Damage, further extension and improvements

Please note that this text is an extract from a reference work written in 1990.  As a result, some of the content may not reflect recent research, changes and events.

c) DAMAGE and FURTHER EXTENSION: On 4-5 December 1896 the wreckage of the Chain Pier caused considerable damage to the railway and £1,500 was claimed. The Sussex Daily News ran a public subscription to help fund repairs, and the line reopened in the spring of 1897. By 1899 five cars were operating, and Volk negotiated a 21-year lease with the council for the land occupied at six-months’ notice. In February 1901 Volk received permission for an extension to Black Rock to compensate for the loss of his Rottingdean Railway ; the new track, which opened the same year, was laid on a viaduct eastwards from the Banjo Groyne and then along the roadway to a terminus below the French Convalescent Home . Permission was not initially given to run cars across the Banjo Groyne however, but Volk laid the tracks anyway and through-running was allowed from January 1902 to give a maximum length of about one-and-three-quarter miles; the Paston Place terminus therefore became a through station. In 1902 also, the corporation’s electricity supply was used instead of Volk’s own generator.

d) FURTHER IMPROVEMENTS: In April 1906 the tracks were relaid with ramps and bridges following improvements to Madeira Drive , and Black Rock Station was improved and reopened on 15 April 1911. However, in May 1915 a boy fresh from bathing was electrocuted, and although no negligence was found on the railway’s part Volk agreed to enclose the live rail. A new 21-year lease was granted in March 1922, but when Madeira Drive was widened in 1929-30 a new Aquarium Station was opened by the mayor, Sidney Thompson, on 27 June 1930 with the line slightly shortened. On 7 May 1937 a new Black Rock Station was opened to the west of the old station which was demolished for the new open-air swimming-pool.

Any numerical cross-references in the text above refer to resources in the Sources and Bibliography section of the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder.

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