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.
e) CORPORATION TAKEOVER: Magnus Volk died in May 1937 and was succeeded by his son Herman, but the corporation, acting under powers granted by the 1938 Brighton Corporation (Transport) Act, took over the railway at the end of the ground lease and then leased it back to Herman Volk. On 1 April 1940 the corporation took control of the whole railway, but when the beaches were closed by the government on 2 July 1940 the railway was shut down and both termini were demolished.
Following five years of neglect the railway was restored after the war under the supervision of retired tramway engineer Mr Budd. The track was renewed, a new station was built at the Children’s Playground (Peter Pan’s), a redundant tram shelter was used as a new Aquarium terminus, and Black Rock station was rebuilt. Seven cars were restored, but the two original cars of 1884 and 1885 were scrapped. The line reopened on 15 April 1948, and in September 1949 the corporation converted two cars from the Southend Pier Railway (the ‘toast-rack’ cars, nos.8 and 9, dating from 1898).
On 11 April 1950 a second fatality occurred when a girl fell in front of a car from a ramp; from then on all crossings were fitted with warning lights with a bell also at Banjo Groyne. Since 1952 the line has been closed out of season, but has run at Christmases since 1986. The Marina terminus had to be rebuilt following an arson attack by ‘mods’ on 31 August 1981, and another serious fire on 27 May 1987 damaged several of the cars. In September 1977 the council’s amenities committee voted against a motion to scrap the line after its centenary, celebrated in 1983, and the railway still runs happily along the sea-front with plans to extend it in both directions when finances allow.
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.