VOTE: Do you think the innovative suggestion of a Frontliner transport scheme for the seafront should be pursued?

Passengers could be taking a trip to the future along Bognor Regis promenade.

A futuristic cable car would transport them from Butlin’s to the pier and beyond to Marine Park Gardens and West Park.

The Frontliner concept is based on the historic Volk’s Railway in Brighton as well the famous San Francisco cable cars.

It is the brainchild of North Bersted cartoonist Mike Jupp. He says it’s an idea whose time has come. “It is a 21st-century version of Volk’s Railway.

“It would be an attraction which people would come to see as well as a means of transport for visitors and locals to get from one end of the seafront to another.

“Too many people who come down to Bognor to stay in Butlin’s think the town ends at the pier.

“They don’t realise that the beautiful Marine Park Gardens and West Park are beyond it. Frontliner would expose them to parts of Bognor which they don’t think exists.

“My idea about publicising the scheme now is to find out people’s reactions to it.

“If they like it, then there will be a need for councillors to allow a feasibility study to see if Frontliner should go ahead.

“I know the councils won’t have any money to pay for it, but it could be funded by advertising, tickets and sponsorship and could be built in stages to limit the initial cost.

“Stage one could be between Butlin’s and the pier because the promenade is wide enough.”

Mike came up with Frontliner 12 years ago when he and Steve Goodheart devised the millennium pier.

Its £20m dragonfly design for a location at the eastern end of the promenade soon caught the imagination of a lot of people.

Members from Bognor, Arun and West Sussex councils backed it along with members of the public.

A professional case for the pier to be built was put towards the lottery’s Millennium Commission. Private investment was being lined up to pay for half its cost. The rest would have come from public funds such as councils.

It lost out to Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower in the battle for lottery funding and the idea has largely gathered dust since then.

Frontliner was intended to distribute the crowds visiting the millennium pier and Butlin’s along the rest of the seafront.

But it failed to get far amid the regeneration projects and talk of the past decade or so.

Mike, 63, has now decided to take matters into his own hands. He made an unofficial presentation to town councillors recently and wowed them with his suggestion.

This has led to his desire for wider publicity to seek views about his creation.

Frontliner would consist of an ‘Alienesque’ eastern terminal close to Gloucester Road with a waiting room and refreshment area.

Connecting it with a traditional station with Edwardian-Victorian architecture at the western end will be two carriages.

One will be modern of fibreglass or vacuum-moulded plastic and the other styled on San Francisco’s cable cars.

Each would have a powered wheel and an idle wheel at each end, connected by a cable running between them at 5mph on to which the wheels would be clamped.

“It’s a simple idea based on the cable cars in San Francisco. If they can do it, with the geography there is, and some 150 years ago when it was started, then it can be done here as well.

“I know there will be shingle and rain to contend with. But that must happen with Volk’s Railway and that’s kept going for over 100 years as well.”

Stations along the route could be linked to nearby businesses which would pay to have their name associated with Frontliner.

“When I was young, in the 1950s, we had a steam train, probably one-third scale, running along the seafront with a proper track,” said Mike.

“It was a proper locomotive with steam coming out of it. It was then moved on to the pier. Frontliner would be a modern version of that.”