HISTORY has been made during the Swanage Railway’s three-day Autumn Steam Gala.

During the event a powerful British Railways Standard Class 5 locomotive hauled passenger trains along the four mile line between Norden and the River Frome.

It starred the “impressive” visiting steam locomotive No. 73156 from the Great Central Railway courtesy of the Bolton Steam Locomotive Company.

Classmates of the train were based at Bournemouth’s 71B shed and operated stopping trains between Southampton, Bournemouth and Weymouth as well as trains on the Somerset and Dorset line between Broadstone, Blandford Forum, Templecombe and Bath.

The gala also saw the Swanage Railway’s home fleet of five steam locomotives – including two 1940s Bulleid Pacifics – in action.

The home fleet of steam locomotives appearing was Victorian T9 No. 30120, Southern Railway late 1920s U class No. 31806, Bulleid Pacifics No. 34072 ‘257 Squadron’ and No. 34053 ‘Sir Keith Park’ as well as 1955 British Railways Standard Class 4 Tank No. 80104.

“The gala featured an exciting and varied intensive timetable of passenger and nostalgic freight trains between Swanage, Harman’s Cross, Corfe Castle and Norden – with some passenger trains running on our four-mile extension from Norden to the River Frome, within sight of Wareham.

“The Swanage Railway is very grateful to the Bolton Steam Locomotive Company and the Great Central Railway for enabling No. 73156’s first visit to the south coast and the Isle of Purbeck.

“Built at Doncaster during 1956 the train was pulled from service by British Railways in late 1967. Sent to the scrapyard, it was purchased and restored to full working order. It’s a very impressive steam machine.”

The Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum was open next to Norden station throughout the Autumn Steam Gala while the Goods Shed Museum was also open at Corfe Castle station during the event.