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Volks Electric Railway

This small electric railway runs its cheerful bright yellow open-sided carriages along a stretch of Brighton seafront in front of the Promenade for six months every year.

Designed by legendary Brighton technology pioneer Magnus Volk, it was the world's first commercial electric railway (1883).

Riding the "Volks" as it rattles along the seafront is great fun, it's something like a cross between riding a ghost train and a milkfloat, and it feels as if it's going a lot faster than it actually is.

The only real disadvantage of the railway is that it doesn't really go anywhere much. Starting from the "Aquarium" stop, there's a central stop (with crazy golf and a playground), and then a second end-station at Black Rock, which is almost (but not quite) at the Marina. After stopping there to eat your sandwiches and enjoy the view of the pier and Central Brighton from a distance, it's time to get back on the next train and come back.

Since the Volks track runs along the edge of the pebble beach, and its stations don't look much bigger than Portacabins, many people probably walk right past the Aquarium station without really realising that it's a functioning station. The Aquarium station's location is probably nearer to that of the old Chain Pier than the current Palace Pier, which can also lead to it being overlooked but the appearance of the new Brighton Wheel alongside may now start to get the attraction more traffic.

The little train runs every fifteen minutes during the peak tourist season, so if you're by the Pier and trying to cram a lot into one day, the Volks lets you experience the length of the Promenade twice, from a leisurely sitting position, without tiring yourself out for the rest of the day.

Volks Electric Railway - Aquarium StationBrighton Promenade, and Volks Electric Railway trackBrighton Promenade and Madeira Lift, seen from the Volks Railway

 Volks Electric Railway homepage