Brighton and Rottingdean Seashore Electric Railway

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The Brighton and Rottingdean Seashore Electric Railway
Remains of the route at low tide
Image of the vehicle

The Brighton and Rottingdean Seashore Electric Railway ( German about "Electric coastal railway Brighton - Rottingdean") was a railway line leading through the sea in Brighton for local public transport . Construction began in 1894, and it opened on November 28, 1896. The official name of the only railcar was Pioneer , but many passengers called the train Daddy Long Legs (in German Weberknecht ).

The route connected the seaside resorts of Brighton and Rottingdean and was a maximum of 80 meters from the beach. The approximately 45 t heavy vehicle was a boat-like structure on approximately seven meter high stilts. A total of four four-wheel bogies ran on two parallel tracks , each with a 2-  foot and 8.5-inch (828 mm) track . A theoretical “total track width” of 18 feet (5486 mm) resulted from the distance between the outer rails . The railcar obtained its power from an overhead line , for which two separate pantographs were available for safety reasons. The second pole was the rails when the tide was low - as with most railways - and the lake water when the tide was high. One problem was that the vehicle was underpowered, because the water resistance was so great during flooding that only walking pace was possible. The route length was around 2.8 miles (approx. 4.5 km).

A storm destroyed the vehicle and parts of the route less than a week after it opened. However, the railway was rebuilt and reopened on July 20, 1897.

In 1901, the city council decided to build a beach protection barrier. It cut the track and the operator, Volk's Electric Railway , should have moved the tracks around the barrier deeper into the water. There was not enough money for this, and the railway was to be temporarily shut down until there was enough capital for the renovation work. However, the city council had the tracks removed, resulting in the permanent closure.

At low tide some of the concrete sleepers can still be seen.


  • Alan A. Jackson: Volk's Railways Brighton - an illustrated history . Plateway Press, Brighton 1993 (previously as: Light Railway Transport League for the Borough of Brighton , Volk's railway, Brighton / London 1979, OCLC 614074115 ), ISBN 1-871980-18-6 .
  • E.g. an electric train in the water . In: The Gazebo . Issue 20, 1896, pp. 340 ( full text [ Wikisource ]).

Web links

Commons : Brighton and Rottingdean Seashore Electric Railway  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Ariane Stürmer: Weird means of transport: Train ahoy! In: one day . Retrieved February 7, 2012 .
  2. ^ A b Volk’s Brighton to Rottingdean Seashore Electric railway. Retrieved November 28, 2016 .