any other Cliff Lift before working here at Saltburn.

What’s your favourite vantage point in Saltburn?

My favourite vantage point has to be from my office which is located upstairs next to the Crazy Golf, and I look out over the Promenade, Pier and Sea.

Quite possibly one of the best offices in the country.

Is there any walks in the local area that you would recommend?

There are some great walks that can be taken in and around Saltburn. There is a great walk along Huntcliffe which starts behind the ship inn, people can walk along the cliff tops to skinningrove a few miles away or to Whitby a more challenging walk.

These are part of The Cleveland way walk. Walk one way towards Roseberry Topping on the way to Helmsley or the other towards Robin Hoods Bay and then onto Filey. In total the Cleveland Way is almost 110 miles.

<a href="" target="_self">Chris Taylor</a>

Chris Taylor

Is one of the local website volunteers, who is a keen photographer and loves taking a stroll along the beach with his camera taking photos of the sunset.