Sunday, 18 January 2009


In 1896, eccentric Brighton inventor/ local mad-man, Magnus Volks, had his vision of 'A Sea Voyage on Wheels' realised with a crazy railway that ran for 3 miles down the south coast from Brighton to Rottingdean. The vessel could carry 160 passengers and the journey took 35 mins and was described as a mixture between an open top pram-car,a pleasure yacht and a pier with a saloon bar on top. The 'Pioneer' was nearly destroyed a week later as a violent storm derailed it damaging it severely and destroyed the pier it was next to.

A year later in 1897 it reopened and that year 44,300 passengers rode the tram/boat/train even though it could only travel through incredibly shallow water otherwise it trawled through at a pathetic speed. By 1901 the line was at its end as the company that built the line had damaged the seabed  making the trackbed unsafe. The vessel was left chained to a pier where it rusted away. Would be nice if we had some more crazed structural ideas happening now.

1 comment:

Philip said...

Thank You!

I enjoy the historical side of England a great deal.
I am from Australia; however I was staying with my Aunt in Rottingdean in November 2008 (only a few short weeks ago). I travelled between Rottingdean and Brighton many times during my stay. I also walked along the “Under Cliffs” almost every day. When I got back to Australia, I started making up a Blog (a work in progress) about the area. I posted a link to your “Sea Railway post” (I hope you don’t mind)


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