BUMPER crowds attended the Swanage Railway annual three-day Diesel Gala and Beer Festival.

Railway volunteers used the event to raise funds for the town’s RNLI boathouse appeal.

A charity excursion train, the three-coach ‘Swanage Lifeboatman’ diesel, arrived in Swanage from Salisbury ahead of the event, with almost 200 passengers aboard.

The public also enjoyed the special RNLI fundraising fun day at Harman’s Cross railway station on the Sunday.

The ninth diesel gala and beer festival included seven visiting locomotives, two of them from the National Railway Museum in York.

The associated beer festival had them packed in at Corfe Castle’s Bankes Arms over the three days, and featured a variety of local ales and ciders.

Swanage Railway general manager Richard Jones said: “Due to popular demand, Glastonbury Ales produced a re-run of its ‘Old Pusher’ ale which, like last year, was available during the gala alongside ‘Regulator’ and new brew ‘Sea Cider’.

Funds raised at this year’s gala go towards the RNLI’s £200,000 appeal, that is raising funds for a new lifeboat station which will eventually house the RNLI’s latest lifeboat in Swanage.

During Saturday, a NLI Class D lifeboat was displayed at Corfe Castle.

Mr Jones said: “The Swanage Railway was delighted to support the Swanage lifeboat appeal with the RNLI being the nominated charity during our West of England mainline tribute day, as well as our three-day Diesel Gala and Beer Festival.”