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Hazel completes Brighton Belle
It was the most luxurious way to travel and the favoured way for Sir Laurence Olivier to head to the capital.
Now a project to restore the Brighton Belle to her former glory has acquired the final piece of the puzzle.
Hazel, the first class carriage where Sir Olivier would have dined on his beloved kippers, is the fifth and final carriage to be purchased by Brighton-based restoration group 5Bel Trust.
The team of enthusiasts and engineers have been working since 2009 to bring home the famous electric Pullman, which ran from London to Brighton for nearly 40 years.
Since the train left service in 1972 it had been bought and moved to Yorkshire where it was converted into a restaurant.
It was rumoured Prince Charles dined in the carriage restaurant twice a year while hunting for grouse, but in recent years it had fallen into disrepair.
But having bought the carriage, it still needed to be transported to the group’s workshop in Derbyshire.
Two huge cranes were used to lift the car off its permanent tracks, while great care was taken not to damage the adjoining building.
The acquisition means the group now has the two first class – Hazel will be reunited with sister Doris – and three third class carriages it set out to couple with the locomotives.
It is hoped the Brighton Belle will be back running between Brighton and London in 2014.
But the charity needs to raise £300,000 to get Hazel back to her glory days.
Neil Marshall, from the 5Bel Trust, said: “Getting Hazel has been very arduous.
“From a rail heritage standpoint, this is a hugely important step.
“Everybody is interested in steam trains so the preservation of electric trains in the country is terrible.
“We are trying to raise the profile of electric trains.
“The Brighton belle pretty much epitomises Brighton with its style and substance. It was also a pretty fast train.
“We want to cement it again in the public’s mind.”
To donate to the restoration fund visit brightonbelle.com
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