THE prioritising of drainage maintenance has played a key role in keeping Swanage Railway moving throughout the record wet winter, rail bosses say.

“Over the past couple of years we have made the clearing of drains, drainage culverts and ditches – as well as under bridges – a priority to ensure the trains keep running and that our trackbed and its embankments are not damaged,” explained Swanage Railway general manager Richard Jones.

Despite far greater volumes of rain and surface water than normally experienced at this time of year, the volunteer railway’s six miles of re-laid line has not suffered any instance of flooding in recent months.

They’ve even been lucky enough not to have had any trees blown over the line.

Mr Jones said: “That vigilance and forward planning over recent years has paid dividends.

“In looking after the tracks, the drainage system and the em-bankments, our permanent way department has been doing a sterling job in making sure that the trains can still run safely.”

Last year the Swanage Railway carried out a major £100,000 drainage system replacement at Swanage railway station.

This eight-week engineering task involved lifting the railway tracks and digging out the clay underneath to a depth of up to six feet.

Mr Jones said: “The Swanage Railway is open for business – despite the very unusual wet and stormy weather that has been hitting the Isle of Purbeck.”