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TASTE OF SCOTLAND COMES TO PURBECK AS HISTORIC STEAM LOCOMOTIVE MAKES ITS FURTHEST TRIP SOUTH FOR ‘SPRING STEAM UP’

Published: March 4, 2019

Story and Photographs by Andrew P.M. Wright                                                                                         Swanage Railway official photographer and press officer

A charming and historic Edwardian steam locomotive from Scotland is to make its furthest trip south to star in the Swanage Railway’s ‘Spring Steam Up’ event.

Resplendent in its distinctive Edwardian sky blue livery, Caledonian Railway 439 class tank No. 419 will be hauling trains between Swanage, Harman’s Cross, Corfe Castle and Norden between Friday, 29 March, and Sunday, 31 March, 2019, inclusive.

And a long-scrapped Scottish-based steam locomotive will also be re-created and remembered for the three-day event which will see the iconic and world famous ‘Flying Scotsman’ steam locomotive on display at Corfe Castle station.

Swanage Railway-based 1955 Brighton-built British Railways Standard Class 4 tank No. 80104 will be renumbered No. 80126 in honour of its long-scrapped sister which operated in Scotland and was also built at Brighton in 1955.

That transformation will include the locomotive being given a Scottish ‘blue’ smokebox door number plate as well as blue numbers on the sides of its coal bunker.

The ‘Spring Steam Up’ event will also see nostalgic freight trains run on the Swanage Railway between some of the passenger trains.

Built in Glasgow during 1907 for hauling branch line and suburban trains, Scottish Caledonian Railway tank No. 419 will be joined by Victorian London and South Western Railway T9 class steam locomotive No. 30120.

Late 1920s Southern Railway U class steam locomotive No. 31806 will be operating on the Friday of the event with 1960s British Railways Sulzer-engined Class 33 diesel locomotive No. 33 111 operating on the Saturday and Sunday of the event.

Swanage Railway Company business division director Mick Gould said: “Our ‘Spring Steam Up’ event will be bringing an interesting Scottish flavour to the Swanage Railway thanks to the Caledonian Railway tank No. 419 which is a charming locomotive.

“It will be interesting to see the John Macintosh-designed No. 419 operate with the temporary re-creation of the Scottish-based Standard Class 4 tank No. 80126 which was based in Perth – giving an evocative taste of railways north of the border from the 1900s through to the 1960s.

“We are very grateful to the Scottish Railway Preservation Society – based at the

Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway in West Lothian – for allowing its recently overhauled Caledonian Railway tank to travel down to the Isle of Purbeck – the furthest south that the historic locomotive has ever operated.

“The ‘Spring Steam Up’ event will see passenger trains operating alongside more traditional freight services, as well as our popular ‘Wessex Belle’ and ‘Dorsetman’ dining trains on the Saturday and Sunday evenings.

“With some trains being pulled by two steam locomotives and some unusual engine workings, our ‘Spring Steam Up’ is set to be a wonderful event bringing the best of Scotland to the South,” added Mr Gould who is a volunteer train guard and signalman on the Swanage Railway.

The 53-ton Caledonian Railway tank No. 419 was built by the Caledonian Railway Company at the St Rollox Works in Glasgow during 1907 to a design by John Macintosh for hauling trains on branch lines and suburban lines.

Following withdrawal from service by British Railways in the early 1960s, the 'Caley Tank' was one of the first locomotives to be acquired by the Scottish Railway Preservation Society and is the Society's proud emblem. 

Built at Brighton in 1955, the 88-ton British Railways Class 4 tank No. 80126 was based at Perth for many years before being withdrawn from service in November, 1966, and being cut up for scrap at Campbell’s of Airdrie in Scotland during January, 1967.

Courtesy of the National Railway Museum in York, the world famous and iconic No. 60103 ‘Flying Scotsman’ will be on display at Corfe Castle station – along with rare ‘Devon Belle’ Pullman observation carriage Car 14 – between Wednesday, 27 March, and Wednesday, 10 April, 2019.

Tickets to board No. 60103 and Car 14 at Corfe Castle station cost £7.50.

The Swanage Railway always welcomes new volunteers so, for a chat, contact Swanage Railway volunteer co-ordinator Mike Whitwam on 01929 475212 (answerphone) or email him at [email protected]