AN iconic Victorian tourist attraction is set to close next week for an extensive refurbishment programme.

Saltburn Cliff Tramway, which has been operating since 1884 and attracts more than 150,000 visitors a year, is going to have a major overhaul – which is expected to costs more than £400,000.

The lift had been due to close at the end of October for the winter but will now shut early on Thursday, October 5 to enable preparation work to start.

The latest revamp include replacing mechanical and other parts and improving lighting and fencing.

Councillor Carl Quartermain, the council's cabinet member for culture, tourism and communications, said: “The Saltburn Cliff Tramway is a major asset for the borough and this first-class refurbishment will help ensure it remains so for generations to come.

"As you would expect with a mechanical structure of this age, there have been a number of breakdowns in recent years which has been frustrating and this work is essential.

"This shows our commitment to improving and investing in tourism and we expect yet another bumper year for visitor numbers in 2018 and we expect to have this back up and running very soon.”

The work is being undertaken by Rapid Consulting Engineers and Historic England has been consulted on the plans for the Tramway, sections of which are Grade II-listed.

Mark Robinson, director at the engineering firm, said: “We are very proud to have been selected to undertake the necessary repair works, to ensure the tramway continues safely long into the future.

"We will be engaging with local labour and suppliers to ensure the local economy benefits from the maintenance work and we will be delivering the attraction back to the council for operation from spring 2018.”

In 2010, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council embarked on a £300,000 overhaul of the carriages on what is one of the world’s oldest water-powered cliff lifts.

The carriages were taken away on a low-loader and spent 12 weeks undergoing interior and exterior refurbishment.

As part of the refurbishment, seating was improved and the striking stained glass windows were installed at Northumberland specialist firm Stanegate Restorations.

The Tramway is due to reopen in Easter to signal the start of the tourist season.