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Swanage Railway

INFORMATION FOR THE VISITOR

RCD’s Overview

This is one of the UK’s premier heritage lines. Along with just 12 railways, it gets our very top rating.

This railway run from the seaside resort town of Swanage through the Isle of Purbeck to Corfe Castle and Norden. Established back in the 1970’s, this is one of the UK’s most established heritage railways, with a year-round operation of services, and a large collection of steam locomotives ranging from former top line express locomotives, to branch line tank engines. It is one of the most authentic heritage railways, its collection comprising locomotives associated with the London and South Western Railway and Southern Railways. The area around Swanage and the Isle of Purbeck is particularly attractive and visitors to the area should ensure they visit this popular heritage railway. 

 

Key Facts (where and when)

Extent of Railway (where to where):

Swanage and Norden Park & Ride

Principal Visitor Centre:

Swanage Station

Period of Operation*

- February to March (weekends)

- April to October (Daily)

- Late November and December (Special event trains)

 [* This is a summary. Please go to the railway’s website for definitive operating days] 

 

Key Facts (what you’ll see)

Services usually steam or diesel?

Usually steam. On occasional days, diesels also run

Type of Steam / Diesel Locomotives Used:

Full range of steam and diesel locos (large, mid and small-sized)

Length of Line:

5.5 miles Swanage to Norden

Time taken for a round trip:

1 hour

Number of trains per day:

5 in each direction

Number of Stations:

5 stations

Prices:

Adult: £18 (Rover: £25). Child; £9 (Rover: £12.50). Family: £49.50 (Rover: £70)

Time to allow for Visit:

2 to 3 hours

Museum:

Yes, at Corfe Castle station

Shop/Cafe:

Yes/Yes

Picnic/Play areas:

Yes

Preservation Established:

1972

Car Park Facilities:

Victoria Avenue car park (for Swanage) and Purbeck Park (for Norden)

 

Key Facts (Galas/Events/Dining)

Dining Trains:

- Afternoon Tea in the 'Devon Belle' Observation Car: April

- Christmas Luncheons: 26 Nov to 22 December 

Event Trains:

- Steam and Lights: December                                                                               

Principal Galas:

- Spring Steam Gala: March

- Diesel Gala: May

- Autumn Steam Gala: October 

Experiences:

- Taster Driver Experience                  

- Afternoon Tea in the 'Devon Belle' Pullman Observation Car

- Sea Train Adventure

 

Contacts

Email:                                                                 info@swanagerailway.co.uk

Telephone:                                                          01929 425800

Website:                                                              www.swanagerailway.co.uk

Social Media:                                                      www.facebook.com/swanagerailway

                                                                             Also on Twitter/ Instagram/ YouTube


INFORMATION FOR THE ENTHUSIAST

Brief History of the Railway and its Preservation  

The Swanage Railway was a 10-mile branch line connecting Swanage to the London to Dorchester main line at Wareham. It was built primarily with consideration of the extensive quarrying and clay activities around the area, namely the Isle of Purbeck. Opened in 1885, it was soon taken over by the London and South Western Railway. It was particularly popular in the 1950’s and 1960’s with holiday traffic, and had regular through carriages to London Waterloo. However, passenger numbers later declined and the line was closed controversially by British Rail in 1972, although a small residual stub at its Wareham end remained open for handling mineral and later oil traffic. In 1972 a railway society was formed intending to purchasing the line and re-instating commercial all-year operation of the branch, together with steam operations over the summer months. These plans were later revised to operating solely a heritage railway. Preservation was delayed whilst local government plans were being formulated for a by-pass around Corfe Castle which would have utilised the railway formation. That road was never built, and the railway reopened in stages from 1979, reaching Norden Park & Ride in 1995. The rail connection with Network Rail near Wareham was re-instated in 2007 with the intention of running some through services between Swanage and Wareham. This however remains an aspiration whilst technical issues relating to the operation over the Network Rail line are resolved.

 

Principal Aspiration

The re-establishment of a daily service between Swanage and Wareham to connect with main line trains

 

Steam Operational Locomotives:

(1) SR 4-6-2 Battle of Britain Class - No. 34072 ‘257 Squadron’

(2) LSWR 4-4-0 T9 Class - No.30120

(3) LSWR Adams T3 - No. 563

(4) LSWR 0-4-4T Class M7 - No. 30053

(5)  SR 4-6-2 Battle of Britain Class - No. 34070 ‘Manston’

(6) SR 4-6-2 West Country Class - No. 34028 ‘Eddystone’

 

Diesel Operational Locomotives/DMU:

(1) BR Class 08 - No. 08436

(2) BR Class 08 – D3591

(3) BR Class 33 - No. 33012 (D6515)

(4) BR Class 33 - No. 33111

(5) Heritage DMU Class 121 Bubble Car - W55028

 

Steam Locomotives Under Overhaul:

(1) SR 2-6-0 - U Class - No. 31806

(2) SR 2-6-0 N Class - No. 31874

 

INFORMATION ON THE SUPPORT GROUP

Name of Support Group:

Swanage Railway Trust

Annual membership fee:

Adult: £26. Junior: £15. Family: £52. Life £1,000

Own Website:

www.swanagerailwaytrust.org

Email:

info@swanagerailwaytrust.org.uk

 

Benefits of membership:                                  

-          Discounted or free train rides (number and price varies by membership type)

-          Discount (10%) on most items sold in the railway shop

-          Regular editions of the ‘Swanage Railway Magazine’

                 

How to Join:                                                Go to www.swanagerailwaytrust.org/membership

 

What They Say About Volunteering:

We would not be able to run the Swanage Railway without our fantastic team of over 400 volunteers, who are responsible for everything from running trains, keeping our stations looking great to selling tickets & refreshments and much more. You might be retired and are looking for ways to stay active and meet new people, or perhaps you’re still in work but want to gain new skills and try something different to the day job. Either way volunteering with us is a great way to contribute to the community and to become involved in something rewarding, social and worthwhile. We have a wide range of positions available so a simple smile and a positive attitude is usually a great start.

 

How to Volunteer:                      Go to www.swanagerailway.co.uk/vacancies

See also www.swanagerailwaytrust.org/volunteering

 

How to Donate:                                Go to www.swanagerailwaytrust.org/giving

 

WHY JOIN:  Help the railway maintain its substantial collections and the possible re-establishment of services between Swanage and Wareham.

 

INFORMATION ON OTHER SOCIETIES WITH RELATED INTEREST

Those interested in this railway may also be interested in the following railway societies also listed on this

website:

 

Traditional Railway Societies:

- South Western Circle

- Southern Railways Group

- Bournemouth Railway Club

- Wimborne Railway Society

 

Locomotive/ Engineering Societies:

- Southern Locomotives Limited

- Drummond Locomotives Ltd


Model Railway Clubs:

- Poole and District Model Railway Society

- Central Southern Gauge O Group

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