Two men who helped put Brighton on track to becoming a tourist haven have been honoured.

Family members joined local dignitaries and railway enthusiasts to pay tribute to architect David Mocatta and railway signalling engineer John Saxby as blue plaques were put up for them.

The plaques honouring the railway pioneers were unveiled at a ceremony organised by Southern Rail at Brighton station yesterday.

David Mocatta (1806-1882) was the architect who shaped the London and Brighton railway with his designs for Haywards Heath, Three Bridges and Hassocks stations, the Balcombe Viaduct and the Mocatta building at Brighton station.

He is also famed for Jewish buildings like the mausoleum of Sir Moses Montefiore and the first Reform Judaism synagogue in London.

John Saxby is credited with designing the interlocking signalling system.

He worked for the London, Brighton and South Coast railway before setting up his own business at Haywards Heath in 1856 making signalling equipment.

Members of the Saxby and Mocatta families were joined by the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Denise Cobb and representatives of the City of Brighton and Hove Commemorative Plaque Panel, the Railway Heritage Trust, Southern and local history and railway societies.

Funding for the plaques came from Brighton and Hove City Council, Southern and the Brighton and Hove Hebrew Congregation.

Michael Mocatto, whose great, great, great grandfather was first cousin to David Mocatta, attended the unveiling with his father and three children.

He said: “It's lovely for our family to see a forebear acknowledged for his wonderful work. It was a tremendously emotional moment for us.

“I was always aware that we had a great architect in the family and I had been to Brighton many times before but it was only recently that the Railway Heritage Trust contacted me about the link.

“My brother is a product designer for Intel and I do product development for Virgin Media so I guess an inquisitiveness, curiosity and desire to take ideas from paper and make them a reality have passed down the family tree.”

Averil Older, of Brighton’s Commemorative Plaque Panel, said: “Both men contributed greatly to the success of Brighton as a holiday resort.

“The trains bringing visitors to our city are a testament to their efforts.”

Beth Holbrook, station manager, said: “They left such a strong legacy for the railway industry it seems fitting that both plaques are on public display.”