Locomotives make history at the Swanage Railway Diesel Gala and Beer Festival

Swanage Railway Diesel gala and beer festival makes history
Credit: Andrew P.M. Wright

The Swanage Railway has announced that different locomotives have made history over their Diesel Gala and Beer Festival weekend.

The Swanage Railway Diesel Gala and Beer Festival preview day made history with a Class 33 locomotive hauling its first London to Swanage train since 1966, as well as two Class 73 locomotives hauling a 4TC between Corfe Castle and Swanage for the first time since 1968

Also for the first time, a Swanage Railway Corfe Castle to Wareham train service operated on all three days of the diesel gala and beer festival. This meant that passengers and visitors could travel to the event by mainline train direct to the Swanage Railway.

A special four-carriage ‘Purbeck Explorer’ Swanage Railway charter train ran from the Capital to the coast on Thursday, 10 May 2018, hauled by Class 33 locomotive No. D6515 ‘Lt Jenny Lewis RN’. The last time that No. D6515 hauled a train from London to Corfe Castle and Swanage was during the summer of 1966.

After the ‘Purbeck Explorer’ arrived in Swanage, its ‘4TC’ stock was used for two return passenger trains from Swanage to Corfe Castle and Norden. The locomotives for the working were Class 73 electro-diesels No. 73 107 and No. 73 133.

What did the officials say?

Swanage Railway Company chairman Trevor Parsons said:

“The ‘Purbeck Explorer’ revived the excitement and expectation of travelling from the Capital to the coast in a 4TC carriage set hauled by a British Rail Southern Region Class 33 diesel locomotive.

“It was great to see the two Class 73 electro-diesels haul – and propel – a ‘4TC’ carriage set to Corfe Castle and Swanage for the first time since 1968, a year before British Rail stopped direct trains from London down to Corfe Castle and Swanage.

“This year’s diesel gala and beer festival was the first time that visitors could arrive at the event by train from Wareham during all three days of the event – a real bonus and a development that proved to be very popular with our visitors.

“The diesel gala and beer festival was a success and I would like to thank everyone who worked so hard to plan, and stage, the event which is a highlight of the Swanage Railway calendar,” explained Mr Parsons who is a volunteer signalman and train guard on the Swanage Railway.