Local Conservative Councillors have pledged to back plans which could revitalise the Volk’s Electric Railway and make it a key part of the tourist offering in Brighton and Hove. The Volk’s Electric Railway Association have come up with a plan with five proposals which they hope would rejuvenate the railway and would include a short extension at the Black Rock end of the line.
The Volk’s Electric Railway has enjoyed a small rejuvenation in recent years anyway with the Saving Volk’s project seeing the creation of a new Visitor Centre at the Aquarium and the refurbishment of several of the trains which operate the service along Brighton seafront. But now the Volk’s Electric Railway Association have put together a business case which the Conservatives on the Council have now agreed to take forward.
The five step proposals to aid the revitalisation are:
- Improving signage – installing illuminated signage visible from the Pier to attract tourists to the railway
- Restoring the Aquarium Station North Siding – restoring the second siding at Aquarium to create a second platform which would enable a three-car service to run on a regular basis
- Investing in a new accessible railcar – making the railway a tourist attraction accessible to everyone by introducing a vehicle which allows those with a disability to enjoy a ride
- Installing a shelter at Halfway
- Extending the railway at Black Rock – a new terminus would be provided to form part of the new Black Rock development (it is suggested that if a two platform station was provided a four train service could run)
After discussions between VERA and Councillors it has been agreed that this plan will be presented to the council. Cllr Robert Nemeth, Conservative group Transport spokesman, said: “It is vital for local jobs and our tourist economy that we work to improve Brighton and Hove’s standing as a tourist destination, which is in a precarious position with a recent survey putting the city in the bottom half of the United Kingdom’s seaside destinations. The Conservative Group has been listening to VERA and its proposals and has undertaken a site visit to see how these might work in practice. We believe these are some exciting and well-thought out ideas that could boost the tourism economy in the city. The installation of a shelter will make the service more attractive for families visiting the children’s areas. As Conservatives we want to see a thriving tourist economy and a better utilised Volk’s Electric Railway would certainly be an extremely good step forward.”
The business case prepared by VERA suggests that all proposals would have their costs met within 6 years of construction with some (signage at Aquarium as an example) only taking a year for this to happen.
We’ll watch this one with interest – could be the oldest operating electric railway be set for a better future?