An iconic stretch of railway commemorated its 150th birthday with a steam event.
The Seaford Branch Line was first opened in 1864 to serve the port of Newhavan and the town of Seaford. It is a key route in the south of England and has seen classic steam trains right up to the modern day electric trains which run up and down the coast. Originally engineered by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway's chief engineer Frederick Banister, the line has served the region for over a century and a half.
June 7th and 8th saw residents of the area celebrate the railway's heritage with a Victorian steam event. The Argus reports that the weekend's highlights saw the steam engine Oliver Cromwell travel along the line towards Brighton.
Seaford was the focal point of the celebrations with the town's station playing host to musical and drama performances, stalls and a commemorative plaque that was unveiled to mark the 150th anniversary. The first day was so popular it prompted organisers to put on a second day to allow for more visitors to enjoy the festivities.
Sam Adeniji, Seaford town councillor, told the news provider: "It was a very good weekend and very well supported which shows what a vibrant town and what a vibrant community Seaford has. The line was opened primarily to connect Seaford to London which helped us to become a seaside resort so the line was vital.”
Seeing the steam trains roll into the station harks back to the early 20th century, when engines of this ilk would patrol the route ferrying passengers from the south coast to the centre of London. The Seaford Branch Line provided residents in the town a route into the capital which was previously unattainable.
It was one of many key routes that ensured that the UK created one of the best railway networks in the world.