Published: November 21, 2016
Story and Photographs by Andrew P.M. Wright Swanage Railway official photographer and press officer
Dedicated Swanage Railway volunteers are inviting the public to travel back in time by steam train to an evocative Victorian Christmas carol concert in the goods shed museum at Corfe Castle station.
And passengers are being encouraged to attend in Victorian costume.
The special event takes place on the evening of Friday, 9 December, 2016, and features the Swanage Town Band as well as the popular Harmony Rocks ladies' choir which is based in the Isle of Purbeck.
The public can only attend the evening of festive Christmas music and song by steam train from Swanage.
There will be an hour of carol singing in the goods shed at Corfe Castle station and later at Swanage station on the steam train's return – with carol sheets being provided so passengers can sing along.
A large gazebo is being installed in front of Corfe Castle station's goods shed museum to protect the public in case of wet weather during the concert.
Hauled by Victorian-designed London and South Western Railway M7 class tank locomotive No. 30053, built in London during 1905, the special train –with reserved seating – departs Swanage station at 7pm for the two-hour festive event.
Mulled wine will be on sale when the festively decorated Christmas carol steam train calls at Corfe Castle station while passengers receive a complimentary festive drink and mince pie.
Passengers will be welcomed at Swanage station from 6.15pm by Swanage Town Crier Andrew Fleming to the accompaniment of festive songs performed on the platform by the Swanage School Choir led by Leah Howell.
A refreshment trolley selling soft drinks, beers, lager and wines will be available at Swanage and Corfe Castle stations while mulled wine will also be on sale at Corfe Castle station.
Featuring ladies from east Purbeck – including the village of Harman's Cross and the town of Swanage – the popular Harmony Rocks choir meets at the Harman's Cross village hall on Wednesday afternoons.
Swanage Railway General Manager Matt Green said: "This year's Victorian Christmas carol event will be an exciting one because it's the first time that we will be using the restored Victorian goods shed at Corfe Castle station which houses the Swanage Railway's museum.
"The interior of the goods shed is being specially lit for the occasion with the Swanage Town Band playing from the museum's extensive balcony while the Harmony Rocks Choir will be singing in front of Victorian narrow gauge steam locomotive 'Secundus' that hauled ball clay trains in Purbeck up to 1955.
"It will be a memorable, evocative and enjoyable because Corfe Castle's restored Victorian station with its goods shed have a very special atmosphere – especially at night.
"Our annual festive Christmas carol train is a memorable event and the perfect start to December's Christmas preparations.
"I would like to thank the dedicated team of volunteers that has organised the Christmas carol train for their months of hard work and attention to detail for what will be a very special, evocative and enjoyable evening," he added.
The Swanage Railway welcomes new volunteers – for an informal chat, contact Swanage Railway volunteer co-ordinator Mike Whitwam on 01929 475212 or email '[email protected]'.
Tickets for the Victorian Christmas Carol train are £15.00 for adults, £8.50 for children aged five to 15 (inclusive) and children under the age of five free. Family tickets are £40.00 for two adults and up to three children.
To buy tickets for the Christmas carol steam train, visit www. swanagerailway.co.uk/events or call 01929 475203. Seating is reserved.