A large but socially distanced crowd gathered at Rye station on Thursday, September 10 to see The Sussex Belle drive through pulled by the steam engine Braunton.
The train service is one of many offered by Saphos Trains, a company specialising in steam journeys throughout the country. The Sussex Belle service departs from Victoria, heading to Brighton, along the coast to Eastbourne, and then back to London via Rye and Romney Marsh.
Braunton is a West Country class engine, named after the north Devon village. Built in 1946 for Southern Rail at the Brighton rail works she was originally numbered 21C146 but was re-numbered 34046 in 1949 and rebuilt in 1959. The locomotive was one of the engines used to haul the Royal train. Following withdrawal from service in 1965 Braunton languished in a scrapyard until she was fully restored, returning to steam passenger service in 2008. You can see a clip of the train passing through Winchelsea (filmed by David Merriman) below.
Details of future steam train journeys can be found at the website www.saphostrains.com.
Image Credits: David Bookless .