A very special railway journey in set to take place in Sussex on October 2nd.
For the first time ever two of the region's most popular heritage railways will be connected by steam train as the Cathedral Express hosts a one-off event. Passengers will be wined and dined as they travel from the Watercress Line to the Bluebell Line in Sussex, starting from Alresford passing through Alton, Farnham and Aldershot before reaching East Grinstead and West Sussex.
The Daily Echo reports that this will represent the first time that a steam train will cross over these two famous lines. There will be an open connection to join the mainline railway which will allow the 70000 Britannia steam train to reach the Bluebell.
The train itself has a rich history having first being built in 1951 and ferried passengers across the region before, as with most steam trains, was withdrawn in 1966. However, it will brought back into use for this special day which allows people to get a taste of what rail travel was like throughout the 20th century.
Speaking to the news provider, Marcus Robertson, chairman of Cathedral Express operator, said: "We are very excited to be offering passengers the chance to travel directly between these two beautiful heritage railways for the first time.
"With the chance to also enjoy a champagne breakfast on the way down and a four or five course meal on the return journey, it promises to be a fantastic day out.”
Both the Watercress and Bluebell lines have been big favourites since they were converted into heritage lines. The Watercress route was purchased by British Rail in 1973 and was slowly brought back into use with the reopening of Alresford and Ropley before Alton was re-opened in 1985.
The Bluebell line was in operation between 1882 and 1958 before being re-opened to the public in 1960. It has been extended over a number of years with the East Grinstead part being opened in 2013.
Prices for the Cathedral Express start at £99 with a premium ticket, complete with a two-course champagne brunch, costing £239.