The details have just been announced of the first visiting locos to take part in Swanage Railway’s Annual Diesel Gala and Dorset Beer Festival. This big event for train enthusiasts from across the UK, takes place from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th April 2020.
The first is the ‘Royal Highland Fusilier’ Class 55 Deltic (55019) loco, which will be visiting courtesy of the Deltic Preservation Society. Also attending will be the ‘Great Gable’ Class 44 – D4 (44004) from the Peak Locomotive Company. This will be the first ever visit of a class 44 to the Swanage Railway. Class 33s – D6515 (33012) and 33111 will also be in action.
There are still further announcements to make but the planned line-up so far, including resident locos is:
- Class 33s – D6515 (33012) & 33111
- Class 44 – D4 “Great Gable” (44004) courtesy of the Peak Locomotive Company
- Class 37 – 37190 courtesy of Locomotive Services Limited
- Class 50 – 50021 “Rodney” courtesy of 50021 Owners Ltd
- Class 50 – 50026 “Indomitable” courtesy of PTG Tours Ltd
- Class 55 – 55019 “Royal Highland Fusilier” courtesy of the Deltic Preservation Society
- Class 73/1 – courtesy of GB Railfreight (details to be confirmed)
- A locomotive from Direct Rail Services (details to be confirmed)
Dorset Beer Festival
Alongside all the opportunities to take a ride on the diesel locos, there’s also the return of the Dorset Beer Festival at Corfe Castle Goods Yard, along with other attractions at Swanage Station such as a barbecue and trade stands.
On both the Friday and Saturday evenings, the popular ‘Beerex’ trains will be running to get everyone home safely.
There will also be a ‘Rail Replacement Bus Service’ operating between Wareham Station and Norden Station, allowing visitors to leave the car at home and travel all the way down to Purbeck by train.
On the weekend before the gala on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th April 2020, there’s a chance to drive the Royal Highland Fusilier, by booking one of Swanage Railway’s Driver Experience sessions.
Cotswold Festival of Steam
While the diesels take over Swanage Railway for the gala, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway has announced plans for Swanage’s steam locomotive Battle of Britain class No. 34072 ‘257 Squadron’ to visit them for their Cotswold Festival of Steam.
The loco, which was built in 1948, is owned by Southern Locomotives and based at Swanage Railway. She was recently returned to steam following an overhaul and returned to service in 2018. This will be her first visit away, since the work was completed.
The Cotswold Festival of Steam is on Saturday 23rd, Sunday 24th and Monday 25th May 2020.