Swanage Railway Swanage Railway Swanage Railway


Published: June 12, 2015

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


Passengers can only travel by train between Swanage and Corfe Castle on Friday, 12 June, 2015 – and not half a mile further on to Norden station – after a redundant over-bridge was  struck by a mechanical excavator early the previous morning.

No trains were running on the Swanage Railway when the incident happened on the southern approach to Norden station and the line was in the possession of the permanent way department for regular maintenance work.

It is hoped that Norden station – off the A351 Wareham to Corfe Castle road and next to Purbeck District Council's park and ride car park – will re-open for the first train from Swanage and Corfe Castle on the morning of Saturday, 13 June, 2015.

But, trains are still running on the five miles of heritage line between Swanage, Harman's Cross and Corfe Castle stations.

The incident in which the top of a rail-borne mechanical excavator collided with the metal girders of a redundant former narrow gauge clay tramway bridge across the Swanage Railway happened at 6.15am on Thursday, 11 June, 2015.

The male operator of the Swanage Railway excavator, a man from Swanage aged in his mid-50s, was shocked but not injured in the incident.

But, the metal girders of the late Victorian wrought iron bridge – and an underground power cable that ran along the side of the redundant bridge in protective ducting – were damaged.

The accident cut off electrical power to the nearby Norden Farm and no other properties were affected.

A generator was brought in by the Scottish and Southern Energy company (SSE) to supply the farm with power until the normal electricity supply was resumed just before 12 noon on Thursday,11 June, 2015.

No Swanage Railway trains ran to Norden station on the day of the incident while the damaged power cable was made safe by engineers from Scottish and Southern Energy  (SSE) and the redundant bridge was examined.

Norden station will be closed for a second day on Friday, 12 June, 2015, while the damaged underground power cable is replaced and diverted away from the bridge via a new trench under the railway track.

The damaged bridge will also be inspected by a qualified engineer and made safe so that trains can once again pass under it.

Thursday's incident is being investigated by senior Swanage Railway management.

Swanage Railway General Manager Matt Green said: "Norden station was closed because the safety of the public and our staff is always our priority.

"The Swanage Railway would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused to Norden Farm and to our passengers – and I would like to thank them for their patience and understanding.

"The incident was dealt with swiftly, calmly and professionally by our staff. I would like to thank them as well as the engineers from Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) for their help and assistance.

"Thankfully, the driver of the rail-borne mechanical excavator was not injured and our public train service still operated along the five miles of line between Swanage, Harman's Cross and Corfe Castle.

"I would advise our passengers to check the Swanage Railway website – or social media – prior to travelling for the latest updates.

"We are hopeful that Norden station will re-open for the first train on the morning of Saturday, 13 June, 2015," added Mr Green.

Latest travel information can be found on the home page of the Swanage Railway website at www.swanagerailway.co.uk. The public is also being kept informed via social media – Facebook and Twitter.

Information signs have been placed at Swanage Railway stations with staff being deployed to advise the travelling public at Norden, Corfe Castle and Swanage stations.

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