The Isle of Purbeck will be going back more than a century when the volunteer-led Swanage Railway stages its first London and South Western Railway Weekend – starring a unique Victorian steam locomotive from the National Collection.
It will be the first time that a Victorian-designed T9 class steam locomotive has hauled a passenger train through Corfe Castle since the early 1960s and the days of British Railways.
The special two-day event takes to the five-and-a-half mile Purbeck line from Norden Park & Ride to Corfe Castle, Harman’s Cross, Herston and Swanage on Saturday and Sunday, 15 and 16 March, 2014.
It will also be the first time that a Victorian-designed M7 tank locomotive has been seen operating through Corfe Castle with the T9 since the early 1960s – a pairing that was a familiar sight on the Swanage branch from the 1930s.
The star of the special weekend will be the only working T9 steam locomotive in the world – the unique No 30120 – which is based on the Bodmin and Wenford Railway in Cornwall and on loan from the National Railway Museum’s National Collection.
Swanage Railway General Manager Richard Jones said: “A special timetable is being introduced so the two Victorian locomotive-hauled trains pass each at Corfe Castle station – beneath the Medieval ruins – to maximise the spectacle and photographic opportunities as the Victorian days of old are re-created.
“We are very grateful to the Bodmin and Wenford Railway – and the National Railway Museum – for allowing the T9 to visit the Swanage Railway, bringing part of our national heritage collection to Dorset.”
The London and South Western Railway Weekend will see the shop and buffet coach – serving drinks and snacks – open at Swanage station. There will also be a buffet coach at Norden station.
At Corfe Castle station, the exhibition and cinema coach next to the goods shed museum will be open.
Special fares apply for the Victorian weekend and day rover tickets – giving unlimited travel for a day – are £15 for adults and £10 for children.
Swanage Railway train times – and special event details – are available online at www.swanagerailway.co.uk or by telephone on 01929 425800.