Enthusiasts chuffed at rail regatta

Dorset Echo: ALL ABOARD: The Winter Warm Up gets underway. Below, a passenger boards the train ALL ABOARD: The Winter Warm Up gets underway. Below, a passenger boards the train

A NOSTALGIC freight train together with classic steam and diesel locomotives rolled through the Purbeck countryside as part of the first Winter Warm Up mini-gala.

More than 600 tickets were sold as railway enthusiasts jumped aboard the Victorian passenger trains and turned out to watch as the vintage freight train chugged past the dramatic ruins of Corfe Castle.

The Winter Warm Up burst into life between Swanage, Herston Halt, Harman’s Cross, Corfe Castle and Norden park and ride at the weekend.

Swanage Railway general manager Richard Jones said: “The public were able to enjoy the nostalgic delights of classic steam and diesel locomotives – and an evocative freight train from yesteryear – against the beautiful backdrop of the Purbeck countryside.

“It was a really enjoyable, nostalgic and evocative day out.

“Nothing could be better.”

The featured steam locomotives hauling the passenger trains included a Victorian-designed 1905 London and South Western Railway M7 tank and a 1947 express Southern Railway Battle of Britain class Bulleid Pacific Manston.

A milk tanker wagon was attached to the steam trains in a throwback to when there was a dairy next to Corfe Castle station and the milk was sent away by steam train.

The 1960 British Railways Class 33 diesel-electric also drew in the crowds as it made British Rail history in September 1971 when it hauled the last push-pull passenger train to Corfe Castle and Swanage.

Chairman of Swanage Railway Company Peter Sills said: “There were full trains running backwards and forwards all day. I couldn’t even get a seat on the second train.

“The old-fashioned freight train and was a unique sight as we don’t run freight trains very often.”

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