A NEW locomotive maintenance depot could be on the horizon for Swanage Railway, following a joint announcement involving Swanage business Wire Fittings Designs Limited.

This company and Swanage Railway bosses are investigating the possibility of entering into an arrangement that would see the rail company purchasing Wire Fittings’ factory premises on the Victoria Avenue Industrial Estate.

Wire Fittings Designs Limited is considering a move to a unit at the nearby Purbeck Business Centre.

If this goes ahead, Swanage Railway bosses will realise a long-standing ambition: a rail-connected locomotive and diesel unit maintenance facility.

This would end the costly process of being forced to move locomotives by road transporter, from Norden to the Swanage Railway’s existing non-rail connected facility on the Victoria Avenue industrial estate.

Wire Fittings managing director Martin Cree said: “We are committed to developing our market-leading business. The move to unit no.13 of the Purbeck Business Centre would be part of the continuing improvement process for our business.”

Meanwhile, Swanage Railway chairman Peter Sills said: “The creation of a rail-connected locomotive and diesel unit maintenance facility, next to our running line, has been an aspiration of the Swanage Railway for many years.

“We are keen to develop our maintenance facilities for loco-motives and diesel units to cater for future demands and requirements.

“It is also about investing in people and specialist railway skills, bringing employment benefits to the Isle of Purbeck and delivering a Swanage to Wareham community rail service.”

Presently, neither Wire Fittings Designs Limited nor Swanage Railway has made any firm commitment to press ahead with this proposal.

Mr Sills, who insisted other options and locations were being considered, stressed: “The decision-making process will be a long one and will involve planning applications by Swanage Railway.”