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Historic locomotive to make first trip to Swanage since 1966


Published at 12:04pm 10th May 2018.

An historic main line heritage diesel locomotive is to haul its first passenger train from London to Corfe Castle and Swanage since the summer of 1966 - bringing visitors to the Swanage Railway's annual three-day diesel gala and beer festival.

The special four-carriage 'Purbeck Explorer' Swanage Railway charter train from the capital to the coast today, will be hauled by 1960-built former British Railways Class 33 diesel-electric locomotive No. D6515 'Lt Jenny Lewis RN'.

The London to Swanage special arrives in the seaside town the day before the start of the Swanage Railway's popular annual three-day Diesel Gala and Beer Festival on Friday (11th May).

Leaving London's Ealing Broadway at 10.40am, the 'Purbeck Explorer' will arrive in Swanage just before 4pm. The special train returns to London - hauled by heritage Class 20 diesel locomotives No. 20 007 and No. 20 142 - on Sunday.

The four carriages for the 'Purbeck Explorer' will be made up of a former British Rail Southern Region '4TC' carriage set converted in York during 1966 for the Bournemouth to Weymouth line from the end of steam traction in 1967 to the electrification of the line in 1988. The '4TC' set has been restored by the London Transport Museum.

Swanage Railway Company chairman Trevor Parsons said: "The 'Purbeck Explorer' will revive the excitement of travelling from the Capital to the coast in a 4TC carriage set hauled by a British Rail Southern Region Class 33 diesel locomotive.

"Class 33 diesel locomotives first hauled 'bucket and spade' trains from London down to Corfe Castle and Swanage in the summer of 1963 and continued to do so until the end of the summer of 1966.

"With the London to Bournemouth electrification ousting steam in 1967 - and the new diesel service between Bournemouth and Weymouth - Class 33 locomotives hauled 4TC carriage sets from London to Swanage from July, 1967, until British Rail ceased trains from the capital to Swanage in October, 1969."

This year's Swanage Railway Diesel Gala and Beer Festival will see heritage diesel locomotives operate an intensive passenger train service between Swanage, Harman's Cross, Corfe Castle and Norden on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday - with some trains operating through to Wareham. The beer festival is based at Corfe Castle station.

The nine visiting heritage diesel locomotives will be joined by two Swanage-based diesel locomotives - D6515 'Lt Jenny Lewis RN' and 'push-pull' fitted Class 33 No. 33 111 which hauled the last '4TC' carriage set to Swanage on an special enthusiasts' train in September, 1971, just three months before the Isle of Purbeck branch line closed.

'Purbeck Explorer' tickets are £35.90 each way - available from the Swanage Railway website at www.swanagerailway.co.uk - or £45.00 each way on the day with the train calling at Kensington Olympia, Clapham Junction, Woking, Basingstoke and Wareham.

The Swanage Railway always welcomes new volunteers so, for a chat, contact Swanage Railway volunteer co-ordinator Mike Whitwam on 01929 475212 or email him at iwanttovolunteer@swanagerailway.co.uk.

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