Daddy-Longlegs

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The Brighton & Rottingdean Seashore Electric Railway or “Daddy-Longlegs.”



Inventor Magnus Volks is buried at Ovingdean. This amazing inventor built the world’s first electric railway in 1883, which still runs along Brighton seafront. 


In 1896, this railway was extended to Rottingdean for a brief period. The Pioneer became nicknamed “Daddy-Longlegs” and offered a “Sea Voyage on Wheels”. 


Its four giant legs ran on twin tracks, mounted on concrete sleepers, completely submerged at high tide, taking electric current from an overhead wire. 


Between Rottingdean and the Marina you can see the concrete tracks across the rocks and the stumps of several wooden poles.


It was the only railway locomotive in the world that was required to carry a lifeboat and lifebelts! After only one week the car was wrecked during the storm which destroyed the Chain Pier and though The Pioneer was quickly rebuilt it was never powerful enough to make good progress at high tide. 


The railway’s final demise came in 1901 when Brighton Corporation installed sea defences in the form of groynes which blocked the route.

Click on any image below to view

1. Rottingdean Pier with generator underneath
1. Rottingdean Pier with generator underneath

2. Poster for Daddy-Longlegs
2. Poster for Daddy-Longlegs

10. Concrete railway sleepers at Rottingdean
10. Concrete railway sleepers at Rottingdean

1. Rottingdean Pier with generator underneath
1. Rottingdean Pier with generator underneath

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