THERE are proposals to radically change the future of the world’s oldest operating electric railway.

The Conservatives are set to put forward a “bold plan” to rejuvenate the world’s oldest operating electric railway and boost tourism in the city at a council meeting.

Councillor Robert Nemeth will put forward a business case compiled by the Volk’s Electric Railway Association (VERA) containing five proposals to revitalise the railway.

These are:

l Improving signage – Installing illuminated signage visible from the Pier to attract tourists to the heritage railway.

l Restoring the Aquarium Station North Siding – Restoring the second siding at Aquarium station to create a second platform, which will increase the line’s capacity by allowing a three-car service to be run.

l Investing in a new accessible Railcar – making Volk’s Railway a tourist attraction accessible to everyone by investing in an accessible railcar for people with a disability.

l Installing a Shelter at Halfway Station – installing a purpose-built shelter at Halfway Station for the benefit of passengers waiting in all-weather conditions

l Extending the railway at Black Rock – extending the railway to a new terminus at Black Rock to form part of the new Black Rock development.

Cllr Nemeth said “It is vital for local jobs and our tourist economy that we work to improve Brighton ad Hove’s standing as a tourist destination, which is in a precarious position with a recent survey putting the city in the bottom half of the United Kingdom’s seaside destinations.

“The Conservative Group has been listening to VERA and its proposals and has undertaken a site visit to see how these might work in practice.

“We believe these are some exciting and well-thought out ideas that could boost the tourism economy in the city”.

“The installation of a shelter will make the service more attractive for families visiting the children’s areas.

“As Conservatives we want to see a thriving tourist economy and a better utilised Volk’s Electric Railway would certainly be an extremely good step forward.”

Fellow Conservative councillor Mary Mears, who represents Rottingdean Coastal Ward and sits on the Black Rock Task and Finish Group, said that the proposal to extend Volk’s Electric Railway was an idea that could be considered as part of integral plans for Black Rock regeneration.

“The vacant Black Rock site in my ward is the site of the Old Black Rock Open Air Swimming Pool and has been a derelict site for many years and needs urgent attention” Cllr Mears said.