AN ARCHITECT instrumental in the restoration of Swanage’s steam railway was taken to his funeral in a carriage he had restored himself.

Train enthusiast Mike Stollery was one of the UK’s most prominent rail experts prior to his death aged 71 in January.

And the former award-winning London Underground architect, a volunteer on the Swanage line for 44 years, made his final journey to Norden last month as part of a special ceremony.

His coffin, decorated with photos of steam engines, was loaded onto a Bulleid carriage at Swanage and pulled by an M7-class locomotive.

Mike’s widow, Jan, who he married just two days before losing his battle with jaw cancer, described the commemoration as a fitting goodbye.

“Mike was born in Kings Langley in a house with a railway at the bottom of the garden and his love of trains never left,” she said.

“As a child he holidayed in Swanage most years and in 1972 he went to the first meeting that eventually led to the restoration of Swanage Railway.”

His involvement came after the line from Swanage to Wareham was closed and ripped up in the space of just seven weeks.

Volunteers later started relaying the line between Swanage and Norden – and have been running it as a tourist attraction since the late 1990s.

Jan said her husband, who had been both chairman and trustee of Swanage Railway, had loved being around trains and spent 10 years constructing an enormous model railway in their loft.

“He read rail magazines all the time, from breakfast until he went to sleep,” she said.

“Over his life he accumulated a massive archive of rail books and slides which he used to illustrate talks, and he also co-edited a book about Swanage Railway.”

Mike’s first wife, Dot, pre-deceased him and as well as Jan leaves stepson Bobby, stepdaughter Samantha, six step-grandchildren and a great-granddaughter

Mike was also involved with planning matters and chaired both the Purbeck Society and the Town Twinning Association.

The funeral was arranged by James Smith Funeral Directors – part of Douch Family Funeral Directors.