Evocative steam train paintings by a talented artist are helping to raise money for a railway's fundraising appeal.

The Swanage Railway has launched ‘Save Our Service’ to raise £360,000 to help the award-winning heritage line survive the economic effects of coronavirus.

To help the effort, Oliver Pyle has produced four watercolour scenes of steam trains on the Swanage Railway with 250 limited edition prints of each of the paintings for sale.

Mr Pyle said: “When the train services stopped in March because of Covid-19, and we could no longer hear the steam whistles, Swanage lost some of its charm and energy.

“As a steam preservation enthusiast, and a huge fan of the Swanage Railway, I wanted to do whatever I could to help.

“The tremendous amount of work put in by several generations of volunteers to rebuild the Swanage Railway over more than 40 years cannot be lost. If the Swanage Railway, and other preserved railways across the country, are unable to survive then an important part of our heritage will be gone.”

Mr Pyle, from West Sussex, first visited Swanage as a child in 1982 when the fledgling railway was running trains over a few hundred yards of hand-laid track at the station.

The four limited edition watercolour painting prints each feature a steam locomotive based on the Swanage Railway – Victorian London and South Western Railway 1899 T9 class No. 30120 at Swanage station, late 1920s Southern Railway U class No. 31806 south of Corfe Castle, 1940s Southern Railway Bulleid Pacific No. 34072 ‘257 Squadron’ between Swanage and Harman’s Cross as well as British Railways class 4 tank No. 80104 steaming into Corfe Castle station.

Signed and numbered by the artist – and with a certificate of authentication – the prints are £130 each and can be purchased from the Mulberry Tree Gallery, Swanage www.mulberrytreegallery.co.uk as well as from the shop at Swanage station when trains are running.

The Swanage Railway’s fundraising chairman, Randy Coldham, said: “We are delighted and very grateful to Oliver for using his considerable artistic talents to produce such wonderfully evocative watercolour scenes of the Swanage Railway to help raise money towards our appeal."

As of last Friday, the ‘Save Our Service’ appeal stood at £283,536.

To help visit www.saveourservice.co.uk