Known variously as a Lift Railway or Cliff Railway or a Cable Lift or simply The Lift, riding on it is a must for visitors to Lynton who will be using the original rolling stock installed in 1888. There are other cable lifts in the world but this one is absolutely unique in that it is powered by water alone. Its braking system was patented in 1888 and the lift has a totally accident-free record.
It works on a very simple principle. The two cars are connected by a continuous cable. Under each car is a large water tank. When the cars are stationary at either end of the rail, the weight of the water in the tanks is the same. The brakes are released as the driver of the lower car discharges sufficient water to make the top car heavier which causes it to move downwards, at the same time pulling up the lower car. This car will refill its tank when it reaches the top of the incline and, in turn, haul up the lower car as it travels back down the slope.