Slideshow: Celebrating 150 years of the Brighton to Seaford railway line

The enduring popularity of trains was illustrated when a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Brighton to Seaford line attracted thousands of onlookers.

A steam train, vintage cars and live music were a big draw for visitors, with events organised along the length of the line on Saturday June 7.

The Oliver Cromwell steam train at Seaford

The Oliver Cromwell steam train at Seaford

Shops, groups and people worked together to ensure the celebrations went off with a bang.

Sussex Community Rail Partnership manager and event organiser Sam Bryant said: “Volunteers from along the line, from many different organisations made the day possible and they are owed a massive thank you for all their contribution and hard work, which made the day an overwhelming success.”

Seaford Baptist Church Concert Choir, Seaford Primary School Choir, Seaford Youth Drama Club provided music and drama. Stalls and displays were also set up at the event at Seaford Railway Station.

The mayor of Lewes, Dr Michael Turner, unveiled a timeline at Lewes Railway Station before hopping on the train to Seaford, joined by the mayor of Newhaven Judith Ost.

They were greeted by mayor of Seaford, Mark Brown, recalling the opening of the line 150 years ago.

The reenactment of the ceremony involved speeches from an actor playing Seaford mayor, Rev W Tyler Smith, the man responsible for bringing the railway to Seaford.

The ceremony was attended by Lewes MP Norman Baker MP, East Sussex County Council chair Colin Belsey, chair of Lewes District Council Tony Nicholson and district council leader Rob Blackman, as well as Southern’s finance director Nigel Ball and chairman of Seaford to Brighton Community Rail Partnership Jon Freeman.

The young mayor of Seaford presented prizes to the winners of the Shop Window Competition.

And the winners were: Joint 2nd Seaford Home Hardware of Clinton Place and Cooper and Son Funeral Directors, also of Clinton Place.

Judges singled out Seaford Home Hardware for the ingenuity of its design of a steam engine outlined in nuts and bolts. The overall winner was Foam and Fabrics in Broad Street.

Southern’s finance director Nigel Ball, who was at the event, added: “It was wonderful to see so many local people celebrating this important milestone.

“It was especially pleasing to see how those who worked really hard to make the day a success had so uniquely tailored their events to each of the stations, reflecting the individual and distinctive character of each of the stops.

“There really was something for everyone. Working with local groups at any of our stations is extremely important to us at Southern and over our time running this line we have worked with a range of communities and charities in this area.

“We were extremely pleased when Sussex Community Rail Partnership adopted the line and feel that these ten stations have continued to go from strength to strength.

“We look forward to what the coming years will bring this line and its partnerships.”

Along the line there was a series of model railway layouts, provided by London Road, Newhaven and Brighton Station Partners.

At Lewes Railway Station, vintage vehicle display entertained visitors along with free face painting and children’s activities.

The selection of guided walks and the family friendly cycle ride, with Bike It, allowed people to explore around Southease and Newhaven.

And at Bishopstone Railway Station railway films were shown by Seaford Cinema and Filmspot.