THE RAILWAY TOURING COMPANY'S SWANAGE TO LONDON RAILTOUR
THE CAPITAL CHRISTMAS EXPRESS IS SCHEDULED TO BE HAULED BY 'BATTLE OF BRITAIN' CLASS BULLEID PACIFIC STEAM LOCOMOTIVE
NO. 34067 'TANGMERE'
ON SATURDAY 26th NOVEMBER 2011
News Item from Andrew P.M. Wright - dated 11th November 2011
Official photographer & press officer, Swanage Railway.
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The Railway Touring Company's 2011 Capital Christmas Express Swanage to London railtour will be hauled by
Battle of Britain Bulleid Pacific 34067 Tangmere.
Photo the Railway Touring Company
In a repeat of the historic railtour in November 2009, the Railway Touring Company's 2011
Capital Christmas Express Swanage to London railtour will be hauled by
Battle of Britain Bulleid Pacific 34067 Tangmere on Saturday 26th November 2011.
With the Southern Railway 'Battle of Britain' class Bulleid Pacific express steam locomotive No. 34067
'Tangmere' on the front, the Capital Christmas Express will leave Swanage at 8am on Saturday 26th November
2011 for its momentous five-hour journey to the Capital. Leaving prior to the start of the Swanage Railway's own scheduled
Saturday Blue Timtable, there will be no impact on service.
A photo report from on board the 2009 Capital Christmas Express can be found here.
Swanage Railway Operations Manager and driver Mel Cox at the controls of 'Tangmere' at London Waterloo on 28th November 2009
- the first steam train to run Swanage to London since 1966.
Photo copyright Andrew P.M. Wright
At the controls of the steam locomotive in November 2009 was the Swanage Railway Operations Manager and volunteer,
Mel Cox, who worked as a British Railways fireman
on the steam trains between Wareham, Corfe Castle and Swanage during the mid-1960s, and is now a familiar sight at the controls
of railtours to and from Swanage.
The last time that a steam train bound for London started its journey at Swanage's Victorian terminal station
was on Sunday 4 September 1966 - the last weekend of timetabled steam trains on the ten-mile branch line.
From the following day - Monday 5 September 1966 - British Rail replaced the steam trains, which had run since
May 1885 when the Purbeck branch opened, with diesel trains.
'Tangmere' at London Waterloo. Photo copyright Andrew P.M. Wright
During the late 1960s until the closure of the Swanage branch line in January 1972, Mel Cox drove the 'Hampshire'
class diesel-electric multiple units that operated the train service between Wareham, Corfe Castle and Swanage.
Mel said: "It was a great day - absolutely incredible. Driving a Bulleid Pacific steam locomotive out of Swanage
bound for London with 11 coaches in tow was terrific and something I never thought I would do when steam
came to an end in 1967.
"Running into London Waterloo was incredible and reminded me of the days when I worked into the station as a
young fireman based at Bournemouth during the mid-1960s. The locomotive performed brilliantly - it runs like a
finely oiled sewing machine," explained Mel, who works as a driver for West Coast Railways and is also the
Swanage Railway's operations manager.
Jimmy Hunt - former Swanage and Corfe Castle British Railways signalman - next to 'Tangmere' at London Waterloo.
Photo copyright Andrew P.M. Wright
On board the historic train as it ran into London was 80-year old Jimmy Hunt of Swanage. Now retired, he joined
British Railways at Swanage as a porter in 1949 after returning to his home town after completing his National Service.
Flashback to Swanage in 1966 and Jimmy Hunt on duty in the station signal box demolished in late 1967.
Photo Chris Phillips.
Jimmy worked his way up to being a £7 a week signalman on the branch line, operating the signal boxes at
Corfe Castle and Swanage before leaving British Rail in March 1967 during the run-down of the 10-mile branch line from Wareham.
Jimmy explained: "I was probably on duty in Swanage signal box when the last steam train ran up to London's
Waterloo station on Sunday 4 September 1966, the last day of the summer service.
'Tangmere' prepares to depart Swanage for London Waterloo. Photo copyright Andrew P.M. Wright
"It was great to again take a steam train from Swanage to London after more than 40 years - it brought back so
many memories of the people that I used to work with on the railway, some of which I still keep in touch with to this day.
"British Rail should never have closed the branch line to Swanage and its rundown with loyal staff being made
redundant during the mid to late 1960s was very sad. It was terrible.
"When the tracks were ripped up in the summer of 1972, I never thought the branch line could or would be rebuilt.
It just seemed such a huge and impossible task - I didn't think a group of volunteers could do it but they
have and that it's a tremendous achievement. They should be very proud indeed."
Organised by the Railway Touring Company based at King's Lynn in Norfolk, the 11-coach Capital Christmas Express
train left London's Waterloo station at 5.15pm for its historic five-hour journey back to Swanage in the dark.
The special train runs through Corfe Castle bound for London. Photo copyright Andrew P.M. Wright
The steam locomotive hauling the historic train - 'Battle of Britain' class Bulleid Pacific steam locomotive
No. 34067 'Tangmere' - was built for the Southern Railway at Brighton during 1947 and ran almost
700,000 miles during its career with British Railways before being withdrawn in 1963.
It was rescued from the Barry scrapyard in south Wales in 1981 with its long restoration to full
working order being complete by 2003.
The Railway Touring Company says:
Is there a better way to travel from Dorset to London than in comfortable 50-year old railway carriages
hauled by a steam locomotive? This outing by special train revisits the former 'glory days' of rail travel
and takes you to the capital to enjoy the myriad attractions on offer - and do some Christmas shopping, too!
The train will be hauled by the remarkable Battle of Britain class steam locomotive No. 34067 Tangmere, all
the way from Swanage to London and back.
Our day out begins with an early departure from Swanage at around 08:00. We travel along the Swanage Railway
and join the main line from Weymouth to London at Worgret Junction. We stop at Poole and Bournemouth to pick
up more passengers. We should enjoy a fast run with our steam locomotive through the New Forest to Southampton,
where we stop to pick up further passengers. We make a final stop to pick up passengers at Eastleigh.
We travel northwards through Winchester and join the South Western Main Line from Exeter at Worting Junction.
At Basingstoke we take the Reading line and pass through Mortimer and Bramley. We expect to have a fast run
along the Great Western Main Line from Reading, through Maidenhead and Slough, to London Waterloo.
There will be well over four hours in London and with just a few weeks to go before Christmas the capital
will be in true festive mood. High on the list of places to visit may be Trafalgar Square to see the highly
decorated Christmas tree, or perhaps Hamley's famous toy shop, Madame Tussauds, the Tower of London, Covent
Garden, the London Eye, or the Oxford Street stores for Christmas shopping. There will be something of interest
for everyone that will make the Capital Christmas visit a very enjoyable experience and a memorable occasion.
Our train leaves Waterloo Station at 17:30, steam hauled by Tangmere, for the journey to Swanage.
We stop at the same stations as on the outward journey, to set down passengers. During the journey,
we expect to meet up with Santa and his Elves, so presents will be handed out to all children on
board our train! Please let us know your child's age when booking.
Train Timings (Approximate timings shown)
Station Outward Return
Swanage 08:00 21:55
Poole 08:50 21:10
Bournemouth 09:10 20:45
Southampton 09:40 20:10
Eastleigh 09:55 19:40
London Waterloo 12:45 17:30
Fares Adult Junior Family
Premier £179 £112 £525
First £115 £55 £285
Standard £79 £39 £200
Premier Dining includes full English breakfast, light lunch and four course dinner silver served at your seat
First Class includes morning coffee and Danish pastries and tea and biscuits in the afternoon
Standard Class includes a reserved seat at a table for four
A buffet car is available and serves tea, coffee, snacks and light refreshments. Tables for two can be guaranteed in first class and premier dining for a supplement of £18 per person. (subject to availability)
Further information on the Railway Touring Company's
can be found
All photographs are copyright Andrew P.M. Wright unless otherwise noted.
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