TWO of the South's most popular heritage railways are to be connected by steam train for the first time.

Passengers are invited to wine and dine on the Cathedral Express as it runs a one-off journey from the Watercress Line to the Bluebell Line in Sussex on October 2.

The journey will start at 7am at Alresford, picking up passengers on the mainline at Alton, Farnham and Aldershot.

It will continue on to East Grinstead, West Sussex, where a newly-opened connection will join the mainline railway to the Bluebell Line for the first time.

Prices start at £99. A premium £239 ticket covers a two-course champagne brunch on the outward journey and a five-course dinner on the return leg.

The train will be powered by steam train 70000 Britannia, which was built in 1951 and withdrawn in 1966.

Marcus Robertson, chairman of Cathedral Express operator Steam Dreams, said: “We are very excited to be offering passengers the chance to travel directly between these two beautiful heritage railways for the first time.

"With the chance to also enjoy a champagne breakfast on the way down and a four or five course meal on the return journey, it promises to be a fantastic day out.”