Dedicated Swanage Railway volunteers and staff are celebrating after their heritage line through the Isle of Purbeck won a coveted bronze trophy for quality in this year’s Dorset Tourism Awards.
The accolade to the volunteer-led Swanage Railway from an independent judging panel of tourism experts was given in the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year category.
It was the first time that the preserved six mile steam operated line – from Norden Park & Ride to Corfe Castle, Harman’s Cross and Swanage – had entered the prestigious competition highlighting the best of tourist attractions and services in the county.
Rebuilt from nothing since 1976 after being closed and demolished by British Rail, the Swanage Railway now carries more than 210,000 passengers a year – running trains daily from April to October, inclusive, and weekends during the rest of the year.
Swanage Railway Company chairman Peter Sills and the heritage line’s General Manager Richard Jones joined 200 other guests at a special Dorset Tourism Awards presentation evening held at the Bovington Tank Museum near Wareham on 16 October.
Peter Sills said: “Everyone on the Swanage Railway is delighted to win this coveted award which is a real accolade, the recognition rewarding the hard work and commitment that our staff and volunteers put into running and maintaining our heritage line throughout the year.
“Visitors can enjoy the award-winning Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum next to Norden station while at Corfe Castle station there is the superb Swanage Railway museum, housed in the restored Victorian good shed, and a fascinating cinema coach – all of which have free admission,” he added.
The Swanage Railway will now be entered into the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in February, 2015, and then possibly on to the National Visit England Awards to be held later next year