Dorset

Swanage railway: First passenger trains in 44 years

A steam train on the Swanage Railway line at Corfe Castle Image copyright Andrew PM Wright
Image caption Four journeys a day will run towards Wareham as part of Swanage Railway Spring Steam Gala

Passenger trains have run over four miles of restored track in Dorset for the first time in 44 years.

The services are part of Swanage Railway Spring Steam Gala, which runs until Sunday, and mark the latest step in a bid to reconnect the seaside resort with the mainline.

Four journeys a day will run over the newly installed Norden Gates level crossing and on to the River Frome.

Diesel train trials are due to start running to Wareham early next year.

Image copyright Andrew PM Wright
Image caption Swanage Railway teams have spent 18 months restoring and upgrading the track
Image copyright Dr Neil Clifton
Image caption The Swanage to Wareham line was closed by British Rail in 1972 following a government review of branch lines

Swanage Railway general manager Matt Green said the services were "real history".

He said: "Our dedicated teams have worked very hard over the past 18 months restoring and upgrading the former Network Rail line.

"Half a mile of new track has been laid, almost 2,000 wooden track sleepers replaced, and six miles of embankments cut back, fences repaired and drains cleared."

Trials between Swanage and Wareham were originally expected to begin last year but were delayed by upgrade works needed on the diesel trains.

Image caption Work on the line has included the replacement of 1,200 wooden sleepers

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