A steam locomotive that was stopped from running on to the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset 46 years ago because it was judged to be too heavy has finally made it.
The 150-ton Southern Railway Merchant Navy class Bulleid Pacific No. 35028 ‘Clan Line’ ran through to Swanage hauling a UK Railtours Special, the Royal Wessex, from London Victoria on 27th April 2012. Built at Eastleigh in Hampshire in 1948 ‘Clan Line’ hauled a special to Wareham in 1966 where it was decoupled.
Two small Ivatt class tank steam locomotives, No. 41284 and No. 41301, took over the train and hauled it down to Corfe Castle and Swanage. Now thanks to the hard work of the Swanage Railway Company the locomotive can run straight through. Bridges on the rebuilt Swanage Railway were strengthened during the early 1990s enabling them to bear ‘Merchant Navy’ class steam locomotives.
The driver for Clan Line’s historic visit to Corfe Castle and Swanage was Wayne Thompson of DB Schenker based at Eastleigh while the fireman was Rob Binstead. Withdrawn by British Railways in July, 1967, ‘Clan Line’ is a Pacific class 4-6-2 locomotive, designed during the Second World War by Oliver Bulleid and now based at the Stewart’s Lane railway depot in London. It has been owned and maintained to main line standards by the Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society since 1967.