MEMBERS of the public will get the chance to see behind the scenes at Swanage Railway this month.

The heritage line is to host a community engagement weekend between 10am and 4pm on February 11 and 12, to encourage more volunteers to help maintain and run the railway.

Volunteers are essential to the line, which brings more than £15million to the area each year.

The weekend will give members of the public the chance to board the footplate of a steam locomotive in Swanage, drive a shunting diesel from the 1950s, and see where the carriages are restored and overhauled.

Bournemouth Echo:

At Corfe Castle station, visitors will be able to see the award-winning signal box, a replica of the original Victorian box from 1885 when the line opened. Then, they will be able to have a go at signalling from the signal box museum.

There will be five steam trains a day between Norden and Swanage, to be hauled by a 1940s Southern Railway Battle of Britain Class Bulleid Pacific express steam locomotive.

A special heritage diesel train service will take passengers along the occasionally used line between Norden and the River Frome.

Purbeck residents will be able to purchase discounted Freedom of the Line train tickets during the weekend.

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Robert Patterson, volunteer chair of the Swanage Railway Company, said: “This is an exciting event to enable Purbeck residents enjoy 'their' railway at a heavily discounted price as well as being able to go behind the scenes to see what we do – and perhaps becoming a volunteer.

“We would not be able to run the Swanage Railway without our fantastic team of more than 400 volunteers who are responsible for everything from running trains, keeping our stations looking great to selling tickets and refreshments and much more.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Swanage Railway Trust volunteer chair Gavin Johns said: “Volunteering is a great way to contribute to the community and become involved in something rewarding, enjoyable, social and worthwhile.

“Swanage Railway volunteers don’t need to be train enthusiasts to enjoy themselves and we have a wide range of positions available.

“Our aim is to ensure that our volunteers have an enjoyable and rewarding experience while making an important contribution to Purbeck life – both for residents and visitors alike.”