Swanage Railway

16th December, 2015


Swanage Railway

16th December, 2015

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

Classic steam and diesel locomotives – together with a nostalgic freight train – will be running through the Isle of Purbeck countryside thanks to a special 'Winter Warm Up' mini-gala day being staged as the perfect way to blow out the Christmas cobwebs.

The stars will be two Victorian-designed steam locomotives – one of which survived an attack by the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain during 1940 – as well as two British Railways diesel locomotives designed in the late 1950s.

The 'Winter Warm Up' bursts into life between Swanage, Herston Halt, Harman's Cross, Corfe Castle and Norden on Monday, 28 December, 2015, with trains running every 40 minutes between 10am and 5.20pm.

Subject to availability, the featured 'Winter Warm Up' steam locomotives hauling the passenger trains will be Victorian-built T9 class express locomotive No. 30120 from 1899 and Victorian-designed London and South Western Railway M7 tank No. 30053 built at Nine Elms in London in 1905.

Belonging to the National Railway Museum based in York as part of the National Collection, No. 30120 is the only surviving T9 locomotive in the world.

More than 70 years ago, No. 30120 was hauling a freight train from Brockenhurst to Dorchester when it was attacked at Wool station, near Wareham, by two Messerschmitt Me109 fighters during the lunchtime of Saturday, 28 November, 1942.

Also designed by Dugald Drummond for the London and South Western Railway, M7 No. 30053 hauled passenger trains for British Railways between Wareham, Corfe Castle and Swanage – as well as between Poole, Broadstone, Wimborne, West Moors, Ringwood and Brockenhurst – from late 1963 through to May, 1964, when it was withdrawn.

Swanage Railway General Manager Matt Green said: "The public will be able to enjoy the nostalgic delights of classic steam and diesel locomotives – and an evocative freight train from yesteryear – against the beautiful backdrop of the Purbeck countryside and the dramatic ruins of Corfe Castle.

"It really is the perfect way to blow away the Christmas Day and Boxing Day cobwebs – and escape the repeats on television or cold Turkey – by visiting the Isle of Purbeck for a really enjoyable, nostalgic and evocative day out.

"Visitors will be able to enjoy watching our steam and diesel locomotives working hard on our demonstration freight train – recalling years past when the railways were the backbone of our transport network, especially during the winter," he added.

Subject to availability, the two main line diesel locomotives in operation will be former British Railways Southern Region Class 33 No. 33 111 in its 1970s BR blue livery as well as fellow Class 33 No. 33 201.

No. 33 111 made history in September, 1971, when it hauled the last 'push-pull' train from Bournemouth to Corfe Castle and Swanage – three months before the branch line was controversially closed and demolished – while No. D6515 hauled London to Swanage trains during the mid-1960s.

Matt Green explained: "Our 'Winter Warm Up' event offers something a special to the public between Christmas and the New Year when many people are on holiday with their families and wanting to enjoy a day out with a difference in the Isle of Purbeck.

"Our Victorian T9 and M7 steam locomotives – as well as our two classic early 1960s Southern Region Class 33 diesel-electric locomotives – will be working an intensive timetable of trains throughout the day," he added.

The railway shop at Swanage station will be open while hot drinks and snacks will be available at the buffet coach on Swanage station.

The goods shed museum and exhibition coach at Corfe Castle station will also be open.

Go anywhere Day Rover tickets for the 'Winter Warm Up' event are just £15 for adults and £10 for children giving unlimited travel on the day of issue – meaning that visitors can go where they like, when they like.

Day return tickets offering a round trip on the Swanage Railway are also available.

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

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