Swanage Railway at Work Weekend

Andrew P.M. Wright

Andrew P.M. Wright

RARE CHANCE TO SEE BEHIND THE SCENES OF A BUSY WORKING RAILWAY – AND SPEAK TO THE PEOPLE WHO KEEP IT RUNNING!

The public is being given the rare chance to explore behind the scenes of the award-winning Swanage Railway – and speak to the volunteers who keep it running – thanks to a special two-day ‘behind the scenes’ event.

A chance to see areas not normally open to the public, the ‘Railway at Work’ weekend takes to the relaid Purbeck Line between Norden ‘park and ride’, Corfe Castle, Harman’s Cross, Herston and Swanage on Saturday and Sunday, 19 and 20 March 2011.

At Swanage station, young and old alike will have the chance to go on to the footplate of a steam locomotive, visit the award-winning signal box, see the engine shed and coal dock – where steam locomotives are prepared for a day’s work – and see carriage restoration work take place.

The Swanage Railway’s Herston engineering works – off Victoria Avenue on the outskirts of Swanage – will also be open to the public between 10am and 3pm where the restoration of the mighty 1940s express Battle of Britain class Bulleid Pacific ‘Sir Keith Park’ can be seen in progress.

There will also be escorted tours around the Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum which is being built next to Norden ‘park and ride’ station by Swanage Railway members to tell the fascinating 2,000 year old story of Purbeck ball clay mining.

The Railway at Work Weekend is part of a push to recruit more volunteers to help run and develop the award-winning Swanage Railway, which has been rebuilt from scratch since 1976 and now carries more than 200,000 passengers a year.

With instant Swanage Railway membership available during the special weekend, volunteers and members of staff will be acting as guides for the public at Swanage, Corfe Castle and Norden ‘park and ride’ stations.

Swanage Railway commercial manager, Martin Payne, said: “The weekend is a rare chance to see behind the scenes of a real-life steam railway that has been built from nothing since 1976 – it’s an incredible story of but there is still so much more to achieve.

“It’s a chance to meet our volunteers and staff and discover the huge and varied amount of work that is needed not just to run the award-winning Swanage Railway but also maintain and develop the relaid Purbeck Line.

“Instant membership to the Swanage Railway Trust will be available throughout the weekend and members are entitled to free train travel throughout the special weekend on production of a valid membership card. It will be a lot of fun and also very educational too.

“I would encourage people to let the steam train take the strain from Norden park and ride station off the main A351 Wareham to Corfe Castle road and avoid parking hassles and problems in Swanage,” explained Mr Payne.

At Norden station – next to the award-winning park and ride car park – the public will be able to enjoy a display by the Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum Group and see the progress the Group is making in re-creating a ball clay mine next to the station.

Steam trains and an early 1960s heritage railcar offering all-round views of the Purbeck countryside – will be running every 45 minutes between Norden park and ride and Swanage between 10.30am and 5.55pm.

Buffet refreshment facilities are available at Norden and Swanage stations while at Corfe Castle visitors can enjoy the museum in the station’s converted Victorian goods shed. The station shop at Swanage will also be open.

To book on-line for the Railway at Work Weekend – or find out about many other special events and train services on the relaid Purbeck Line – visit swanagerailway.co.uk or call 01929 425800.


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