Category:Volks Electric Railway

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The Volks Electric Railway runs along part of Brighton seafront, and was opened in 1883. It is the World's oldest commercial electric passenger railway.


The railway was the brainchild of Brighton-based inventor Magnus Volk. It opened in August 1883, and originally ran between the Brighton Aquarium and the Chain Pier. It was later extended to the Banjo Groyne, and then further, to Black Rock Station (which is linked to Brighton Marina by a footpath).

The Railway was taken over by the Brighton Corporation in 1940, a couple of years after Volk's demise.

Then and Now

Riding on the Volks was originally a much more hair-raising experience, as the beach level was far lower, and the railway only managed to run at Promenade level thanks to a system of wooden bridgework that allowed it to run high above the beach, rather like a rollercoaster (except that the railway tended to run level ... except where it ducked underneath the Chain Pier).

Old photographs show the railway to be a rather alarming construction, with riders at high tide liable to be subjected to waves crashing into the Promenade wall below the railway track and dousing the carriages with spray.

When Brighton's beach defences were put in place, the beach level rose until it created the current "pebbly" beach whose top is practically level with the railway track. This tends to make it look as if the Volks Electric Railway was simply run along the beach, but the elaborate bridgework that originally supported the railways is still in place, buried beneath the pebbles.

2011 Running Times

Since the Volks Electric Railway uses comparatively "open" carriages (and is exposed to the seafront), the railway shuts down during the Winter months, and its schedule is liable to disruption when weather is inclement.

By default, trains run four times an hour.

Days Running Times
Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays 10:15 - 17:00
Tuesdays, Fridays 11:15 - 17:00
Saturdays, Sundays 10:15 - 16:00

The last day of 2011's running season is 30 September 2011.


Leaflets about the Volks Railway are available from the Museum's brochure racks.

See also

Further Information

Further information of the Volks Electric Railway is given in the organisation's free booklet (available from the Museum's Visitor Information Point), or online.

i360West PierPalace PierChain PierVolks RailwayDaddy Long-LegsBrighton Marina


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Pages in category ‘Volks Electric Railway’

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