Swanage Railway

Swanage Railway

Located in Dorset, England, the Swanage Railway is a branch line that extends from near Wareham to Swanage. The railway’s first Swanage Steam Train would travel the rails in 1885 and the line continues to be operated in modern times as a heritage railway. Today, passengers are offered a variety of different perspectives, depending upon which ride package they choose. Custom itineraries are available for a number of sightseeing cruises, each providing excellent views of the Jurassic Coast.

Steam locomotives, mainly from the 1940s and 1950s and diesel locomotives from the early 1960s regularly operate along the line, transporting approximately 200,000 people a year – more than the branch line carried in its normal working life. The service is run by approximately 400 volunteers and is actively looking to recruit more people.

We have a volunteer recruitment officer called Jackie and she can be reached at the email address iwanttovolunteer@swanagerailway.co.uk and Jackie will send you a form asking what you’re interested in and you can reply to us and we?ll invite you down to the railway and have a day on the railway seeing what there is to be done.

Swanage Railway Head of Sales and Marketing, David Rawsthorn

Swanage Railway Fares

Travel tickets for rides on the Swanage Steam Train are available for purchase online and can be purchased up to 23:00 the day before. Tickets may also be purchased at the station or even whilst aboard the train. Norden, Corfe, and Swanage stations each provide full ticket office facilities for cash and credit/debit card payments. Ticket costs are based upon the selected travel destination and can be view below.

Parking at Swanage Station

Norden Station: A dedicated 350 space car park and coach parking area operated by Purbeck District Council. This car park is located just off the A351 Wareham. Charges do apply.

Corfe Castle Main Road: SAT NAV Post Code BH20 5DW Corfe Castle station. There is no customer car parking allowed at Corfe Castle station, but there is limited parking in the village for a charge.

Parking is recommended at the Norden Harmans Cross station small car park. SAT NAV Post Code BH19 3EB Herston Halt. A second option is Victoria Avenue car park, which is a 5-minute walk from the station. Charges do apply at both car parks. SAT NAV Post Code BH20 1PW for coach drop off point adjacent to the train station.

Can I Travel by Train from Wareham?

Currently, no, not on a regular basis, but the track has been relaid and trains have run between Swanage and Wareham on a trial basis. To connect with the mainline at Wareham, the service has to come up to modern standards, and work is continuing to meet the criteria. It’s hoped that more trains will be able to run between Swanage and Wareham in 2020 leading to regular service in the near future.

We’re hoping in the longer term that we will be able to run steam up to the mainline station at Wareham. In the interim it will be a diesel service, but long term a steam service back to Wareham. It will give a much needed transport link on the Isle of Purbeck, help take cars off the road, but it will also cement Swanage?s place as being a great tourist attraction where there is lots to see and do.

Swanage Railway Head of Sales and Marketing, David Rawsthorn

Are Dogs Allowed on the Trains? 

Dogs are welcome on board each Swanage Steam Train, but each pet must be kept on a lead and on the floor at all times. The fare for pet travel is £1 per single journey. There is no charge for special assistance dogs. Dogs are not permitted in the Buffets areas, the Dining Trains, the Station Shop or on the Santa Specials (special assistance dogs are the one exception).

How Long Do Train Trips Last?

A one-way journey takes approximately 25 minutes, while a return journey takes approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes. A return ticket between Swanage and Norden provides a break in the journey at Corfe Castle. The Swanage Railway Museum is located at the Corfe Castle station, as is the Exhibition Coach, which details the history of the line and focuses on the relaunch of the line as the heritage railway.

The Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum, which tells the history of Purbeck Ball Clay Mining, as well as the industrial heritage of the Isle of Purbeck, is located at Norden Station. Visit http://www.purbeckminingmuseum.org for opening days and hours.

Note that purchasing a Freedom Ticket allows you to travel the rails all day long.

The Flying Scotsman Visit to Swanage

Traveling is also one of the most mentioned topics in the era of technology and industry with a wide range of ideas created by entrepreneurs and engineers. Billions of pounds, dollars, and pounds are invested for research of the new ways of traveling, and possibly one day, in the next decades we expect to hear that someone traveled to the moon and back or even journey to planets in the Solar system can be possible. Great Britain has always been one of the pioneers when we talk about improved ways of traveling. The unforgettable Concorde, supersonic jet, the fastest airliner until October 2003 when it got retired. The huge ocean liner Queen Mary, that traveled from Southampton, via Cherbourg to New York, also retired from service (1967).

For the following topic, we will have to go back to the industrial revolution. It was known as the First industrial revolution which occurred both in Europe and the United States between 1720 and 1840. That was the huge transitional process from hand manufacturing to machines and other industrial tools, where the use of steam power and water power contributed to the rise of the new factories. The great majority of the inventions were found in Great Britain, where the revolution began. That is why Great Britain is known as the cradle of the industrial revolution. Utilization of the steam power soared and soon after it resulted in the invention of the steam locomotives.

This is a type of locomotive where the steam engine creates the pulling power. All steam locomotives had a boiler, where the steam power was produced by tossing the easily burning material such as coal, wood. The movement of the locomotive was created by the steam that pushed the interchangeable pistons which were attached to the main wheels. This one of a kind locomotive is a Flying Scotsman, the hero of our today’s topic. 

The first and possibly the most famous model of this train LNER Class A3 4472 Flying Scotsman. It was made in a factory in Doncaster ( Doncaster railway works), England in 1923 by designer and engineer Nigel Gresley. Sir Nigel Gresley was one of the most famous locomotive engineers of Great Britain and his inventions led him to become the “Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER)” (Wikipedia). He also created other Britain’s well-known locomotives such as the LNER Class A1 and LNER Class A4 4-6-2 Pacific engines, but he remained famous for the invention of the Flying Scotsman which was the fastest steam locomotive ever, with the estimated speed of 126 mph. It is stated that he focused on designing the powerful, elegant but most of all fast locomotives. The Flying Scotsman was set to travel on the railway- East Coast Main Line, which presents the most important railway in the East part of Great Britain. It spreads from “London via Peterborough, Doncaster, York, Darlington, Durham, Newcastle to Edinburgh, Scotland. It is 393 miles long (632 km) railway” -Wikipedia.

It is parallel with road A1. We need to mention the Flying Scotsman holds two world records when it comes to the steam locomotives. It was officially announced that it was the first steam locomotive to reach 160 km/h on 30th November 1934. After more than 50 years, back in 1989, it set the record “for the longest non-stop run by a steam locomotive when it ran 422 miles (679 km) on 8 August 1989 while in Australia”. After its retirement, at the beginning of the 1960’s it still toured around the world. It was 1963 when the British Railways removed this locomotive from service and the famous number 60103 was set to retire. Between 1969 and 1973 it went from the United States and Canada to Australia in 1988-1989. According to the latest poll in 2015, people from the four continents ranked the Flying Scotsman as their favorite and the most famous locomotive. During its service, it is noted that this locomotive covered more than 2 million miles.

British entrepreneur and businessman Alan Pegler also plays a significant role in the history of this famous locomotive. He used his connection with the British Prime Minister Harold Wilson and bought this locomotive after it was retired in 1963. Since the locomotive was scrapped, Alan Pegler invested a huge amount of money to make it look and work like in its best period of service. He also wanted this locomotive to be repainted in its original LNER colors. He also convinced the British government to take part in something that is called enthusiasts’ specials. Since the watering systems and facilities for steam locomotives came to its end, in 1966 Pegler bought a second corridor tender which he used as a water reserve tank. He also got permission from Harold Wilson to bring the Flying Scotsman to tour across the United States and Canada back in 1969 but first, he had to make a bunch of changes and to get it fixed according to the US and Canadian railway regulations and conditions.

The locomotive has traveled from Boston to New York, Washington D.C., and then to Dallas, Texas. It also traveled from Montreal to Toronto, Canada, and ended its tour in San Francisco in 1971, covering 24.800 km. “In 1966, Alan Pegler also purchased a boiler and cylinder parts from its scrapped sister engine, 60041 Salmon Trout. The boiler is housed at the National Railway” Museum in York -Wikipedia. Since his budget went into the financial red zone and his debt, he asked for help from the British Government back in the 1970’ s but he was refused. It resulted in his bankruptcy in 1972 and the Flying Scotsman was held at the US Army Sharpe Depot. There was a certain fear among the other British businessmen that the locomotive will be held or even dismantled. He collected enough money to deal with the creditors and the court and finally in 1973 he was able to purchase the Flying Scotsman and to retrieve it from the United States. He also paid the cost of shipping it to Liverpool and its reparation at the Vickers Engineering works.

In 1988, the Australian Government organized the country’s century and one of the main stars of the event was the Flying Scotsman. First, their government wanted to bring model LNER A4 No 4468 Mallard, but eventually, it was replaced by the model No. 4772 since 4468 Mallard was already booked for the 50th anniversary of the world record for reaching the highest speed among locomotives. Model 4772 covered more than 45000 km, around 28000 miles. It went all the way from Sydney to Perth and became the first steam locomotive to use the newly built gauge to Alice Springs. Another record was documented in Australia, for the longest run by the steam locomotive, when traveling nonstop for 680 km on the way from Melbourne to Alice Springs. In 1990 it came back from the Australian tour and was in service until 1993 when its mainline license expired. Despite that, it continued its tour on the existing railways, but in 1995 it was dismantled and was awaiting the new overhaul by the consortium of William McAlpine and English entrepreneur Pete Waterman. Until 1996 the progress of this project was in the status quo. Another enthusiast Dr. Tony Marchington bought the locomotive and arranged its reparation with the cost of 1 million £. Unfortunately, all these projects ended badly for the Flying Scotsman. National railway museum played a huge part in saving

The overhaul was completed in 2016 and despite few delays, it began its tour in 2016. ‘Flying Scotsman’ arrived on the Swanage Railway late on the afternoon of Tuesday, after a two-day rail journey from the National Railway Museum in York March 2019 according to the Swanage railway webpage. This extraordinary event has brought people to the streets and stations- Swanage and Norden. There were various sites where people took a photograph or documented this iconic locomotive. It was displayed at the Swanage station from 27th March until 10th April 2019. 

Besides the documentaries about British railway history, it also appeared in the animated film “Thomas and the friends” where the actor Rufus Jones gave his voice. “One of the specially produced £5 coins for the 2012 Summer Olympics featured an engraving of the Flying Scotsman on the back”. Also game for Xbox Forza Horizon 4 with racing locomotives as well as the train simulator for PC- Microsoft train simulator. One of the latest shows from 2016 was dedicated to the Flying Scotsman with Robson Green, where he documented the reparation of the locomotive.

Contact Information

Address: Swanage Railway, Station House, Swanage, Dorset BH19 1HB

Phone: 01929 425800

Website: swanagerailway.co.uk

Swanage Railway Notes of Interest

  • – Adult Fares apply to age 16 years and above
  • – There are no Senior Discounts.
  • – Child Fares are available between the ages of 5 and 15 years 
  • – Children under 5 are FREE
  • – A Family Ticket may be used by 2 Adults & 3 Children or 1 Adult & 4 Children
  • – Carers of Registered Disabled will be carried at free
  • – Revised Fares apply for Special Events
  • – Swanage Railway reserves the right to amend fares without notice