Swanage Railway Diesel Gala & Beer Festival

Swanage Railway’s Diesel Gala & Beer Festival is a three-day extravaganza showcasing the railway’s own diesel engines as well as visiting locomotives from across the UK – and of course its famous Beerex train and beer festival at Corfe Castle Station help make the event a proper celebration of all things diesel.

2022 saw Swanage’s 15th diesel gala – the railway welcomed eight visiting heritage diesel locomotives back after a long break due to Covid-19 restrictions.

One of the most highly regarded annual events of its type in the country (Dan Bennet, event organiser)

The GB Railfreight Class 69 No. 69 004 was raising money for Prostate Cancer UK

The May sun shone, the locos ran the full nine-mile track from Swanage, beyond the usual terminus at Norden, to the River Frome, and two of the heritage locos had the important job of wearing the ‘Beerex’ hat – carrying passengers to and from Corfe Castle Station in the evenings to sample a range of award-winning local ales and ciders.

Also part of the festivities was the unveiling of Swanage Railway’s latest addition – the industrial narrow gauge diesel loco Ruston and Hornsby 48DL No. 283871 – which was recently restored here.

The locos

Visiting diesel and diesel-electric locos joined Swanage Railway’s own for the three-day extravaganza.

Food, fun and fundraising on Platform 1, Swanage Station

Passengers arriving at or departing from Swanage Station were treated to various stalls including vintage railway memorabilia, train-related souvenirs, and hearty rolls and baps provided Smith’s Butchers’ BBQ.

And the ever popular beer festival at Corfe Castle Station went on into Friday and Saturday evening, with Beerex diesel trains providing transport.

Perusing vintage model locos and railway memorabilia
The fascinating history of the Swanage Railway
Food from the BBQ tent at Swanage Station
Hornby & Bachmann model trains
Vintage model trains for sale
Crab apple Catering van at Swanage Railway diesel gala & beer festival, Corfe Castle
Wraps & baps by local Crab Apple Catering at the gala's beer festival at Corfe Castle Station's goods yard
Railway club Rail Riders merchandise
The Railway's history links with Wareham

New addition to the tracks

Part of the diesel gala included the unveiling of small-but-perfectly-formed and newly-restored Ruston & Hornsby 48DL No. 283871 industrial locomotive.

The Ruston had its first outing on the two feet gauge line at the Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum, situated just above the tracks at Norden Station, before operating demonstration ball clay trains across the weekend.

The newly-restored 1956 narrow gauge Ruston & Hornsby 48DL industrial loco was welcomed into service at the Purbeck Mineral & Mining Museum
A big moment for principle benefactor Ian Bradshaw as the Ruston & Hornby's ribbon is cut
Narrow gauge tracks at the Purbeck Mineral & Mining Museum
Two-feet narrow gauge line at the Purbeck Mineral & Mining Museum
Swanage Railway Trust members unveiling Swanage railway's 'littlest loco'

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