Swanage steam’s Indian Summer

June 18 1967 was the last time a steam locomotive would depart Swanage station. Under the arch of the Northbrook Road bridge – at the head of the RCTS 'Farewell to Southern Steam' Railtour is Salisbury-based Standard ‘4MT’ No. 80146
Published Wed, 2016-10-05 14:50

The Swanage Railway has literally reversed its closure. Fifty years ago, on September 4 1966, steam operations on the branch came to an end, when BR Standard ‘4MT’ 2-6-0 No. 76010 pulled the final timetabled train over the Purbeck line.

This article is an excerpt from a feature that appears in Steam Railway magazine this month. For more on Dolgoch, pick up your copy of Steam Railway magazine today.

Photography: 

June 18 1967 was the last time a steam locomotive would depart Swanage station. Under the arch of the Northbrook Road bridge – at the head of the RCTS 'Farewell to Southern Steam' Railtour is Salisbury-based Standard ‘4MT’ No. 80146 © Andrew P. M. Wright

The next day, DEMUs took over until services were withdrawn altogether on New Year’s Day 1972. Following official closure two days later, the line was ripped up by British Rail and few back then could have imagined the renaissance the line has enjoyed.

How ironic then that the 11½-mile branch between Swanage and Wareham has been reinstated, the line’s northern extension and link to the main line is on the verge of re-opening fully, and DMUs will once again be the mainstay of regular passenger services to Wareham in a year or so. The reversal of fortunes doesn’t stop there, as steam will supersede the multiple units before long as the railway’s fleet is brought up to main line standards.

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Editorial