Rebuilt Swanage Railway marks 35th anniversary

A railway line rebuilt over a 30-year period is celebrating the 35th anniversary of its first passenger trains.

The Dorset line from Swanage to Wareham was closed by British Rail and ripped up in seven weeks in 1972.

Swanage Railway volunteers started to rebuild it in 1976 and it ran its first passenger trains on 5 August 1979 on a few hundred yards of track.

Pete Frost, a volunteer driver on the 5.5-mile (8.8km) heritage line from Swanage to Norden Park and Ride, was one of the first people to gain access to the site after the British Rail closure.

Next year, a regular service on the 10-mile stretch between Swanage, Corfe Castle and Wareham is set to run for the first time in 43 years.

All images subject to copyright. Photographs courtesy of Andrew P M Wright (majority of Swanage Railway images past and present, and Pete Frost), Ian Andrews (Swanage Pier), SJB (seaweed at Swanage), Michael Trolove (stormy Swanage), Thinkstock (fish and chips sign and meal, and Arizona desert).

Photofilm and audio by Sue Paz.

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