Welcome to Volk’s Electric Railway – the oldest electric railway in the world. In its over one hundred year history this magnificent Victorian creation – the brainchild of the great engineer and innovator Magnus Volk – has given pleasure and enjoyment to visitors and locals alike.
Our guide travels the line with you highlighting views and points of interest whilst telling the fascinating story of the great Mr. Volk and his wonderful little railway – the pride of Brighton.
Volk's Electric Railway is a narrow gauge heritage railway that runs along a length of the seafront of the English seaside resort of Brighton. It was built by Magnus Volk, the first section being completed in August 1883, and is the oldest operating electric railway in the world. Although it was preceded by Werner von Siemens’s 1879 demonstration line in Berlin and by the Gross-LichterfeldeTramway of 1881, neither line is still operational.
INTRODUCTION BY NICK OWEN – TV PRESENTER AND BROADCASTER
Like so many people, my memories of Volk’s Railway stretch back to my childhood. I can recall so clearly riding along Brighton seafront many decades ago, watching intently how the drivers handled the remarkable old electric trains, studying the track layout, marveling at the depot straddling the tracks close to Halfway station – and generally enjoying the trip.
In 2008, I was asked to declare that summer operating season open. I said I would, as long as I could be shown all aspects of what is a remarkable line. That was gladly granted. Then came the offer I could not resist. Would I like to be trained to drive myself sometimes? There was only one answer: a delighted Yes.
In the years that have followed, I have become greatly involved with this wonderful Victorian engineering gem. It has been a terrific pleasure to enthuse others, especially to encourage the small army of volunteers in the last year or two who have done so much to assist the full-time staff as Magnus Volk’s pioneering invention got its 21st century makeover.
Do enjoy this highly informative booklet. Ride on the Volk’s, and tell everyone you know about it. And it is quite possible, the driver of your train might be me!
~ NICHOLAS OWEN