Jun 30, 2007
The 2nd part of my audio tour of Volk's Electric Railway
with Ian Gledhill, Chairman of (VERA) Volks Electric Railway
In 1892 with the Electric Railway comfortably installed as far as Paston Place Magnus cast his eyes towards Rottingdean. To extend the existing railway the three miles would entail either a steep climb to take it along the cliff top or a man-made viaduct along the unstable undercliff. Understandably he was not keen on either alternative so he turned his mind to building a completely new railway that would 'travel through the sea'. A similar system was already in operation across St. Malo harbour in Brittany but this was pulled along the rails by chain rather than being self-propelled, and ran through sheltered water not the English Channel.
Finance for the new railway was found locally. One of the biggest investors was Edward Bleackley who became the first Chairman of the new company. R. StGeorge Moore, later to be engaged as the designer and engineer of the new Palace Pier, was taken on as the project engineer, and under his guidance a Bill was submitted to Parliament applying for an Act to incorporate a Company and then empower that Company to construct an electric railway on the foreshore between Paston Place and Rottingdean, together with the associated works and piers that would be needed.