The world’s oldest operating electric railway has celebrated its 140th anniversary with the display of its entire fleet on Brighton seafront.

Volk’s Electric Railway is a staple of the Brighton seaside since being opened in 1893 by Magnus Volk.

Members of the Volk’s Electric Railway Association gathered to celebrate the occasion with all the existing carriages put on display.

Tim Steven, secretary of the association, said: “Readers will readily appreciate that the task of lining up the entire fleet of six elderly electric cars safely and without overloading the power supply was not straightforward.


“After the Sunday train service had finished all of the electric vehicles were displayed in the evening sunshine outside the sheds for photography. This provided a memorable finish to a most unusual weekend at Brighton’s seafront electric railway.”

The Argus: Cars displayed for the anniversaryCars displayed for the anniversary (Image: Les Kenward)

The event was attended by Brighton mayor Jackie O’Quinn as well as representatives from the Volk family. Guests heard speeches and took trips on some of the historic carriages.

The group also laid flowers at the grave of Magnus Volk, who was also the first person to light up Brighton’s Royal Pavilion and added the “hour ball” to Brighton’s clock tower.

Volk also designed a seashore electric railway between Brighton and Rottingdean that ran through coastal waters between 1896 and 1901.

Cars on display at Sunday's event included ones designed in 1892 and used at the original opening as well as the most recent carriages which were designed in 1926.

The railway initially took passengers from what is now the Sea Life aquarium to Brighton’s Chain Pier which was destroyed in a storm. The track was later extended towards Black Rock near Brighton Marina.

Volk’s Electric Railway is the oldest of its kind that is still in operation. Services still run regularly every 15 minutes along Brighton seafront.

The railway is currently owned by Brighton and Hove City Council.