HISTORIC 1940s steam trains are to appear at three-day extravaganza.

Eight impressive 1940s Bulleid Pacific class steam locomotives will appear at Swanage Railway to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

The three-day gathering is unlikely to be repeated and 'may never bee seen again in our lifetime'.

The event dubbed 'Strictly Bulleid Two' takes place between Friday, June 7, and Sunday, June 9, with a preview taster day on Thursday, June 6.

Event organiser Alexander Atkins said: “Strictly Bulleid Two is a celebration of Bulleid brilliance and the magnificent people behind these incredible engines.

Dorset Echo: 34072 257 Squadron at Corfe Castle 34072 257 Squadron at Corfe Castle (Image: ANDREW PM WRIGHT)

“We are delighted to say we will achieve at least a hat-trick of heritage rail records and my thanks go out to the locomotive owning groups who have invaluably contributed to making this historic event happen - West Coast Railways, the East Lancashire Railway, the Battle of Britain Society, the 35006 Locomotive Company and last, but not least, Southern Locomotives Limited.

“It is unlikely that we will see a gathering of eight Bulleid Pacifics in steam together – and hauling trains - again in our lifetime so to be able to enjoy an event on such a scale as this is truly a privilege.”

The gala will also see the largest gathering of Merchant Navy class Bulleid Pacifics hauling trains since the end of southern England steam in 1967, as well as the largest gathering of Bulleid Pacifics in their original 1940s form.

Dorset Echo: 34070 Manston at Corfe Castle 34070 Manston at Corfe Castle (Image: ANDREW PM WRIGHT)

Designed by Southern Railway chief mechanical engineer Oliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid during the Second World War, the Bulleid Pacifics hauled trains from London to Corfe Castle and Swanage between the late 1940s and 1966.

Most of the Strictly Bulleid Two trains will be hauling trains along the whole length of the nine-mile Swanage Railway between Swanage, Harman’s Cross, Corfe Castle, Norden and beyond to Furzebrook and the River Frome.

The Strictly Bulleid Two preview day will feature two Bulleid Pacifics hauling trains between Swanage and Norden.

In a first for the Swanage Railway, there will be night trains on the Sunday that depart Swanage at 1am, 3am, 5am and 7am. There will also be beer trains operating on the Friday and Saturday evenings.

Dorset Echo: 34053 Sir Keith Park at Swanage34053 Sir Keith Park at Swanage (Image: ANDREW PM WRIGHT)

The Sunday of the gala will be ‘Named Train Sunday’ with the Bulleid Pacifics carrying prestigious express train headboards such as Bournemouth Belle and Golden Arrow.

It is hoped to have Merchant Navy class Bulleid Pacific No. 35006 ‘Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation’ hauling passenger trains between Swanage and Norden from Monday, June 10, to Sunday, June 16, for a special ‘Merchant Week’.

Subject to availability, the featured eight Bulleid Pacific steam locomotives will be:

  • 1. Merchant Navy class No. 35006 ‘Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation’ courtesy of the 35006 Locomotive Company and the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway.
  • 2. Merchant Navy class No. 35018 ‘British India Line’ courtesy of West Coast Railways.
  • 3. Battle of Britain class No. 34081 ‘92 Squadron’ courtesy of the Battle of Britain Locomotive Society and the Nene Valley Railway.
  • 4. Battle of Britain class No. 34053 ‘Sir Keith Park’ courtesy of Southern Locomotives Limited.
  • 5. Battle of Britain class No. 34072 ‘257 Squadron’ courtesy of the Spa Valley Railway and Southern Locomotives Limited.
  • 6. Battle of Britain class No. 34070 ‘Manston’ courtesy of Southern Locomotives Limited.
  • 7. West Country class No. 34028 ‘Eddystone’ courtesy of Southern Locomotives Limited.
  • 8. West Country class No. 34092 ‘City of Wells’ courtesy of the East Lancashire Railway.