Swanage Railway Volunteers Get Festive

christmas train

Published at 1:48pm 21st December 2015.

Dedicated Swanage Railway volunteers have staged a popular evocative Christmas carol steam train

Dedicated Swanage Railway volunteers have staged a popular evocative Christmas carol steam train - with passengers attending in Victorian costume to make the festive atmosphere complete.
Featuring the Harmony Rocks ladies' choir, there was half-hour carol singing sessions at festively decorated Harman's Cross and Corfe Castle stations - as well as at Swanage on the train's return - with carol sheets provided so passengers could sing along.
And the two-hour event of festive music and song saw Swanage Town Crier Andrew Fleming being a special guest and welcoming guests on to the train.
Mulled wine was on sale when the festively decorated Christmas carol steam train called at Harman's Cross and Corfe Castle stations while passengers received a complimentary festive drink and mince pie.
Swanage Railway General Manager Matt Green said: "There was a lovely atmosphere both on the train as well as at Harman's Cross and Corfe Castle stations - you really felt the warm glow of Christmases from the past. It was really quite uplifting.
"I would like to say a big thank you to the dedicated team of volunteers that has organised the Christmas carol trains for their hard work and attention to detail for what will be two very special evenings.
"I would also like to thank the public for the supporting the special trains by purchasing tickets and enjoying a very special, memorable and evocative evening," he added.
The Christmas carol train was hauled by a Victorian-designed London and South Western Railway steam locomotive - M7 tank No. 30053 designed in 1897 and built at Nine Elms in London during 1905.
No. 30053 worked the Swanage branch during the 1930s before returning to the ten-mile line between Wareham, Corfe Castle and Swanage from late 1963 until being withdrawn by British Railways during May, 1964.
The Victorian-themed Christmas carol steam train saw 12 members of the Swanage Town Band play in the brake coach of the train while 30 members of the Harmony Rocks Singers, dressed in Victorian costumes, gave performances that delighted passengers attending the special event.
Featuring ladies from east Purbeck - including the village of Harman's Cross and the town of Swanage - the popular Harmony Rocks choir meets at the Harman's Cross village hall on Wednesday afternoons.
Choir conductor Clare Perriss studied choir and ensemble musical direction at the University of Melbourne in Australia where she specialised in instrumental music tuition.
Matt Green explained: "An experienced piano accompanist and professional jazz pianist, Clare has extensive  experience in directing musical productions, concert bands, small ensembles and choirs."
The Victorian Christmas carol steam train was staged by a dedicated group of Swanage Railway volunteers that maintains and develops Harman's Cross station - a facility built from scratch since 1988.
Matt Green said: "Our festive Christmas carol trains have a lovely and very heart-warming atmosphere. They are evocative and unforgettable events that make the perfect start to December's Christmas preparations for the big day itself," he added.
The nostalgic event took to the rails on Friday, 4 December, 2015, with 110 passengers entering into the festive spirit and a team of 18 Swanage Railway volunteers making the event happen.
Swanage Railway train times - and special event details - are available online at www.swanagerailway.co.uk or by telephone on 01929 425800.