Home Heritage Swanage - Wareham service resumes

Swanage – Wareham service resumes

41 years after being axed, a regular service connecting Swanage and Wareham is set to resume in two years time thanks to a £1.47m grant.

Government funding will pay to upgrade track and bridges and two 1960s heritage diesel bus trains to mainline running standards. The Swanage Railway Company says the service will be on the metals by 2015.

Says Peter Sills, chairman of Swanage Railway, ‘We are elated at this tremendous and very historic news because the Swanage Railway has been campaigning to bring back regular trains from Swanage and Corfe Castle to Wareham since 1972 when British Rail controversially axed the service.’

Local councils allocated £3.2m for new track and points at Worgret Junction. This was installed by Network Rail in December and will enable passenger trains to use the route. A £500,000 level crossing across the Wytch Farm oil field and a park and ride access road near Corfe Castle are being funded by BP and Perenco.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Let’s hope the interested parties pay some attention to the historic LSWR station at Wareham. A buffet car in the disused down platform would be a welcome sight for travellers

  2. It is all extremely interesting; a great coup for Swanage Railway. In total some £5 million has been allocated by the various interested parties in a short time for all aspects of the reinstatement/upgrade of the three miles from Norden to the mainline junction and signalling/points for the extra mile into Wareham. It says something about the sheer cost of modern signalling that NR’s computerised infrastructure for operating the line between Wareham and the SR takes up most of the £3.2 million signalling allocation, with the SR’s traditional part costing around £300,000.
    There has been much talk about how the trains will operate into Wareham – NR sensibly installed points to allow SR access to the sidings beyond Wareham station for running around and brief stabling; this therefore makes the eventual use of steam through to Wareham possible; though SR does not currently possess steam locomotives set up for main line operation, clearly it can be done. For instance, rebuilt West Country Class 34046 ‘ Braunton’ is currently being fitted with GSMR (Global System for Mobile Communications – Railway) – I cite this purely as an example, ‘Braunton’ not being an Swanage Railway locomotive – but presumably other locomotives could have it fitted too, and doubtless at least some Swanage locomotives can be in other respects brought up to main line standard. But in the meantime it will be DMUs operating the line. Anyone who thinks/thought it would have been altogether much simpler to build a third line between the NR junction and Wareham Station should bear in mind that there are at least two bridges in the section, one quite long, for which the addition of a third line would be exceptionally expensive.
    Some have expressed doubts about the ability of the railway to operate heritage trains AND community/commuter service trains, but by studying Google maps you can see that the SR has a number of passing places, even though some are cluttered presently.
    Doubtless the transfer of use to the SR of the former BP Furzebrook sidings will ease the storage problem, and indeed, the locomotive servicing/restoration facility currently at a non-rail-connected base in Swanage could eventually be transferred there, which I should have thought would be a great deal more convenient, Furzebrook being a facility affording considerable space and hence scope.
    I wish SR every success with this forward step which indeed fulfills the original objectives of the preservation society. Having the cooperation of Dorset CC, NR, and numerous other interested parties must be a great help; and it was a fine gesture by BP to contribute £500,000 for the essential level crossing facility at Norden, (which is currently just a piece of track built into the road which has to be manually red-flagged against road traffic to enable trains to use it).

  3. I very much doubt the Swanage Railway will in fact operate a true commuter service for the local community. For all their fine words in this respect, Heritage Railways have never succeeded in providing a “real railway.” I see already that the supposed “regular” service (to operate from 2015) will only operate for 50 days in that year with a POSSIBLE extension to 90 days the year after. A real railway? I think not. Further much of the talk has been about the “exciting” possibility of steam trains using the through route, with arcane talk of “run round” “stabling” “rostering” and so on, rather than any meaningful discussion about providing public transport. I do get the impression that the MEN with the little enamel badges and their own GWR whistle are almost sexually excited by this development. They should bear in mind (as they DRIVE) to their beloved fantasy railway that people in Swanage lost a valuable YEAR ROUND public transport facility and that an opportunity will probably be lost to restore it. Such a pity.

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