Pioneer was put back together with legs measuring two feet higher, and the railway was reopened in the summer of 1897. Nearly 45,000 passengers took the railway that year, but all was not well. At high tide, the streetcar would slow to a crawl, but the venture had already become a moneypit and upgrading Pioneer's motors was out of the question. Plans for a second car were also abandoned.
Over the next few years, a number of low concrete walls were built out into the sea along the Brighton coastline. These groynes were put in place to curtail erosion of the beach, but they changed the ebb and flow of the surrounding waters, which in turn caused damage to the railway trackbed. Volk was forced to shut everything down during the busy summer months of 1900 to perform repairs.
Shortly after, in September of 1900, Volk was told the railway would need to be rerouted to allow for the building of new coastal defenses, which would mean moving the line further out from shore. But there was no money left to throw at it.
In January 1901, the coastal defenses began to take shape, and parts of the track were simply ripped up to make way. Pioneer never made another trip, and in the summer of 1902 the Brighton and Rottingdean Seashore Electric Railway was officially abandoned, less than six years after opening -- and to think it's been nearly five years since the Hyperloop concept was first published, and that's only just about starting to come to fruition now. The infrastructure and streetcar were left to fall into ruin until 1910, eventually being disassembled and sold for scrap.
Volk's engineering oddity isn't entirely forgotten, though. At low tide, you can still walk along Brighton's coastline today and see the last concrete remnants of the tracks once known as the Brighton and Rottingdean Seashore Electric Railway.
Technological innovation didn't begin with the development of the first integrated circuit in the 1950s. Backlog is a series exploring the era of possibilities: engineering feats that followed the industrial revolution, quirky concepts the future's rendered obsolete, and inventions that paved the way for some of the technology we use today.