INVENTOR Magnus Volk’s seaside railway has always been a beloved feature of Brighton.

But for a few years in the early 1900s, a much more odd version existed on the seafront – a pier on rails.

That is the topic of Martin Easdown’s new book The Extraordinary Daddy-Long-Legs Railway of Brighton.

The Daddy-Long-Legs, as it was affectionately known, opened in 1896 in front of bemused onlookers.

The 45-foot monster was to travel back and forth through the waves between a small pier in Paston Place and Rottingdean Pier.

With a maximum speed of six miles per hour, a return trip took two hours.

And that was in good conditions. At high tide, the rail car would crawl tediously through the sea.

It could carry 150 passengers in its posh saloon-like insides, but had to have a sea captain on at all times as it battled the waves.

Nicknamed “Pioneer” by Mr Volk, it may have been the first in the field, but that does not mean it was entirely successful.

Within a week it was destroyed by a severe storm, despite the inventor locking the Daddy-Long-Legs to Rottingdean Pier.

Many would have given up at that point, but Mr Volk was more determined than ever.

He salvaged his invention and built it even taller, even rebuilding another landing pier in Brighton.

It was finally reopened in July 1897, when thousands flocked to ride the revolutionary railway.

It received a royal visitor the next year, when the Prince of Wales took a ride with Mr Volk.

But the railway soon got into financial trouble thanks to high maintenance costs and safety concerns.

Eventually, in February 1901, less than five years after it originally opened, the “Pioneer” was closed.

Mr Volk must have been gutted, but it was not entirely a loss.

He was allowed to open “Volk’s Electric Railway”, from Paston Place to Black Rock, which still runs today.

But it was nothing like the Daddy-Long-Legs.

You can buy "The Extraordinary Daddy-Long-Legs Railway of Brighton" at