• Andrew P.M. Wright

Nostalgic ‘Roads to Rail’ steam rally to take place next to Norden Station near Corfe Castle


Dedicated Swanage Railway volunteers are to stage a nostalgic fund-raising steam rally in a field next to Norden station near the village of Corfe Castle – bringing the Isle of Purbeck to life with evocative re-creations of a bygone age.

Featuring up to 20 traction engines, steam rollers and showman’s engines – as well as fairground rides, trade stalls, food stalls, bar and live music – the evocative three-day yesteryear ‘Roads to Rail’ gathering takes place between Friday, 24 June, and Sunday, 26 June, 2022, inclusive.

A special intensive steam train service between Norden, Corfe Castle and Swanage will be operating during the event – including a special evening heritage diesel service on the Friday and Saturday evenings.

Camping pitches, which must be pre-booked via a special ‘Roads to Rail’ website at swanagerailwayroadstorail.co.uk, will also be available during the event in a field close to Norden station while there will be live music on the Friday and Saturday evenings.

Now in its second year, the popular event was first staged in late August, 2021.

Volunteer Swanage Railway Company chairman Robert Patterson said: “We’re very proud to be hosting our second ‘Roads to Rail’ which combines the nostalgia of steam rail travel with steam powered traction engines, steam rollers and vintage fairground rides.

“This is an evocative festival of steam large and small for all of those who love vintage steam-powered vehicles on the road or on the rails.

“Our first such event last year was incredibly successful and this year the show ground will be larger with more traction engines and trade stalls as well as a bar and beer tents, food stalls and live music on the Friday and Saturday evenings.

“People who attend the event will also have the rare opportunity to go on the footplate of one of our steam locomotives. ‘Roads to Rail’ is a great day out for all the family and we hope it will draw in the crowds.

“Special events such as our ‘Roads to Rail’ weekend are critical for funding the continued operation and development of the Swanage Railway as well as drawing visitors to the Isle of Purbeck ahead of the main summer season.

“The ‘Roads to Rail’ event takes a lot of dedicated planning and organising from our staff and volunteers and I would like to pay tribute to all the hard work that has been put into the event,” added Robert who is also volunteer station porter and a trustee with the Swanage Railway Trust, a registered charity.

One of the organisers, Lorna Lock, said: “Visitors to ‘Roads to Rail are welcome to attend in Victorian, Edwardian and pre-Second World War period dress – whether that’s in a showman’s outfit or a steam train driver’s ‘bib and brace’ – to delight in and soak up the period atmosphere.

“We would like to thank our sponsors and advertisers for their help staging this year’s ‘Roads to Rail’ event which promises to be bigger and better than last year and takes place within sight of the dramatic ruins of Corfe Castle,” she added.

This year’s ‘Roads to Rail’ steam rally is being sponsored by Miles & Son, City Cruises and O.J. Fabrication.

Anyone wanting to sponsor the event, or advertise their business at the show ground should contact Lorna Lock at finance@swanagerailway.co.uk.

A combined train ride from Swanage to Norden and return – with entry to the steam rally show ground – is £22 for adults, £8.50 for children aged five to 15 and £57 for a family of two adults and three children.

Entry to the steam show ground only is £7 for adults with children under the age of 16 being free. Evening entry to the show ground from 6pm is £5 for adults with children under the age of 16 being free. Day parking at the steam rally is free.

The postcode for the ‘Roads to Rail’ event location, opposite Norden station, is BH20 5DW.

The Swanage Railway welcomes new volunteers who should contact Swanage Railway volunteer recruitment and retention officer Jonathan Evans on 01929 408466 or email iwanttovolunteer@swanagerailway.co.uk.

Information about the ‘Roads to Rail’ event can be found at swanagerailwayroadstorail.co.uk where event, ticket and entry information can be found as well as camping bookings made.


Story and photograph by Andrew P.M. Wright,

Swanage Railway official photographer and press officer