Published: December 24, 2016
Story and Photographs by Andrew P.M. Wright Swanage Railway official photographer and press officer
Classic steam and diesel locomotives – together with a nostalgic freight train – will be running through the Isle of Purbeck countryside thanks to a special 'Winter Warm Up' mini-gala day being staged as the perfect way to blow out the Christmas cobwebs.
The 'Winter Warm Up' bursts into life between Swanage, Herston Halt, Harman's Cross, Corfe Castle and Norden on Tuesday, 27 December, 2016.
Trains depart Norden every 40 minutes between 10.40am and 5.20pm while trains depart Swanage every 40 minutes between 10am and 4.40pm.
Subject to availability, the featured 'Winter Warm Up' steam locomotives hauling the passenger trains will be London and South Western Railway M7 tank No. 30053 and Southern Railway U-class locomotive No. 31806.
Rescued from the United States of America in the mid-1980s, No. 30053 was designed in 1897 and built at Nine Elms in London during 1905.
Designed by Dugald Drummond for the London and South Western Railway, M7 No. 30053 hauled passenger trains for British Railways between Wareham, Corfe Castle and Swanage – as well as between Poole, Broadstone, Wimborne, West Moors, Ringwood and Brockenhurst – from late 1963 through to May, 1964, when it was withdrawn.
Southern Railway U-class No. 31806 used to haul bucket and spade trains from Basingstoke and Eastleigh to Swanage during the 1950s.
Also subject to availability, the two diesel locomotives featured in the Winter Warm Up day will be ex-British Railways Class 33 diesel-electrics No. 33 111 and No. 33 012 – both in the classic British Rail late 1960s blue livery.
No. 33 111 made history in September, 1971, when it hauled the last 'push-pull' train from Bournemouth to Corfe Castle and Swanage – three months before the branch line was controversially closed and demolished – while No. D6515 hauled London to Swanage trains during the mid-1960s.
Swanage Railway General Manager Matt Green said: "The public will be able to enjoy the nostalgic delights of classic steam and diesel locomotives – and an evocative freight train from yesteryear – against the beautiful backdrop of the Purbeck countryside and the dramatic ruins of Corfe Castle.
"It really is the perfect way to blow away the Christmas Day and Boxing Day cobwebs – and escape the repeats on television or cold Turkey – by visiting the Isle of Purbeck for a really enjoyable, nostalgic and evocative day out.
"Visitors will be able to enjoy watching our steam and diesel locomotives working hard on our demonstration freight train – recalling years past when the railways were the backbone of our transport network, especially during the winter," he added.
The railway shop at Swanage station will be open while hot drinks and snacks will be available at the buffet coach on Swanage station and also the refreshment kiosk on the platform at Norden station.
The goods shed museum and exhibition coach at Corfe Castle station will also be open.
Go anywhere Day Rover tickets for the 'Winter Warm Up' event are just £15 for adults and £10 for children giving unlimited travel on the day of issue – meaning that visitors can go where they like, when they like.
Day return tickets offering a round trip on the Swanage Railway are also available.
Swanage Railway train times – and special event details – are available online at www.swanagerailway.co.uk or by telephone on 01929 425800.
The Swanage Railway always welcomes new volunteers so for an informal chat, contact Swanage Railway volunteer co-ordinator Mike Whitwam on 01929 475212 or email '[email protected]'.