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CLASSIC PROTOTYPE 1970s HIGH SPEED TRAIN POWER CAR TO STAR IN THE ANNUAL DIESEL GALA & DORSET BEER FESTIVAL

Published: May 4, 2014

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

A classic prototype early 1970s Inter-City 125 high speed train power car is to star in the Swanage Railway's annual three-day Diesel Gala and associated Dorset Beer Festival.

The historic railway relic from 43 years ago was in the first convoy of diesel locomotives that arrived on the Purbeck line at teatime on Friday, 2 May, 2014, ahead of the popular event.

As well as the prototype high speed train power car, the convoy included Class 55 'Deltic' No. 55 002 'The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry',  Class 37 No. D 6700 and Class 47 No. 47 292 – the Deltic and the Class 37 appearing courtesy of National Railway Museum.

Subject to availability, nine main line heritage diesel locomotives from the 1960s will be taking part in the popular event – including six locomotives from various parts of the country, two of them from the National Railway Museum in York.

Now in its ninth year, the diesel gala and beer festival takes to the rails in the Isle of Purbeck from Friday, 9 May, to Sunday, 11 May, 2014, inclusive.

Dating from June, 1972 – the month the Swanage Railway Society was formed ahead of tracklifting operations starting between Swanage and Furzebrook – high speed train power car No. 41 001, owned by the National Railway Museum, will be on display at Corfe Castle station for cab visits, courtesy of Project Miller.

The diesel gala's associated Dorset Beer Festival takes place at the Bankes Arms pub in Corfe Castle which overlooks the village square and is off the approach road to Corfe Castle station.  Organised by the Bankes Arms, the beer festival will feature a wide variety of local beers and ciders.

Subject to availability, the final line up for the Diesel Gala is.


Class 24 – No. D 5081
Class 33 – No. D 6515, No. 33202 and No. 33111
Class 37 – No. D 6700 courtesy of National Railway Museum
Class 47 – No. 47 292
Class 50 – No. 50 026 'Indomitable'
Class 50 – No. 50 031 'Hood' courtesy of The Fifty Fund
Class 55 'Deltic' – No. 55 002 'The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry' courtesy of National Railway Museum

There will also be a additional surprise visiting diesel locomotive courtesy of GB Railfreight. 

Class 50 No. 50026 'Indomitable' will also be on display at Corfe Castle during the three-day event and available for cab visits.

Swanage Railway General Manager Richard Jones said: "Due to popular demand, Glastonbury Ales will be producing a re-run of its 'Old Pusher' ale which, like last year, will be available during the Gala, alongside 'Regulator' and new brew 'Sea Cider' cider. 

"I would like to thank all the volunteers who have been involved in the detailed planning and preparation for this year's diesel gala and beer festival because it is set to be another cracking event with something of interest to everyone," he added.

The diesel gala will see an intensive three-train service operate between Norden Park & Ride, Corfe Castle, Harman's Cross and Swanage from 8am to 12 midnight on the Friday and Saturday – and from 8am to 7pm on the Sunday.

The diesel gala's Friday and Saturday evenings will see a 'Beerex' service and 'Wessex Belle' bistro dining train operate. Advance booking on the 'Wessex Belle' is highly recommended.

Diesel locomotives for the 'Beerex' trains will be Class 37 D6700 and Class 50 50031 'Hood' on the Friday and Class 24 D5081 and Class 33 202 on the Saturday while the 'Wessex Belle' bistro trains will be hauled by Class 33 D6515 on the Friday and Class 50 50026 'Indomitable' on the Saturday. 

This year's diesel gala supported charity is the RNLI's £200,000 Swanage lifeboat station appeal – which is raising funds for a new lifeboat station for the seaside town – and a Class D lifeboat will be on display at Corfe Castle station on the Saturday of the diesel gala.

Diesel Gala adult rover tickets are £24 for a one-day rover, £36 for two days and £44 for all three days. There is also a range of discounted fares for children, 'Priv' card holders and CAMRA members at £17 for a one-day rover, £26 for two days and £33 for all three days.