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‘Winter Warm Up’ steam & diesel event includes nostalgic re-creation of 1950s & 1960s freight train


Photograph: Andrew P.M. Wright

An evocative weekend ‘Winter Warm Up’ event is to bring a mixture of steam and diesel passenger trains – as well as a nostalgic re-creation of a freight train from the 1950s and the 1960s - to the Isle of Purbeck in a new year celebration.


One of the heritage diesels hauling the trains will be the last locomotive to run from Poole to Broadstone and Wimborne when the line closed to freight trains in 1977.


Taking place on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8, January, 2023, the special event will see two 1960s main line heritage diesel locomotives in action as well as two main line steam locomotives, one from the 1920s and the other from the 1940s.


Operating to an intensive timetable – and with locomotives running subject to availability and short notice change - the heritage trains will be running between Norden, Corfe Castle, Harman’s Cross and Swanage between 9.45am and 5.10pm.


Making a rare and evocative sight, there will be a re-creation of a nostalgic freight train of wagons and box vans of the type that ran across the south of England – including the Swanage branch – in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.


At Corfe Castle station, the goods shed museum will be open across the special weekend, along with the signal box museum and the fund-raising book wagon.


The first steam locomotive to be featured in the ‘Winter Warm Up’ event will be ex-Southern Railway late 1920s U class No. 31806 which used to haul holidaymaker trains to Corfe Castle and Swanage during the 1950s.


The second steam locomotive to be featured in the ‘Winter Warm’ Up will be ex-Southern Railway 1940s unrebuilt Battle of Britain class Bulleid Pacific No. 34040 ‘Manston’.


Bulleid Pacifics like ‘Manston’ hauled trains from London to Corfe Castle and Swanage from the 1940s to the end of steam trains in southern England in 1967.


The first heritage diesel locomotive to be featured in the ‘Winter Warm Up’ will be 1968 ex-British Rail Class 50 diesel-electric No. 50 026 ‘Indomitable’ which operated on the main line until 1990 and carries a nostalgic 1980s British Rail Network South East livery.


The Class 50 diesel-electric locomotives hauled express passenger trains on the main line from London to Exeter – through north Dorset – during the 1970s and the 1980s.


The second heritage diesel locomotive to be featured in the ‘Winter Warm Up’ will be 1960 ex-British Railways Class 33 diesel-electric No. D6515 ‘Lt Jenny Lewis RN’ which hauled London to Swanage trains during the summer of 1963.


Renumbered No. 33 012 by British Rail in the early 1970s, the locomotive was the last to run between Poole, Broadstone and Wimborne in 1977, after the last section of the former main line between Brockenhurst, Ringwood, West Moors, Wimborne, Broadstone and Poole closed to trains.


Robert Patterson - the volunteer chairman of the Swanage Railway Company which runs the trains for the Swanage Railway Trust – said: “Freight trains, like the one we will be re-creating during the two days of our ‘Winter Warm Up’ event, used to run across the south of England for decades delivering goods and farm produce.


“British Railways stopped running freight trains to Corfe Castle and Swanage in 1965, a year before steam trains were replaced by diesel trains on the Swanage branch and six years before the line was controversially closed and demolished.


“It is not often that a Class 50 diesel-electric locomotive runs on the Swanage Railway so having the splendidly restored No. 50 026 ‘Indomitable’ hauling some of the trains will be a real treat,” added Robert, a volunteer station porter on the heritage line that has been rebuilt from nothing since 1976.


Swanage station shop and the station’s refreshment kiosk will be open during the ‘Winter Warm Up’ event, subject to volunteer availability.


The Swanage Railway welcomes new volunteers and anyone interested in finding out more should contact the Swanage Railway volunteer recruitment and retention office on 01929 408466 or email iwanttovolunteer@swanagerailway.co.uk.


Story and photograph by Andrew P.M. Wright,

Swanage Railway official photographer and press officer.

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