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Rail enthusiasts and steam engines flock to Swanage Grand Steam Gala
THOUSANDS of rail enthusiasts are expected to flock to Swanage Railway’s annual Grand Steam Gala and Vintage Transport Weekend.
The three-day event, starting on September 6, also sees the return of a classic 1920s Southern Rail-way steam locomotive to Purbeck.
This 102-ton No.31806 loco-motive, nick-named the ‘U-Boat’, hauled holidaymaker and day-tripper trains from Salisbury, Basingstoke and Bournemouth to Corfe Castle and Swanage during the 1940s and 1950s.
It is being loaned out to the gala by the Mid-Hants Railway in Hampshire.
Swanage Railway general manager Richard Jones said: “This is an exciting coup for the Swanage Railway and we are very grateful to the Mid-Hants Railway for its very kind help in enabling us to recreate an important piece of post-war railway history at Corfe Castle and Swanage.
“We are looking forward to recreating another piece of history during our Grand Steam Gala and Vintage Trans-port Week-end.
“We hope to pair No.31806 with our Victorian-designed M7 tank locomotive No.30053, because the U’s and their trains were often piloted from Swanage back to Wareham by one for the branch’s M7s.”
Alongside the weekend’s trains will be a three-day vintage transport rally at Harman’s Cross.
There will also be evening entertainment and refreshments.
A Swanage Railway spokesman said: “The public will also have the rare chance to drive and fire a classic steam locomotive – under supervision – on Tuesday, September 10.
“No. 31806 will haul four special driving experience trains during the day, departing Swanage at 11.06am, 12.26pm, 1.46pm and 3.06pm.”
Visit swanagerailway.co.uk for further details.
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