The ArgusFunding gap hits solar Brighton railway project (From The Argus)

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Funding gap hits solar Volks Railway project

The Argus: An artist's impression of the solar trees An artist's impression of the solar trees

A bid to transform a historic attraction into the world’s first solar powered railway has come up short – leaving council chiefs red-faced.

Brighton and Hove City Council was ready to sign off on allocating £1.5 million to the Volks Railway at a key town hall meeting today.

However, in a swift u-turn, the document outlining the decision was withdrawn at late notice.

The Argus understands this is because the funding has not been awarded as expected.

Speaking at last night’s policy and resources committee Geoffrey Theobald said: “Can I ask what has happened to the Volks Railway report as I was under the impression that the bid has not been successful?”

In response, Paula Murray, the council’s head of culture and economy, said an announcement on the funding was under embargo until Monday.

She added there were possible opportunities for the local authority to bid for future funding for the scheme.

The Volks Railway has been carrying visitors from Brighton’s Palace Pier to Black Rock for 130 years.

Plans to turn it into the world’s first solar powered electric railway were unveiled in October.

Solar trees

This would have seen the installation of five “solar trees” in Madeira Drive to help power the attraction and the introduction of a new all-weather train.

Money is also needed to build new sheds as Her Majesty’s Railway Inspectorate is increasingly concerned by the ability of the railway to continue operating safely.

The council has allocated £245,000 towards the costs but more is required for the wide-ranging plan.

The news comes just weeks after the local authority signed off a 30% price increase for the attraction.

They will come into force from April.

'Rethink fares'

Labour councillor Gill Mitchell said: “After this announcement the Greens must now rethink their recent fare hike.

A spokesman for the council said: “Brighton and Hove City Council is committed to securing funding which could transform the Volk’s railway and preserve it for future generations.

“Unfortunately the council bid for £1.47m from the Coastal Communities Fund to help fund a project to create the world’s first solar powered electric railway on the seafront has been unsuccessful and the council will be exploring other funding options.”

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Comments (9)

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6:18pm Fri 25 Jan 13

leobrighton says...

Is there no other way of getting funding for the shed? It's an eyesore and a new shed is more important than how the electricity is generated. The railway risks becoming more run-down if the council keep on running it, maybe trying to lease it to another operator would improve things the fares are far too high also.
Is there no other way of getting funding for the shed? It's an eyesore and a new shed is more important than how the electricity is generated. The railway risks becoming more run-down if the council keep on running it, maybe trying to lease it to another operator would improve things the fares are far too high also. leobrighton
  • Score: 0

6:28pm Fri 25 Jan 13

John Steed says...

brighton has some serious treasures, the volks railway being close to the top of the list, the innovative plans for solar trees is inspiring and should be implemented as soon as possible, new carriage sheds should not be a matter of debate it should be a matter of urgency. extract the digit!
,
brighton has some serious treasures, the volks railway being close to the top of the list, the innovative plans for solar trees is inspiring and should be implemented as soon as possible, new carriage sheds should not be a matter of debate it should be a matter of urgency. extract the digit! , John Steed
  • Score: 0

6:54pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Tallywhacker says...

Is there a special award for incompetence, dithering and daft decisions due because we seem to have had a lot of entrants from the council lately.
Is there a special award for incompetence, dithering and daft decisions due because we seem to have had a lot of entrants from the council lately. Tallywhacker
  • Score: 0

7:01pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Indigatio says...

Now why does this not surprise me. The i360 will be next............
Now why does this not surprise me. The i360 will be next............ Indigatio
  • Score: 0

7:31pm Fri 25 Jan 13

censored says...

Absolute tragedy. I bet they could raise a large amount through a public appeal. Is there a 'Friends of Volks' or similar? Or free travel for donors?
Absolute tragedy. I bet they could raise a large amount through a public appeal. Is there a 'Friends of Volks' or similar? Or free travel for donors? censored
  • Score: 0

10:11pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Martha Gunn says...

Surely not! A bonkers ill-conceived scheme from our completely fruit loop Green Party council has been turfed out by those in the know. When will these jokers get the boot?
Surely not! A bonkers ill-conceived scheme from our completely fruit loop Green Party council has been turfed out by those in the know. When will these jokers get the boot? Martha Gunn
  • Score: 0

10:03am Sat 26 Jan 13

The Heretic says...

censored wrote:
Absolute tragedy. I bet they could raise a large amount through a public appeal. Is there a 'Friends of Volks' or similar? Or free travel for donors?
Indeed there is, VERA (the Supporters Association) can be found online at:

http://www.volkselec
tricrailway.co.uk/
[quote][p][bold]censored[/bold] wrote: Absolute tragedy. I bet they could raise a large amount through a public appeal. Is there a 'Friends of Volks' or similar? Or free travel for donors?[/p][/quote]Indeed there is, VERA (the Supporters Association) can be found online at: http://www.volkselec tricrailway.co.uk/ The Heretic
  • Score: 0

10:06am Sat 26 Jan 13

The Heretic says...

Anyway, wouldn't tidal power be more appropriate?
Anyway, wouldn't tidal power be more appropriate? The Heretic
  • Score: 0

10:15am Sat 26 Jan 13

Maxwell's Ghost says...

This is the city's unique park and ride service. Park for free in the marina and a couple if quid for a lovely train ride along the front into town.
It can be done and could be done using Amex, the unis and other small car parks not used in the summer and Christmas breaks but the greens just don't have the will or business experience to get something going. They just re-paint a new cycle lane on the Lewes road and call it a sustainable transport system. Bonkers.
This is the city's unique park and ride service. Park for free in the marina and a couple if quid for a lovely train ride along the front into town. It can be done and could be done using Amex, the unis and other small car parks not used in the summer and Christmas breaks but the greens just don't have the will or business experience to get something going. They just re-paint a new cycle lane on the Lewes road and call it a sustainable transport system. Bonkers. Maxwell's Ghost
  • Score: 0

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