Magnus Volks’s other railway: the Daddy Long-legs

One of the great curiosities of Brighton now lost is the beach railway that electrical pioneer Magnus Volk designed to travel along the beach in low and high tide now dubbed the daddy long legs. It opened in 1896 and operated only until 1901. You can see footage of it in action here.

This second video shows the traces of the tracks that ran from Paston Place to Rottingdean that can still be seen at low tide.

As the video description (which offers more information) says of the daddy long legs: “The railway itself consisted of two parallel 2 ft 8 1⁄2 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 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.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *