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£2.7M To Be Spent On New Train Signals

Andrew PM Wright Steam train with volunteer stationmaster

Published at 9:01am 28th May 2012. (Updated at 9:18am 28th May 2012)

New signals should mean regular trains operating between Wareham and Swanage within two years.

Dorset County Council has handed over the first instalment of funding and finalised the agreement with Network Rail, who'll install the signals.

Volunteers at the Swanage Railway have been running preserved steam and diesel trains between Swanage and Norden since 1955. They drive the trains, staff the ticket offices, and mend the track. The new signalling will mean they'll  be able to run up to eight return journeys a day.

Chairman Peter Sills said: " We're delighted that this once in a generation opportunity has come to fruition. The Swanage Railway already makes an important contribution to Purbeck in terms of employment, bringing extra commercial opportunities to many businesses and reducing traffic congestion. Linking Swanage and Corfe Castle to the main line railway at Wareham can only increase this benefit".

Due to start in October, the new signalling will enable trains from the branch line to join the main line at Worget Junction, thereby reaching Wareham.

The new signalling will cost £2.7 million pounds, which has come from developers' contributions as part of the Purbeck Transportation Strategy.  The aim of the strategy is to improve movement around the district, taking traffic away from the congested A351.

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