IT’S been more than a year in the making, but a summer of railway nostalgia is finally upon us.
Tomorrow will see the start of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the closure of the Hayling Billy, which ran from Havant to the island for almost a century until it was axed in 1963.
The locomotives may have gone, but the affection for the Hayling Billy has never diminished and its route is now a thriving nature reserve.
The event is the brainchild of Peter Drury, a retired BAE Systems project worker with a passion for railways, nature and photography.
The 66-year-old, from Widley, said: ‘I’m looking forward to it and I’m hoping everything goes well.
‘The main thing is I just want everyone to enjoy themselves – there so much variety for people.’
The Station Theatre in West Town, will be open from 10am to 1pm this weekend and until August 30 for an exhibition.
The local history displays have been produced with the help of Hayling Island Carers Club, Gorseway Residential Home, Portsmouth University and Hayling College’s Year 9 history students.
Meanwhile, there will be a guided tour of the railway route from 10.30am tomorrow with people meeting at the Royal Oak pub in Langstone for 10am.
The Hayling Billy pub, in Elm Grove, is hosting a beer festival from 1.30pm tomorrow with local bands performing.
From 7.30pm tomorrow, at the Station Theatre, there will be an evening of entertainment – entitled ‘Down Memory Line’ – featuring the Hayling Island Amateur Dramatics Society, the Hayling Huggers ukulele band and Wendy Adams-Evans.
All weekend cyclists are encouraged to pedal their way along the Hayling Billy trail and take part in a treasure hunt.
Hayling Seaside Railway at Beachlands will be running a weekend of special services from 11am tomorrow.