Volunteer crafts special headboards marking Queen's Platinum Jubilee to grace steam locomotives
A dedicated Swanage Railway volunteer has crafted two special headboards marking the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee that will grace the front of steam locomotives hauling trains between Norden, Corfe Castle, Harman’s Cross and Swanage.
It took talented Malcolm Munro a week’s work to carefully make the splendid silver and red wooden headboards that will be carried on the front of the Swanage Railway’s steam trains between Thursday, 2 June, and Sunday, 5 June, 2022, inclusive.
During those four days, there will be a special steam train service – run to an appropriately coloured plum Platinum Jubilee timetable – with steam trains leaving Norden and Swanage every 45 minutes between 10.30am and 5pm, except for a 75-minute gap at lunchtime.
Stations along the Swanage Railway’s five and a half mile running line have also been decorated with plum coloured bunting, banners and logos marking the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Malcolm Munro has been a keen Swanage Railway member for more than 40 years and a dedicated volunteer on the Isle of Purbeck heritage line for more than 30 years.
At the age of 16, a teenage Malcolm rode on the last British Rail train between Wareham, Corfe Castle and Swanage on the evening of 1 January, 1972.
And as the branch line’s tracks were being torn up for scrap in the summer of 1972, Malcolm joined the Swanage Railway Society which fought for three years to be allowed to start restoring the boarded up Swanage station from 1976 and begin relaying the tracks.
Malcolm said: “The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is an event of national importance and I wanted to do something to help the Swanage Railway mark the rare occasion in an appropriate, memorable and special way.
“The Platinum Jubilee is a major mile stone in the history of this country and the Royal Family in particular because Her Majesty the Queen is the longest reigning monarch that we have ever had.
“The Queen stands for one element of stability that this country needs at the moment. After the challenges and trials of the Covid pandemic, it’s important that we all celebrate and enjoy what we are lucky to have in this country – freedom that the people of the Ukraine are fighting for.
“Headboards denoting that trains were a special working, or a special service, were common in the days of steam - the Bournemouth Belle and Royal Wessex being two Dorset trains that carried such headboards on the front of the steam locomotives.
“I am delighted at how well the headboards have turned out – they stand out and look magnificent on the front of our steam locomotives which makes all the hard work worthwhile.
“Headboards on the front of steam locomotives make their trains look extra special and important, giving an evocative sense of excitement and occasion which is the perfect way to mark and celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee,” added Malcolm who is a volunteer signalman on the Swanage Railway and lives in Wool near Wareham.
Ten years ago, Malcolm skilfully produced two wooden headboards to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 that were proudly carried on the front of the Swanage Railway’s steam trains.
The Swanage Railway welcomes new volunteers who should contact Swanage Railway volunteer recruitment and retention officer Jonathan Evans on 01929 408466 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story and photograph by Andrew P.M. Wright
Swanage Railway official photographer and press officer