The Volk’s railway is a beautiful way to while away a few hours on a summers afternoon, and something that train enthusiasts and kids will love. It’s the oldest operating electric railway in the world, and runs along the length of Madeira Drive running from close to the Palace Pier, and finishing just before the Marina.
Most people start at the Palace Pier side stop, which is known as the Aquarium. The train then runs along to a middle station known as Paston Place, and then onto the final stop is known as Black Rock, just a few metres from the entrance to the Brighton Marina. The Madeira Drive side of Brighton Beach is much quieter than the main part of Brighton Beach. Even in high summer there is a peaceful feel here, with only a few people lining the beach. It’s a nice place to relax and get away from the crowds, and it’s often overlooked by many visitors to the city.
Madiera Drive itself was built as a sea wall to prevent erosion at the beginning of the nineteenth century. A beautiful Cast Iron Victorian promenade was then added in 1890. It runs the length of the road, and it’s great to stroll along the promenade, and watch the people and trains. It’s also a lovely view from the train with the promenade on one side, and the sun shimmering off the sea on the other. In recent years Madeira Drive has become a venue for motoring events and rallies, such as the finish to the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. So if you are looking for peace and quiet, check that there’s nothing going on there first before heading down!
For those who like the technical stuff the railway was built by Magnus Volk and completed in 1883. It has a gauge of 2 ft 8 1⁄2 inches (or 825 mm in metric terms), and It’s electrified at 110V DC using a third rail. From end to end the track and is just under 1 1⁄4 miles, or 2 km long.