Plans for a special historical celebration are on track – as Haywards Heath gets ready to mark the 175th anniversary of the first steam engine arriving in the town.
Residents will hark back to the Victorian era as businesses and the community mark the year the railway arrived in the town.
Organised by the Haywards Heath Town Team, the weekend event is set to take place on September 17 and 18, 2016.
More than 20 organisations have already signed up to take part in festivities, with the Bluebell Railway among those pledging support.
Tim Briggs, from Window Wise and Town Team Station Quarter lead said: “These planned historical anniversary celebrations will provide an exciting opportunity to bring both the community and business groups together to promote Haywards Heath as a place to visit and to do business and to leave a lasting legacy of the 175th anniversary and our new look station area.”
The first train arrived in Haywards Heath on July 5, 1841 – it was the line’s terminus from London for 11 weeks while before the tunnel under Muster Green was completed. It is though Haywards Heath would not exist as a town if the railway had been built due south from Balcombe as originally proposed.
The railway is a very important part of the town’s history and is one of the reasons to how Haywards Heath came into existence as a large town.Cllr Mike Pulfer
The Town Team is planning a procession through Haywards Heath, a Victorian picnic and fun fair, exhibitions, a miniature railway, and stalls as well as plenty of activities.
Haywards Heath Town Councillor Mike Pulfer, said: “The railway is a very important part of the town’s history and is one of the reasons to how Haywards Heath came into existence as a large town.”
Sue Burgess, curator and trustee at Cuckfield Museum said the museum is touch with the descendants of railway engineer Joseph Flesher who built the line and who is buried in Cuckfield churchyard.
She added: “We at the m useum do feel very much involved with the proposed 175th anniversary celebrations and look forward to being part of them.”