Swanage Railway

21st May, 2015


Swanage Railway

21st May, 2015

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

The public is being enabled to enjoy evenings out in Corfe Castle and Swanage without the hassle of taking the car – thanks to a convenient May Bank Holiday week diesel train service operated by a team of dedicated volunteers.

Running from Saturday, 23 May, to Saturday, 30 May, 2015 (inclusive), the special evening train service uses a classic 1960s heritage diesel rail bus with picture windows offering fine views of the beautiful Purbeck countryside.

The special week-long service links Swanage with Harman's Cross and Corfe Castle.

And special discounted fares are available at £3.50 for an adult return, £2.00 for a child return (aged three to 15 inclusive) and just £10.00 for a family return (two adults and up to three children).

Swanage Railway Interim General Manager Matt Green said: "Our convenient May Bank Holiday week evening train service is an ideal way to travel between Swanage and Corfe Castle – especially if you are staying at one of the popular campsites near Herston Halt and Harman's Cross stations."

The special diesel rail bus service departs Swanage station at 6pm, 7.15pm, 8.15pm, 9.15pm and 10.15pm.

Departures from Corfe Castle station are at 6.30pm, 7.45pm, 8.45pm, 9.45pm and 10.35pm.

Matt Green explained: "With its picture windows – and views out through the front and the rear of the train – our 1960s heritage diesel rail bus offers a grandstand view of the beautiful Purbeck countryside in the evening.

"This service is provided for the benefit of the large numbers of visitors staying at camping and caravan sites between Swanage and Corfe Castle – enabling them to conveniently travel to pubs and restaurants, as well as other venues, in Corfe Castle and Swanage," he added.

New volunteers in many roles are always welcomed by the Swanage Railway with full training being given.

For an informal chat – and to find out more – contact volunteer co-ordinator Mike Whitwam on 01929 475212 or email '[email protected]'.

Rebuilt from nothing since 1976, the volunteer-led Swanage Railway carries more than 200,000 passengers a year on the six miles of relaid railway line between Norden 'park and ride', Corfe Castle, Harman's Cross, Herston Halt and Swanage.

The heritage railway contributes around £14 million to the Purbeck economy and profits from the running of train services and special events are ploughed back into the development and extension of the Swanage Railway and its facilities.

The Swanage Railway is run by some 500 regular volunteers – assisted by a team of more than 30 full-time staff – and the value of the Swanage Railway volunteers' work is some £2 million a year if they were paid.           

The Swanage Railway is contributing to the public transport system in the Isle of Purbeck thanks to the Norden ‘park and ride’ facility – located off the main A351 road from Wareham to Corfe Castle – as well as a discounted fares scheme for Purbeck residents.

British Rail controversially closed its ten mile branch line from Wareham to Swanage in January, 1972, and the six and a half miles of track from Swanage to near Furzebrook was torn up for scrap in just seven weeks during that summer.

It took determined and dedicated Swanage Railway volunteers 30 years to relay the tracks.

Swanage Railway train times and fares – as well as special event details – are available online at www.swanagerailway.co.uk or by calling 01929 425800.

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