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Gala gets on track
TWO Cornish locomotives have arrived on the Swanage Railway to star in the heritage line’s Grand Steam Gala.
The Bagnall-manufactured saddle tanks Judy and Alfred – dating from 1936 and 1953 – have been joined by a steam locomotive inspired by the man who designed the Ivatt tanks which hauled trains between Wareham, Corfe Castle and Swanage between 1964 and 1966.
The ex-British Railways Class 2 tender locomotive Number 78019 will replace the steam locomotive the Duke of Gloucester at the gala.
The Duke of Gloucester is unable to appear in the Swanage Railway Grand Steam Gala because of a mechanical problem.
The three-day Grand Steam Gala bursts into life on the re-laid Purbeck Line early on Friday, September 7 and runs for three days until the end of Sunday, September 9. The Judy and Alfred trains will be topping and tailing a special shuttle train service on the mile of rarely used line between Norden Park and Ride and Motala near Furzebrook.
Swanage Railway Company chairman Peter Sills said: “The shuttle trains will be historic because it will be the first time that regular timetabled passenger trains – carrying the public in carriages – have operated between Norden and Motala since Saturday, 1 January, 1972.
“That was the day that the last British Rail trains controversially ran between Wareham, Corfe Castle and Swanage before the line was officially closed on Monday, 3 January, 1972, and lifted for scrap during that summer.”
The locomotive Number 78019 will is loan from the Great Central Railway in Leicestershire.
Its design was based on the LMS Ivatt locomotives – the tank versions of which hauled trains between Wareham, Corfe Castle and Swanage from 1964 until the branch was dieselised in September, 1966.
Mr Sills said: “With evening trains running on the Friday and Saturday, Purbeck District Council’s Norden Park and Ride attended car park conveniently next to the station will be open until late – not closing until after the last train.
“The Grand Steam Gala includes a three-day vintage vehicle rally next to Harman’s Cross station – staged by the Bournemouth and Poole Preservation Club – as well as demonstration freight trains.
“It will be an event not to be missed.”
Swanage Railway's own stable of five main line steam locomotives will also be hauling trains during the three-day event.
Swanage Railway train service details are available by visiting swanagerailway.co.uk or by calling the Swanage Railway on 01929 425800.