SWANAGE Railway volunteers have launched a £50,000 appeal to renovate three classic 1920s steam trains.

This appeal, launched under the 'Swanage Moguls' banner, is to bankroll major overhauls of a trio of Maunsell Mogul locomotives.

These three classic Southern Railway steam locomotives are known as Moguls because of their 2-6-0 wheel arrangement.

Initially, funds will go towards restoring the heritage railway's 'N' class steam locomotive, which is the last-surviving of its class in existence. It is currently stripped down at the Swanage Railway works.

Of the remaining two locomotives, one is currently operational on the restored heritage line while the other is awaiting a complete overhaul.

Kevin Potts, of the Swanage Railway, explained: "Inclusion of the three Maunsell Moguls in the Swanage Railway's steam locomotive fleet will complement our motive power and go a long way towards safeguarding the provision of steam services between Swanage and Norden - and perhaps beyond in due course.

"It is important these three iconic Southern Railway locomotives remain working in a setting that typified their use during their former working lives."

The appeal was officially launched at the Great Dorset Steam Fair, near Blandford, and donations have already started to roll in.

Mr Potts said: "The locomotives are ideally suited to operations on the Swanage Railway, being both powerful enough to handle five-carriage trains, and longer, if needed, yet also economic to operate.

"Overhauling steam locomotives to the standard required for operating public services is an expensive undertaking so the Swanage Railway Trust welcomes contributions to support the overhaul of the Maunsell Moguls."

Visit swanagemoguls.com to donate or for further information.