Swanage Railway

3rd April, 2014


Swanage Railway

3rd April, 2014

Story by Andrew P.M. Wright.
Swanage Railway official photographer and press officer.
Photographs by Mark V. Pike and Andrew P.M. Wright.

History will be made at this year's Swanage Railway Diesel Gala and Dorset Beer Festival when a 1960s British Railways Class 35 'Hymek' locomotive hauls trains on the award-winning Purbeck heritage line for the first time.

And in an exciting 'Go West' preview the day before the start of the popular annual three-day event, diesel-hauled trains on British Rail's former Western Region will also be re-created.

Now in its tenth year, the Diesel Gala and Dorset Beer Festival runs from Friday, 8 May, to Sunday, 10 May, 2015, with the popular event's preview day taking place on Thursday, 7 May, 2015.

The 1960s to the 1980s 'Go West' preview day will see 1962 Manchester-built Class 35 'Hymek' No. D7076 in British Rail blue with yellow ends, Class 45 No. 45 060 'Sherwood Forrester’ and Class 50 No. 50 035 'Ark Royal' operating alongside steam-hauled trains.

The Class 35 'Hymek' diesel locomotives hauled inter-regional passenger trains from the midlands and the north to Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth during the 1960s and early 1970s.

This year's 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.

Subject to availability, the visiting diesel locomotives will be Class 25 No. D5185, Class 35 'Hymek' No. D7076, Class 37 No. 37 057, Class 45 No. 45 060 'Sherwood Forrester', Class 50 - No. 50 035 'Ark Royal', Class 56 - No. 56 006 and a Class 66, number to be confirmed, courtesy of GB Railfreight.

The Swanage Railway's British Rail blue Southern Region Class 33 diesel locomotives also will be appearing – No. 33 111 and No. 33 201 – will also be appearing, subject to availability.The Beer Festival takes place at Corfe Castle station where Swanage Railway ales 'Old Pusher’, 'Regulator' and new brew 'Swanage Pride' will be on sale.

Other attractions include the Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum next to Norden station on the Saturday and Sunday, the goods shed museum, exhibition and cinema coach at Corfe Castle station as well as trade and enthusiast stands at Corfe Castle and Swanage stations.

'Beerex' and Wessex Belle 'Bistro’ dining train services will also be operating on the Friday and Saturday evenings. Advance booking for the Bistro trains is essential. On the Friday evening, No. 37057 will be hauling the 'Beerex' train with No. 45060 working the Wessex Belle 'Bistro' while on the Saturday evening No. D5185 and No. 33 201 will haul the 'Beerex' while No. 50 035 will be working the Wessex Belle 'Bistro'.

Driver Experience courses for the public will be operating on Saturday and Sunday, 16 and 17 May, 2015, using Class 25 No. D5185 for £200 per participant with details from the Swanage Railway website.

Freedom of the Line all-day travel fares on the Thursday 'Go West' preview day will be £12.50 for adults, £7.50 for children and £35 for families (two adults and up to three children aged three to 15 inclusive).

Diesel Gala Adult Rover fares for unlimited travel are £25 for one day, £38 for two days and £46 for three days. Discounted fares are also available for children.

Adult Rover fares for 'Priv' card holders and CAMRA members are £18 for one day, £28 for two days and £36 for three days. Standard single and return fares are also available.

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

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