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Steam trains set to visit Weymouth this summer
WEYMOUTH is set for another steaming summer.
A record number of steam train excursions have been organised for the holiday season, providing a major boost to the local economy.
Weymouth is a favourite destination for rail tour operators and this season more than 20 trains will be visiting the resort between June and September, bringing hundreds of day-trippers at a time.
Rail enthusiasts young and old will also be delighted with visits by historic steam locomotives.
The number of steam excursions is being boosted this year with a twice-weekly service plus extra specials.
Repeating the success of last year, when more than 7,000 passengers travelled to Weymouth on its trains, the Railway Touring Company is running regular excursions from London and Bristol between July and September.
The Dorset Coast Express will run from London Victoria mainly on Thursdays but there will be an extra two during carnival week in August.
The Weymouth Seaside Express will run from Bristol on Sundays.
Managing director of the Railway Touring Company Nigel Dobbing warned last year that he may pull his trains out of Weymouth because the lack of turning facilities for locomotives at the station was costing him money. The nearest turntable is at Yeovil Junction.
But the success of the service means trains continue to run during summer 2012.
As well as the Dorset Coast Express and the Weymouth Seaside Express, the Railway Touring Co has organised an excursion called The Royal Wes-sex on June 30.
Steam Dreams is running its Cathedral Express trains from Waterloo Station to Wey-mouth on July 9 and on carnival day, August 15.
Wey-mouth Carnival spokesman John Kelly said: “We are delighted to hear about these steam train excursions running during carnival week, it’s really positive news.
“It will mean more people will be in town and they can help us raise more money for charity.
“Weymouth needs all the help it can get at the moment and this will be a great boost.”
President of Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Comm-erce, Anna-Maria Geare, said: “This is fantastic news.
“We last heard the weekly steam train service may not be coming back because we have no turntable here so it’s great that it will run.
“It’s lovely to see visitors coming to the town on a different mode of transport.
“Anything that increases the footfall in town is welcome.
“This will also be welcome by the train-spotting fraternity and people who are interested in historic engines.”
Locomotives that will be seen in Weymouth this summer include No. 30777 Sir Lamiel, No. 34067 Tangmere, No. 60019 Bittern, No. 70000 Britannia and No. 5029 Nunney Castle.
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