Volks Electric Railway

Owner Magnus Volk and family
Opened 4th August 1883 (electric)
Operator Volks Electric Railway
Re-gauged 4th April 1884
Ownership transferred June 1901 (Magnus Volk Limited)
Taken over (infrastructure) 1939 (Brighton Corporation)
Operator Magnus Volk Limited
Taken over (operation) 1st April 1940 (Brighton Corporation)
Length 1.25 miles
Gauge 2 ft 0ins, and 2ft 8½ins

Button description (Pattern 1) Stylised letter ‘V’ within a garter
Materials known Brass
Button Line reference [None]

Button description (Pattern 2) Joined initials, 'VR'
Materials known Brass
Button Line reference [None]

Comments The Pattern 1 button opposite is almost certainly a manufacturer's stock pattern that the VER would have effectively bought 'off the shelf'. Evidence that it was indeed used by the VER is very thin, though it did appear in David Froggatt's 'Railway Buttons, Badges and Uniforms' (Malaga Books,1986) as a VER button.

The Pattern 2 button is freqently sold as a VER issue, but if anything, the evidence to support it being a bone fide issue is even thinner than for the Pattern 1 button. If the attribute is indeed correct, then this pattern would seem to be the later of the two, as the VER dropped the 'E' in more recent times, simply styling itself the 'Volks Railway'.

The opening day of the Volks Electric Railway was a significant date in the evolution of tramways and railways in the British Isles, being the first regular use of electric traction to carry fare-paying passengers. The passenger carrying cars originally ran on reserved railway tracks with power supplied via one of the rails, though this was quickly superseded by installation of a third-rail; the Volks is therefore an electric railway rather than an electric tramway.