VOLUNTEERS are ensuring a heritage railway stays on track following extreme weather.
The Swanage Railway has been running passenger services every weekend since Christmas.
Despite far greater volumes of rain and surface water than normally experienced at this time of year, the six-mile relaid line has not suffered any instances of flooding over recent months – and no trees have been blown on to the line.
Volunteers have ensured drains are clear and have been inspecting the line for any damage.
General manager Richard Jones said: “The Swanage Railway is open for business – despite the very unusual wet and stormy weather that has been hitting the Isle of Purbeck – and our steam trains are heated with steam from the locomotive so it’s nice and cosy.”
He added: “Over the past couple of years, we have made the clearing of drains, drainage culverts and ditches – as well as under bridges – a priority to ensure the steam trains keep running and that our trackbed and its embankments are not damaged.
“That vigilance and forward planning over recent years has paid dividends because we have not suffered any instances of flooding over the past couple of months and no trees have been blown on to the railway line.
“In looking after the tracks, the drainage system and the embankments, our permanent way department has been doing a sterling job in making sure that the trains can still run and run safely.”
Swanage has avoided being flooded by the recent weeks of unprecedented rain thanks to a multi-million flood alleviation scheme – with large holding ponds next to Herston Halt on the outskirts of the town – built after the 1990 flood, which was the worst in a hundred years.