THE Purbeck Community Rail Partnership has welcomed a £1.47million government grant for the Swanage Railway.

The grant money will be used to help to reintroduce a regular train service from Swanage and Corfe Castle to the mainline at Wareham. Councillor Mike Lovell, chairman of the Purbeck Community Rail Partnership, congratulated Swanage Railway Trust on its success.

He said: “This is a great step forward.

“I am delighted that a regular service between Swanage and the mainline is now closer to becoming a reality. “Swanage Railway’s successful bid will help provide the finance to enable the refurbishment of rolling stock and improvements to the infrastructure.”

Purbeck District Council and Dorset County Council have also committed £3.2million for re-signalling improvements at Worgret Junction.

The re-signalling works coincide with Network Rail’s improvements to the mainline between Poole and Wool, due to be completed this year.

BP also contributed £500,000 towards works at Norden Level Crossing. This was a legacy donation to the community when the oilfield was sold to Perenco UK Limited.

Coun Lovell added: “Swanage Railway’s grant, together with the funding from Purbeck District Council and Dorset County Council and BP, means that the operation of a limited service in 2014/15 is now a realistic proposition.”