Historic locomotive to star in Swanage spring steam gala
AN HISTORIC locomotive that hauled the funeral train of King George VI in 1952 is set to star in the Swanage Railway’s Spring Steam Gala.
Built for British Railways in the 1950s, the two visiting steam locomotives will go through the heart of the Isle of Purbeck from Friday, March 24, until Sunday, March 26.
In a rare opportunity, the public can also purchase tickets for a ride in a 1950s brake van ride, between Swanage and Corfe Castle as it recreates an evocative freight train during the gala.
Another star of the event is a 1957 British Railways Standard Class 4 tender 2-6-0-wheel arrangement steam locomotive No. 76084, with other locomotives operating include the late 1920s Southern Railway U class No. 31806 and the 1940s Southern Railway Bulleid Pacifics No. 34070 Manston and No. 34028 Eddystone.
The Spring Steam Gala will see an intensive service of steam trains along the nine-mile length of the heritage line between Swanage, Corfe Castle, Norden and four miles beyond to the river Frome, within sight of Wareham.
Trevor Parsons, the volunteer chairman of the Swanage Railway Company, said: “With five steam locomotives in operation, our Spring Steam Gala will be an evocative occasion, not to be missed – a celebration of all that is wonderful and fascinating about steam.”
Swanage Railway Trust volunteer chairman, Gavin Johns, said: “Britannia was the first steam locomotive of the new early 1950s range of standard designs to be built by British Railways.
The Spring Steam Gala will see the shop open at Swanage station, as well as the Swanage Railway Trust Museum and cinema coach in the restored Victorian goods shed at Corfe Castle station.
As well, the Purbeck Mining Museum will be open to the public during all three days of the gala.
The museums narrow gauge diesel trains will be operating between 11am and 4pm, with volunteer museum staff on hand to answer questions about the 2,000 year history of ball clay mining in the Isle of Purbeck.