• volks pioneer art print
  • volks pioneer art print b delaney digital

Magnus Volk, its owner, designer and engineer, had already been successful with the more conventional Volk’s Electric Railway, which had then not been extended east of Paston Place. Facing unfavourable geography, Volk decided to construct a line through the surf from a pier at Paston Place to one at Rottingdean. This was also home to Volk’s Seaplane Station which was used by his son George Herbert Volk.

The railway itself consisted of two parallel 2 ft 8 12 in (825 mm) gauge tracks, billed as 18 ft (5.5 m) gauge, the measurement between the outermost rails.[2] The tracks were laid on concrete sleepers mortised into the bedrock. The single car used on the railway was a 45 by 22 ft (13.7 by 6.7 m) pier-like building which stood on four 23 ft (7.0 m)-long legs. The car weighed 45 long tons (50 short tons; 46 t). Propulsion was by electric motor. It was officially named Volks Pioneer, but many called it Daddy Long-Legs. Due to regulations then in place, a qualified sea captain was on board at all times, and the car was provided with lifeboats and other safety measures.

Construction took two years from 1894 to 1896. The railway officially opened 28 November 1896, but was nearly destroyed by a storm the night of 4 December. Volk immediately set to rebuilding the railway including the Volks Pioneer, which had been knocked on its side, and it reopened in July 1897.