Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

| May 20, 2019

Scroll to top


No Comments

Volks Electric Railway To Return to the Rails Tomorrow

Volks Electric Railway To Return to the Rails Tomorrow
Andrew O'Connor

The ‘oldest electric railway in the world’ will be reborn tomorrow as the Volks Electric Railway is switched back on and put into operation!

Constructed by Brighton-based engineer and inventor Magnus Volk and first opened to the public in 1883,  the route runs for one mile along Brighton seafront, with three stations where passengers can alight.

The train carriages will now continue run along the seafront, and give passengers an authentic ride between Aquarium Station (near Brighton Palace Pier) and Black Rock Station (near the Marina).

“Aquarium Station is part of the newly-built Visitor Centre. Here you will find more information about the history of the Railway and Magnus Volk, the man who invented it. Take the train to Halfway Station to see the Workshop, where you can see maintenance being carried out on the historic train carriages and find out more about how the Railway runs. Carry on to Black Rock to finish your journey near Brighton Marina.”

Opening of Volks Electric Railway 1883 - via: Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove

Opening of Volks Electric Railway 1883 – via: Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove

Services will run throughout the extended half term break, from 14 to 29 October, and on the weekend of the Veteran Car Run, 4 -5 November.

A Santa Express service is also planned for weekends in December, with the line becoming fully operational again from 2018.

Visitors to Volk’s will have the first opportunity to see its new Aquarium station and visitor centre, designed by Hove practice ABIR architects.

A restoration project aimed at bringing back three of the original carriages to the service is underway at a locomotive specialist in Herefordshire. These elements of the HLF funded project are expected to be finished towards the end of the year to allow a full service to be operational from Easter 2018.

The original line was extended in 1901 out towards black rock, making the route 1.25 long miles in total. After the completoiin of this extension, inventor and engineer Volk, turned his attention to his next challenge; extending the line towards Rottingdean.  Steep cliffs stood in his way, so he decided to build a line that would run through the sea.  The train carriage sat on stilts above the water, earning it the nickname ‘Daddy Long-Legs’.

'Daddy Long Legs' via: Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove

‘Daddy Long Legs’ via: Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove

Pioneer first ran on 28 November 1896, but sadly did not last long.  A storm a week after the launch caused extensive damage, and it looked like it might be the end of Pioneer.  However, the remains were salvaged and carefully repaired, and Pioneer was back up and running in July 1897.

In 1900 Magnus was informed that the Railway would need to move to allow for new sea defences.  This would have meant moving it into deeper water, which simply wasn’t viable.  The line was closed and Pioneer was abandoned.


Submit a Comment