Volks Electric reopens – but trams not going all the way

VOLKS Electric Railway (VER) tram cars began running between Aquarium and Halfway station (aka Peter Pan’s Playground) on October 14, the first operations over the 2ft 8½in-gauge line in 2017.

VER services ceased on September 4, 2016 (RM Oct 2016) for work to start on reconstruction funded by the £1.65million Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) award to Brighton & Hove City Council (RM Jan 2016).

Volks Electric Railway cars Nos. 8 and 7 at Halfway station on October 14 when the line partially reopened with a shuttle service between Aquarium and Halfway stations. The maintenance and storage shed in the background is still substantially a building site, preventing operations beyond Halfway to Black Rock, near Brighton Marina. LES KENWARD

The line was originally projected to reopen around June 2017.

The HLF-supported project included construction of a new station and visitor centre at Aquarium station (completed), rebuilding the car sheds at Half Way Station, and restoration of three cars.

The running line from Half Way to Black Rock passes through the maintenance and car shed, which is not yet finished, hence VER initially ran a shuttle service to Aquarium, with the line not yet fully reopening over its full length.

Restoration of Car No. 4 has been completed by Alan Keef Ltd, with Nos. 6 and 10 to follow imminently.

Electrical equipment to enable No. 4 to return to service will be fitted in Brighton this winter.

The cars are being completed in the burgundy & cream colours applied for the line’s 125th anniversary in 2008, now adopted as a corporate livery.

The project was delayed by several months early on when an underground gas pipe at Halfway was discovered during initial demolition work.

This had to be disconnected to make the area safe before work could continue.

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