Volk’s Electric Railway

From £3.70 To £4.80

The Volk’s Electric Railway is the world’s oldest operating electric railway. The narrow-gauge railway runs along the Brighton seafront from the SEA LIFE aquarium to the marina.

It was built by Magnus Volk with a short 402m (¼ mile) section opened in 1883. The following year it was extended a further 800m (½ mile) to Paston Place (this station is now known as Halfway) and was extended again in 1901 to Black Rock near Brighton Marina.

Although not the first electric railway (that honour goes to Werner von Siemens’ demonstration line in Berlin, opened four years earlier), it is the oldest that is still in operation. Considering its age, it is in remarkably good condition.

The Aquarium station on the Volk's Electric Railway in Brighton, East Sussex (Photo: Les Chatfield [CC BY-SA 2.0])
The Halfway station on the Volk’s Electric Railway in Brighton, East Sussex (Photo: Les Chatfield [CC BY-SA 2.0])
It is purely a tourist line rather than a practical transport option as the distance is so short that you could easily walk the entire route in 20 minutes and buses run the same route more frequently.

It is a fun way to see Brighton’s seafront. It is a popular ride for children and its historical significance will appeal to adults.

The 1.6km (1 mile) railway is operated primarily as a tourist attraction with trains operating between May and October. You would probably want to avoid it in winter anyway as the carriages are open, which makes a ride something for a sunny day as you’ll get wet if you ride when it is raining.

The single adult fare is £3.70 (£4.80 return) and trains depart every 15 minutes on days that the railway is operating.

The Aquarium station is close to the SEA LIFE Centre, the Brighton Palace Pier and the centre of Brighton and Black Rock station is near the Brighton Marina complex, which includes a multiplex cinema, shops, waterfront restaurants and the Malmaison hotel.

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