A Swanage Railway resident diesel locomotive is set to haul its first passenger train from London to Corfe Castle and Swanage since 1966 this year.
It will be bringing visitors to the three day Diesel Gala and Beer Festival being held at the Swanage Railway.
The ‘Purbeck Explorer’ will be hauled by Class 33 No. D6515 ‘Lt Jenny Lewis RN’ on Thursday 10th May 2018.
The London to Swanage excursion arrives the day before the start of the three-day event. A special preview day will also take place on Thursday 10th May 2018 featuring both steam and diesel locomotives.
D6515 made Dorset history when it became the last locomotive to run from Poole to Wimborne in May 1977.
The train will leave Ealing Broadway at 10:40 am and will arrive at Swanage before 4 pm. On Sunday 13th May 2018, the special train will return to London hauled by Class 20s No. 20007 and No. 20142.
The ‘4TC’ set of carriages has been restored by the London Transport Museum.
The visiting locomotives include Class 20s No. 20007 and 20142, Class 35 ‘Hymek’ No. D7017, Class 37 No. 37521, Class 45 No. 45 041 ‘Royal Tank Regiment’, Class 50 No. 50049 ‘Defiance’ as well as Class 66 No. 66704 and No. 73107 and No. 73 33.
‘Purbeck Explorer’ tickets are £35.90 each way or £45.00 each way on the day with the train calling at Kensington Olympia, Clapham Junction, Woking, Basingstoke and Wareham. For the return trip, the ‘Purbeck Explorer’ does not call at Clapham and the train terminates at Kensington Olympia.
What did the officials say?
Swanage Railway Company chairman Trevor Parsons said:
“The ‘Purbeck Explorer’ will revive the excitement of travelling from the Capital to the coast in a 4TC carriage set hauled by a British Rail Southern Region Class 33 diesel locomotive.
“Class 33 diesel locomotives first hauled ‘bucket and spade’ trains from London down to Corfe Castle and Swanage in the summer of 1963 and continued to do so until the end of the summer of 1966.
“With the London to Bournemouth electrification ousting steam in 1967 – and the new diesel service between Bournemouth and Weymouth – Class 33 locomotives hauled 4TC carriage sets from London to Swanage from July, 1967, until British Rail ceased trains from the capital to Swanage in October, 1969.”