DB Schenker makes Swanage history

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db_corfecastle

The Purbeck Pioneer’ hauled by a DB Schenker Class 66 locomotive No 66152 passes through Corfe Castle Station on 1st April 2009

(Frame captured from BBC TV film. Click to read the BBC News report and view the whole film.)

37 years and 3 months from the day that the last passenger train travelled from the main line at Wareham via Worgret Junction down the branch line to Swanage, DB Schenker Class 66 locomotive No 66152 hauled ‘The Purbeck Pioneer’ a twelve coach special train from London via Leatherhead, Effingham, Southampton, Bournemouth, Wareham, Worgret Junction, Corfe Castle and Swanage.

Although a number of empty stock and light engine movements had been made across the Swanage Railway – Network Rail (previously Railtrack, previously British Rail) connection since 2002, this was the first passenger carrying service to visit Swanage from the main line at Wareham since the last BR train ran down the branch on 1st January 1972, and represents a major milestone in the history of the Swanage Railway project.

The ‘Purbeck Pioneer’ left at London’s Victoria station at 8.45am on Wednesday April 1st 2009. The atmosphere on board the train was one of excitement and anticipation for the historic journey ahead, and many Swanage veterans had made the journey to London to be able to be part of this historic event. The train was met at Wareham by Alan Greatbatch of Network Rail and with Swanage Railway’s Steve Dyer on board the train was signalled down the Swanage branch via Worgret Junction, past Furzebrook and passed onto Swange Railway metals at Motala accompanied by a barrage of popping corks.

The historic train then travelled non-stop to Swanage via Norden, Corfe Castle, Harman’s Cross and Herston Halt. The train was met at Swanage by Swanage Railway Trust Chairman Mike, Whitwam, Swanage Railway’s staff and vounteers and local dignitaries, who all went out of their way to ensure that all the passengers received an extremely warm welcome to Swanage.

After a couple of hours, passengers reboarded the train for the return journey to London Waterloo, this time hauled by DB Shenker Class 66 locomotive No 66142 with 66152 at the rear. None of this could have happened without the efforts of Eastleigh-based DB Schenker men Dave Purvis and Dave Gravell who cleaned the DB loco inside and tested the stock and with Ian McDavid they relieved the train crew at Southampton for the final section through Bournemouth, Poole and Wareham to Swanage. As all were Swanage Railway members and volunteers, everything ran like clockwork!

More on the Swanage Railway:

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