A steam locomotive which hauled a test train to Weymouth earlier this month can be seen again on the mainline.

Swanage Railway's ‘U’ class steam locomotive No. 31806 will be at the head of a ten-carriage excursion tomorrow (Thursday).

It will be leading the Dorset portion of a 'round Britain' train which will visit Weymouth, Dorchester and Swanage.

The Railway Touring Company’s has organised a marathon nine-day ‘Great Britain XI’ steam train around England, Scotland and Wales from April 19-27 starting and finishing in London.

With the assistance of another steam locomotive, No. 31806 will be hauling the train from Yeovil Junction to Dorchester West and Weymouth.

The excursion then runs back to Dorchester, this time passing the South station and on to Wareham and Swanage.

Swanage Railway Company chairman Trevor Parsons said: “The last time that a Southern Railway 1920s ‘mogul’ steam locomotive hauled a passenger train on the main line in Dorset was in the summer of 1965.”

If you want to see the loco in action it will be departing light engine from the Swanage Railway for Yeovil (via Dorchester and Weymouth) at 7am. It is due to arrive at Yeovil Junction at 10.33am. It is due to leave Yeovil Junction station at 2.42pm, reaching Maiden Newton at 3.18pm and then Dorchester West station at 3.47pm before arriving in Weymouth at 4.07pm.

It departs Weymouth at 4.35pm, passing through Dorchester South station at 4.50pm before arriving at Wareham at 5.10pm. It will arrive at Swanage just after 6pm.

Mr Parsons said: “No. 31806 carried out a successful main line test run on April 13 ahead of the ‘Great Britain XI’ excursion train thanks to the permission of Network Rail.

“So it can haul trains on the main line, No. 31806 was upgraded thanks to a £75,000 Government grant to the Swanage Railway Trust from the Department for Transport’s Heritage and Community Rail Tourism Innovation Competition. The Trust supplied £25,000 of labour towards the work which also included the upgrade of five carriages.

“With No. 31806 now equipped with the required signalling and monitoring equipment required to run on Network Rail, the upgrade work to the locomotive – as well as a set of five carriages – gives the Swanage Railway the potential to run special steam trains from Swanage and Corfe Castle to the main line at Wareham in the future.”