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One of the best loved attractions of Madeira Drive is its toy town, mini, electric railway. But this is not just a novelty entertainment - Eastbourne, for example,  has a toy train on road wheels to entertain visitors  - this is a genuine piece of UK industrial history.

Magnus Volk opened his seafront electric railway in 1883. It was the first electric railway in Britain, and was only beaten in the whole of Europe by the seaside town of Portrush in Northern Ireland and the city of Berlin. The difference with its competitors is that Volk's Railway is still running.

There are only three stops: the Aquarium Station, at the western end; Peter Pan's Station, the half-way point; and Black Rock Station (also known as Marina Station), at the eastern end . The line is about 1.1 miles long.

Volks Railway operates as a summer service only between Easter and September. More information about train times and fares can be found here.

The line is fenced off for safety reasons, but there are plenty of crossing points, insuring access to the beach.

There are carsheds at Banjo Groyne, and on the opposite side of the road, built into the cliff, is the Volk's HQ.

 

 

On Sunday, 3rd August 2008  the Volk's Electric Railway Association celebrated the 125th anniversary of this unique, little railway. Invited guests included the Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Cllr. Garry Peltzer Dunn, and journalist and broadcaster, Nicholas Owen, who has long had an interest in public transport systems.

The morning was wet and dull, but around 11-30 Volk's Railway enthusiasts began to gather at the Aquarium Station. After short speeches by the  Mayor and Nicholas Owen, a ribbon was cut, and the VIP party, which included members of the Magnus Volk family connection, boarded the train and Nicholas Owen drove the train to Half Way Station where a small exhibition on the history of the railway was opened.

The photographs in the gallery include one of members of the Volk's family holding a copy of the Volk family tree.