Posted on 6th October 2016 / 605
Industry Type : Transport
Power Type : Electricity
Public or Private Site? : Public Access
Condition : Restored

Volk’s Electric Railway is the oldest operating electric railway in the world!

It was built by Magnus Volk in 1883.

Volk’s Electric Railway originally ran for 1⁄4 mile (402 m) between Swimming Arch and Chain Pier. The electrical power was supplied to the small car using the two running rails at 50 V DC.

It was a very narrow gauge to start with – 2 ft (610 mm).

In 1884 the line was extended a further ½ mile beyond the Chain Pier to Paston Place (now known as Halfway), and regauged to 2 ft 8 1⁄2 in (825 mm). The electrical supply was increased to 160 V DC and the power plant was installed in the arch built into the cliff face at Paston Place.

In 1886 an off-set third rail was added to minimise current leakage.

After the removal of a different electric Volk-railway (c1910) the original was extended from Paston Place to Black Rock.

Incredibly, Paston Place was also the home of Volk’s Seaplane Station, which was used by Volk’s son George Herbert Volk!

In 1930 the line was shortened by 200 yards (183 m) from Palace Pier to its present terminus, which is still known as Aquarium. And in 1935, another 200 yards was taken off  at the other end (at Black Rock) when a lido was built. In 1937 a new Black Rock station was opened at the end of the shortened line.

Defensive preparations for WWII caused the line to close. After the war, starting in 1947, the Brighton Corporation rebuilt the line using 50 lb/yd (25 kg/m) rail for the running line and 25 lb/yd (12 kg/m) mounted on insulators for the third rail. At Black Rock a new station was built to replace the 1937 building which had suffered badly during the war.

The line reopened for passengers in 1948.

In the late 1990s the Black Rock end of the line was temporarily shortened by 211 feet to permit a storm water storage scheme to be built in the marina area. The 1948 station was demolished and replaced by a new single platform station, which opened in 1998 and shares a building with a new Southern Water pumping station.

Thankfully, in 2014, the railway was awarded a grant of £1.6 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The work will include a new visitor centre and ticket office at the Aquarium station, a new depot with viewing gallery at Halfway, the restoration of cars 4, 6 and 10 to full working order, and the provision of new educational materials about the railway.

Today the line runs between terminal stations at Aquarium (a short distance from the Palace Pier) and Black Rock, with an intermediate station and depot at Paston Place (Halfway). The line has a 2 ft 8 1⁄2 in (825 mm) narrow gauge, is electrified at 110 V DC using a third rail, and is one mile long.

The Volk’s Electric Railway Association (VERA) take good care of the line and run a website, which can provide you with all the Volk-info that’ll you’ll need for a successful visit – HERE!

Note: it is currently closed while the lottery money is being spent!

 

285 Madeira Dr, Brighton BN2 1EN

Volk’s Electric Railway

Volk’s Electric Railway is the oldest operating electric railway in the world!

It was built by Magnus Volk in 1883.

Volk’s Electric Railway originally ran for 1⁄4 mile (402 m) between Swimming Arch and Chain Pier. The electrical power was supplied to the small car using the two running rails at 50 V DC.

It was a very narrow gauge to start with – 2 ft (610 mm).

In 1884 the line was extended a further ½ mile beyond the Chain Pier to Paston Place (now known as Halfway), and regauged to 2 ft 8 1⁄2 in (825 mm). The electrical supply was increased to 160 V DC and the power plant was installed in the arch built into the cliff face at Paston Place.

In 1886 an off-set third rail was added to minimise current leakage.

After the removal of a different electric Volk-railway (c1910) the original was extended from Paston Place to Black Rock.

Incredibly, Paston Place was also the home of Volk’s Seaplane Station, which was used by Volk’s son George Herbert Volk!

In 1930 the line was shortened by 200 yards (183 m) from Palace Pier to its present terminus, which is still known as Aquarium. And in 1935, another 200 yards was taken off  at the other end (at Black Rock) when a lido was built. In 1937 a new Black Rock station was opened at the end of the shortened line.

Defensive preparations for WWII caused the line to close. After the war, starting in 1947, the Brighton Corporation rebuilt the line using 50 lb/yd (25 kg/m) rail for the running line and 25 lb/yd (12 kg/m) mounted on insulators for the third rail. At Black Rock a new station was built to replace the 1937 building which had suffered badly during the war.

The line reopened for passengers in 1948.

In the late 1990s the Black Rock end of the line was temporarily shortened by 211 feet to permit a storm water storage scheme to be built in the marina area. The 1948 station was demolished and replaced by a new single platform station, which opened in 1998 and shares a building with a new Southern Water pumping station.

Thankfully, in 2014, the railway was awarded a grant of £1.6 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The work will include a new visitor centre and ticket office at the Aquarium station, a new depot with viewing gallery at Halfway, the restoration of cars 4, 6 and 10 to full working order, and the provision of new educational materials about the railway.

Today the line runs between terminal stations at Aquarium (a short distance from the Palace Pier) and Black Rock, with an intermediate station and depot at Paston Place (Halfway). The line has a 2 ft 8 1⁄2 in (825 mm) narrow gauge, is electrified at 110 V DC using a third rail, and is one mile long.

The Volk’s Electric Railway Association (VERA) take good care of the line and run a website, which can provide you with all the Volk-info that’ll you’ll need for a successful visit – HERE!

Note: it is currently closed while the lottery money is being spent!

 

285 Madeira Dr, Brighton BN2 1EN

Volk’s Electric Railway
Industry Type : Transport
Power Type : Electricity
Public or Private Site? : Public Access
Condition : Restored
Features
Reviews
There are no reviews yet, why not be the first?
Leave a Review
You must be to post a review.

Leave a Reply

Related Listings