Swanage Steam Railway...
The Swanage Steam Railway is a great day out at any age. Re-live the heyday of steam, when politeness and service weren’t optional extras but came as standard.
Travel the length of the line, from Norden Park-and-Ride to the seaside town of Swanage. Stop off at Corfe and visit the historic ruins of the Castle and the uniquely pretty village of Corfe itself.
Feel the magic of waiting at the authentic and lovingly restored stations and halts, complete with original waiting rooms and other station buildings. Climb aboard steam-pulled trains and then wait for the guard to blow his whistle and wave his flag. Before you know it, you’ll be transported back in time by the gentle swaying of the carriage and the puffing and whistling of the locomotives.
As a commercial enterprise the rescuing and restoration of the Swanage Railway would be a remarkable feat, but this isn’t any ordinary enterprise. The whole restoration and operation of this line and its locomotives, rolling-stock and everything in between has been done by volunteers. The results are simply astounding.
Don’t imagine that volunteer-run equates to amateur-performance. This is a proper, professional railway run by people who take a real pride in what they do. And they do a hell of a lot!
Throughout the year you’ll find special events and activities being run around the railway with themed weekends and much more.
If you have kids the most important events will be the twice-yearly “Family Fun Weeks”. These week-long special events are loads of fun whatever your age. There’s entertainers and entertainment as well as a variety of ways to enjoy historic forms of transport, from “brake-van specials” to Route-master Double-decker buses. You can easily spend the day trundling up and down the line watching your kids marvel at the different locomotives as the hard-working Swanage Railway team put on a real steam bonanza!
“Thomas the Tank Engine” used to be the star attraction of these events, but don’t worry that he no longer visits. Kids are fascinated by historic steam trains whether they have a fibreglass face on or not! And there’s always plenty of Thomas stuff for sale at the Swanage Station shop!
If you think you’re too old for the Reverend Awdry’s tales, there’s no need to worry. There’s so much going on there’s bound to be something else for you in the Railway’s busy schedule. So whether you’re a full-blown railway enthusiast or just a parent looking to please and entertain your children beyond belief, the Swanage Steam Railway is a great day out and a memorable part of any Dorset holiday.
In fact, if there’s something going on in Swanage, there’s a fair chance that the Railway will be playing some part in it, whether providing transport to it, or being the focus of it. From the local carnival, to a beer festival, annual folk festival and Christmas Santa Specials there’s usually something going on throughout the year.
With the Railway literally and metaphorically at the heart of Swanage, it is hard to imagine this beautiful seaside town with out it. The visitors the railways brought to Swanage helped the town prosper in the heydays of steam. It may be ironic that the railway is now, itself, a big part of the attraction of Swanage today.
It’s not surprising that after the line was closed railway enthusiasts wanted to re-open it. What is surprising is that the Swanage Railway Trust succeeded to the extent that it has. What the state-owned British Railways and Dr Beeching undid, this plucky and tenacious band of volunteers has restored to its former glory.
There something supremely British about that. As British as Ealing Comedies and the Titfield Thunderbolt.
If for no other reason than that, you really should go and see it! We should all be proud of them and what they have done.
And don’t miss the newly refurbished “Bird’s Nest Buffet”, a great place for tea, coffee and a light snack. Cream tea’s are especially good in this railway carriage café - a great place to sit and watch trains with a cuppa!
Travel the length of the line, from Norden Park-and-Ride to the seaside town of Swanage. Stop off at Corfe and visit the historic ruins of the Castle and the uniquely pretty village of Corfe itself"