Swanage Railway Swanage Railway Swanage Railway


Published: February 3, 2016

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

Dedicated Swanage Railway volunteers are celebrating their rebuilt heritage line through the Isle of Purbeck carrying a record-breaking 217,080 passengers during 2015 – more than the combined populations of Bournemouth, Wimborne and Bridport.

By the end of 2015, more than 2,400 Swanage Railway steam and diesel-hauled passenger trains had run a total of more than 28,000 miles which is further than travelling around the entire circumference of the Earth.

A registered charity, the Swanage Railway Trust plans and develops the Swanage Railway with the Trust's trading subsidiary – the Swanage Railway Company – running the train service and special events across the year.

All profits from running the steam and diesel trains – as well as related commercial activity – are ploughed back into the Swanage Railway for its development and continuous improvement.

Swanage Railway Company chairman and Swanage Railway volunteer Trevor Parsons said: "Carrying 217,080 passengers during 2015 represents a lot of hard work by the people who run the trains, staff the stations and maintain the line and infrastructure required to keep trains running – day in and day out – for the pleasure of the public.

"Our volunteers and small team of paid staff have worked very hard throughout 2015 to produce such a fantastic result. Everyone is elated".

"While very enjoyable and fulfilling, it takes a great deal of enthusiasm and commitment on the part of many people to run our steam and diesel train services throughout the year.

"I would like to say a very big thank you to everyone whose hard work has resulted in these very gratifying passenger figures for 2015. We're looking forward to an even better 2016," added Mr Parsons who is also a volunteer train guard and signalman on the Purbeck heritage line.

Swanage Railway general manager Matt Green explained: "The Swanage Railway carrying a record-breaking total of 217,080 passengers during 2015 has been a truly amazing performance bearing in mind the wet weather during the summer.

"Last year's passenger total demonstrates the appeal of travelling by steam train on one of Britain's most idyllic heritage railways through the beautiful Purbeck countryside from a castle to the coast," added Mr Green.

In 2014, the Swanage Railway carried a total of 216,267 passengers.

Many Swanage Railway passengers left their vehicles in Purbeck District Council's car park next to Norden station – off the main A351 road from Wareham – and rode on heritage steam and diesel trains to Corfe Castle, Harman's Cross, Herston and Swanage.

Matt Green said: "Having been rebuilt from nothing since 1976, after being controversially closed and demolished by British Rail in 1972, the Swanage Railway contributes some £14 million to the Purbeck economy every year.

"The Swanage Railway is far more than just a trip on a heritage train behind an historic steam locomotive – it’s the best car-free way of visiting Corfe Castle, Harman's Cross and Swanage while having a really good day out.

“We are always looking for more volunteers to join in our continued success and have a great time while also helping to run a unique and friendly heritage railway set in beautiful Purbeck countryside," he added.

For an informal chat – and to find out more – potential Swanage Railway volunteers should contact Swanage Railway volunteer co-ordinator Mike Whitwam on 01929 475212 or email  [email protected]

In 2014, the Swanage Railway carried a total of 216,267 passengers.

Swanage Railway train times – and special event details – are available online at www.swanagerailway.co.uk or by telephone on 01929 425800.