£1.5 million makeover for world's oldest electric railway

£1.5 million makeover for world's oldest electric railway

£1.5 million makeover for world's oldest electric railway

First published in News
Last updated
by , local government reporter

The oldest surviving electric railway in the world will get a £1.5 million makeover.

The Volk’s Railway, which runs for a mile along Brighton seafront from Palace Pier to Black Rock, was the first public electric railway in the country when it opened in 1883.

Over the years volunteers and council staff have worked to keep the railway running.

But with time inevitably taking its toll on the landmark line, Brighton and Hove City Council and the Volk’s Electric Railway Association have secured £1.54 million of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to rejuvenate the attraction and create opportunities for education and community involvement.

A spokesman for the association said the money would be used to restore and reinstate three of the original carriages to increase the railway’s capacity.

It will also pay for a visitor centre at the aquarium station to give a history of Magnus Volk and how he came up with his pioneering railway.

The money will also be used to create a conservation workshop to protect the historic carriages, create a place to watch restoration work being carried out, provide training for volunteers and develop new learning materials and school sessions.

Peter Williams, spokesman for the Volk’s Electric Railway Association (VERA), said: “We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has recognised the historical and national importance of Magnus Volk’s railway by awarding this substantial grant.

“There is now the opportunity to restore the railway to its former glory and to finally say goodbye to the old, draughty and leaking train storage sheds. VERA looks forward to developing the project with the council over the next three years.”

TV presenter NickOwen, who has volunteered with the association for years, said: “This is fantastic news.

The railway needs all the help it can get and this will help guarantee the future of what is one of Brighton’s most important attractions.

“It’s also great news for the small number of dedicated staff who work on it, and the volunteers who so willingly assist them.”

Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, chairman of the city’s economic development and culture committee, said: “Volk’s is truly unique, part of Brighton and Hove’s heritage and a wonderful attraction, so this funding success is fantastic news.”

The railway restoration project is expected to be completed in 2017.

Comments (10)

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7:46am Fri 6 Jun 14

Sussex jim says...

It is not just the oldest surviving electric railway; it is the OLDEST.
It is good to see that it will continue into the future, still running in its original form. However, it would also be good to extend it into the marina.
It is not just the oldest surviving electric railway; it is the OLDEST. It is good to see that it will continue into the future, still running in its original form. However, it would also be good to extend it into the marina. Sussex jim
  • Score: 25

8:12am Fri 6 Jun 14

We love Red Billy says...

Imagine what would happen if we spent £32 million + on a sustainable seafront transit system running from the marina to Portslade. There is still time to pull back from the i360 ( Kitcat - Theobold memorial erection ). #politicalchamberpot
s
Imagine what would happen if we spent £32 million + on a sustainable seafront transit system running from the marina to Portslade. There is still time to pull back from the i360 ( Kitcat - Theobold memorial erection ). #politicalchamberpot s We love Red Billy
  • Score: 23

8:30am Fri 6 Jun 14

HJarrs says...

We love Red Billy wrote:
Imagine what would happen if we spent £32 million + on a sustainable seafront transit system running from the marina to Portslade. There is still time to pull back from the i360 ( Kitcat - Theobold memorial erection ). #politicalchamberpot

s
Explain how exactly "pulling back" would fund some undefined sustainable seafront transit system given that the loans for i360 are specifically for that development and only because it is expected to turn a profit and pay the loan back.
[quote][p][bold]We love Red Billy[/bold] wrote: Imagine what would happen if we spent £32 million + on a sustainable seafront transit system running from the marina to Portslade. There is still time to pull back from the i360 ( Kitcat - Theobold memorial erection ). #politicalchamberpot s[/p][/quote]Explain how exactly "pulling back" would fund some undefined sustainable seafront transit system given that the loans for i360 are specifically for that development and only because it is expected to turn a profit and pay the loan back. HJarrs
  • Score: -14

8:33am Fri 6 Jun 14

HJarrs says...

This is great news. The Volks is looking very tired despite best efforts of those that support it. Being located in such an extreme environment does not help.
This is great news. The Volks is looking very tired despite best efforts of those that support it. Being located in such an extreme environment does not help. HJarrs
  • Score: 5

9:03am Fri 6 Jun 14

The Heretic says...

Very pleased to hear this, especially that the line's creator, Magnus Volk, is to receive some long overdue recognition. I've often wondered whether the physical similarity he bore (in later life at least) to one V.Lenin might be the reason that there's no statue commemorating a true pioneer of electrical energy.

A longer term aspiration, without altering the character of the line unduly, would be (IMHO) to extend to West Pier and into the Marina, better serving tourists, the railway, the seafront leisure sector businesses and the Marina itself. Thoughts, folks?
Very pleased to hear this, especially that the line's creator, Magnus Volk, is to receive some long overdue recognition. I've often wondered whether the physical similarity he bore (in later life at least) to one V.Lenin might be the reason that there's no statue commemorating a true pioneer of electrical energy. A longer term aspiration, without altering the character of the line unduly, would be (IMHO) to extend to West Pier and into the Marina, better serving tourists, the railway, the seafront leisure sector businesses and the Marina itself. Thoughts, folks? The Heretic
  • Score: 10

9:31am Fri 6 Jun 14

ghost bus driver says...

Magnus Volk had a real passion for electricity and was the first person in Brighton to light his house with it.
Magnus Volk had a real passion for electricity and was the first person in Brighton to light his house with it. ghost bus driver
  • Score: 5

9:38am Fri 6 Jun 14

The Heretic says...

ghost bus driver wrote:
Magnus Volk had a real passion for electricity and was the first person in Brighton to light his house with it.
Wired up the Royal Pavilion. First with a phone too. Wonder who he called?
[quote][p][bold]ghost bus driver[/bold] wrote: Magnus Volk had a real passion for electricity and was the first person in Brighton to light his house with it.[/p][/quote]Wired up the Royal Pavilion. First with a phone too. Wonder who he called? The Heretic
  • Score: 7

2:33pm Fri 6 Jun 14

Herbertfarquarson says...

HJarrs wrote:
This is great news. The Volks is looking very tired despite best efforts of those that support it. Being located in such an extreme environment does not help.
But of course the biggest problem this railway has, is that it is owned and run by the council. Thereby ensuring it will always be poorly run with regular threats of closure.
[quote][p][bold]HJarrs[/bold] wrote: This is great news. The Volks is looking very tired despite best efforts of those that support it. Being located in such an extreme environment does not help.[/p][/quote]But of course the biggest problem this railway has, is that it is owned and run by the council. Thereby ensuring it will always be poorly run with regular threats of closure. Herbertfarquarson
  • Score: 2

9:00pm Sat 7 Jun 14

PorkyChopper says...

HJarrs wrote:
We love Red Billy wrote:
Imagine what would happen if we spent £32 million + on a sustainable seafront transit system running from the marina to Portslade. There is still time to pull back from the i360 ( Kitcat - Theobold memorial erection ). #politicalchamberpot


s
Explain how exactly "pulling back" would fund some undefined sustainable seafront transit system given that the loans for i360 are specifically for that development and only because it is expected to turn a profit and pay the loan back.
"...loans for i360 are specifically for that development and only because it is expected to turn a profit and pay the loan back."

I couldn't reply immediately to this comment, as I had to go to hospital. I'd cracked a rib, I was laughing so hard at this bit.
[quote][p][bold]HJarrs[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]We love Red Billy[/bold] wrote: Imagine what would happen if we spent £32 million + on a sustainable seafront transit system running from the marina to Portslade. There is still time to pull back from the i360 ( Kitcat - Theobold memorial erection ). #politicalchamberpot s[/p][/quote]Explain how exactly "pulling back" would fund some undefined sustainable seafront transit system given that the loans for i360 are specifically for that development and only because it is expected to turn a profit and pay the loan back.[/p][/quote]"...loans for i360 are specifically for that development and only because it is expected to turn a profit and pay the loan back." I couldn't reply immediately to this comment, as I had to go to hospital. I'd cracked a rib, I was laughing so hard at this bit. PorkyChopper
  • Score: 0

11:27am Mon 9 Jun 14

clubrob6 says...

Instead of the i360 that will only last a few decades I think the volks should be extended to the marina,and to hove lagoon with all weather carriages so could run in the winter months.It would give massive tourist opportunities at stations along the way plus a transport link for locals too.Even if it was just extended to the marina that would give a massive boost.Plus it would be here for generations to come .
Instead of the i360 that will only last a few decades I think the volks should be extended to the marina,and to hove lagoon with all weather carriages so could run in the winter months.It would give massive tourist opportunities at stations along the way plus a transport link for locals too.Even if it was just extended to the marina that would give a massive boost.Plus it would be here for generations to come . clubrob6
  • Score: 0

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