Classic steam train will roll along Hayling Island seafront for weekend of railway celebrations

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(Left to right), Peter Shelley of Hampshire County Council, Mayor of Havant Councillor Elaine Shimbart, Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Councillor Ken Ellcome, and Edward Hodgson of Stagecoach. Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (171226-1)

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A CLASSIC steam train is set to relive its days of hauling passengers for a weekend of celebrations.

Stafford-built locomotive, Wendy, will operate on The Hayling Seaside Railway next weekend.

She will run between Beachlands and Eastoke Corner – where the railway will open its new depot.

Owner of The Hayling Seaside Railway, Bob Haddock, is looking forward to welcoming Wendy on to the line.

He said: ‘It will be absolutely fantastic. She was built 98 years ago so she has a lot of history behind her.

‘It’s great that we get the opportunity to enjoy operating a steam train.’

Mayor of Havant Elaine Shimbart will officially open the railway’s new depot on Sunday, with a host of activities taking place throughout the day.

Vintage tractors and motorbikes are set to park up at the Eastoke Corner site, where visitors can expect a tombola, live music and entertainment and stalls raising money for local charity.

Mr Haddock said the relocation of The Hayling Seaside Railway’s depot was a welcome one.

‘We needed a larger and more modern building and that’s exactly what we have now.’

Across the weekend, Wendy will be making frequent journeys along the seafront – with her first departure from Eastoke corner scheduled for 10am on Saturday.

She will be pulling four carriages and 90 passengers and is sure to be a hit with youngsters, says Bob.

‘It’s wonderful watching children who have never seen a steam train before, they’re awe-inspiring machines up close.

‘I’d like to say thank you to all the people along the seafront who wave back to the children on the train.

‘They actually play a game on board called sweet and sour.

‘If you wave back, you’re sweet – and if you don’t... You can probably guess the rest!’

The Hayling Seaside Railway has been operated from Beachlands by volunteers for the past 13 years.

A family return ticket for the journey is £9.

Celebrations for the opening of the Eastoke Corner depot will run from 10am until 4.30pm on Saturday and Sunday, August 5 and 6.