By the time you read this article the Volks Electric Railway should be back in operation with a limited service to be run between Aquarium and Halfway as the Heritage Lottery Fund backed regeneration project starts to come towards a conclusion. The new Visitor Centre was opened on Friday 13th October – obviously not unlucky in Brighton in this instance! – and following test runs along the line a public return to service was due from 1030 on Saturday 14th October.
It had been feared that no services would run on the Volks Electric Railway at all during 2017 after the “Saving Volk’s” project overran following the discovery of an unknown but live gas supply through the worksite. But despite having missed the entire summer season – the first since 1948 – good enough progress has now been made to allow some trains to operate on part of the line. Unfortunately as the sheds are not yet finished at Halfway it is not possible for services to run through here to Black Rock hence why only part of the line will be running – but part of a line is definitely better than none after a year without services!
The power on the line had only been switched on on Thursday 12th October 2017 allowing cars 7 and 8 to perform some test runs. These two cars have not undergone the major restoration which is being enjoyed by 4, 6 and 10 and have remained in Brighton throughout the service closure but are likely to form the bulk of services for the time being.
Of those cars which did go away for restoration at Alan Keef Ltd near Ross-on-Wye no. 4 returned to the Volks Electric Railway on Wednesday 11th October following the completion of works. It will now need a period of commissioning before it can be considered for service. Work continues on 6 and 10. Meanwhile 9 is also under attention but this has remained on the railway and is also progressing well.
It was 4th September 2016 that services last ran on the railway and despite some setbacks along the way excellent progress has been made over the last 13 months which will help to secure the future of the historic Volks Electric Railway for many years to come.
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