It’s full steam ahead for an exhibition to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Seaford to Brighton line which opened at Seaford Museum on Sunday March 30.
According to local museum members Kevin Gordon and Ron Vince, who have written a booklet to accompany the exhibition, fever pitch excitement greeted the coming of the railway to Seaford on June 1, 1864.
The advent of the railway meant tourists flocked to the town, turning it into a small seaside resort by making it more accessible to visitors.
Museum chairman Kay Turvey said: “There can be little doubt that when it finally arrived at Seaford, the railway opened up the town to new influences, and gave it an important new lease of life.
“Although many people still use the railway station, not everyone realises the significance of such features as the extra long platform, and who today notices that the announcements still refer to ‘The train arriving on Platform 2’ when there is actually only one platform in use?”
Visitors will be able to see photos of the railway and artefacts, drawn from its own collections and elsewhere.
According to the Seaford Railway Station booklet the station was dressed in yards of colourful bunting.
Spectators were invited to travel free on the line that day.
The railway extension between Seaford and Newhaven played a significant part during World War I when the town was surrounded by military training camps.
There will be images of men, horses and equipment drawn up outside the station, showing a snapshot of war time Seaford.
But there will also be reminders of the happier times, when visitors were encouraged to spend their holidays in Seaford and enjoy the bracing breezes of the seafront, the golf courses and the Downs.
The booklet notes that the opening of the station “marked out the town’s future – not, as at first envisaged as an important seaside resort, but as an accessible end-of-the-line centre for private schools and nursing homes – and, as we know it today, a comfortable and convenient commuter zone and a healthy haven for people in retirement”.
Seaford Museum is open on Sundays and Bank Holidays: 11am until 4pm and Wednesdays and Saturdays: 2pm until 4pm.
Volunteers were recently at Seaford Train Station to clean it up in preparation for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Brighton to Seaford line which will take place on Saturday June 7.
For more information about Seaford Museum visit www.seafordmuseum.co.uk