Posted by: travelrat | September 11, 2016

Travel Theme: Transport

Some time ago … well, not long ago, actually, for it’s been endlessly repeated on cable TV … I saw the excellent Michael Palin’s TV series ‘Around the World in 80 Days’, and subsequently read the book. Later came a TV series and a book by Charley Boorman ‘London to Sydney: By Any Means’. The common denominator was that both travellers aimed to use only surface transport, and not to fly. If I remember correctly, Palin achieved this, but Boorman had a choice of using a plane, or missing a ferry connection and having an unacceptable wait for the next one.

Both achieved a formidable list of different kinds of transport, and I thought at first of making a list to see if I could better them. That idea was soon abandoned, and I concentrated on forms of transport that I’d used and they hadn’t. I don’t believe either of them used a dogsled at any stage, and I also claimed a device called a Supacat. The best way to describe it is a six-wheeled quad bike; I don’t think I have any photographs, for I don’t think it went into production in any number.

Anyway, I don’t want to bore you with a list of ‘Things I’ve Ridden In’. You’ll find a plethora of these elsewhere in the blog. So, to give you a sample of one of the best, I just opened it at random, and came upon:

Only a short distance from Brighton Pier lies a railway. It was the brainchild of one Magnus Volk … who, despite his rather Germanic-sounding name was Brighton born and bred … and what we see today is the railway pretty much as it was when he constructed it. Apart, of course, from its rather ‘lived in’ look, and the fact the driver no longer wears a ‘Come to Jesus’ collar and a ‘Go to Hell’ tie, and doesn’t sport a bushy moustache. They wouldn’t have looked right on her, anyway!

To describe it verbally makes it sound like only a slight thing; an open-sided, single-car unit running for just over a mile along the seafront. But, have a look at the wrought iron entrance arch, which proclaims it to be ‘Volk’s Electric Railway’ and carries the date 1883! In those days, an electric railway wasn’t just an amusing novelty but, to quote a sadly overused phrase, cutting edge technology. In fact, in was one of the first, if not THE first electric railway anywhere.


This week’s contribution to the Travel Theme. More at





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