The weekend of 10-12th May marked the 2019 annual diesel gala and beer festival at the Swanage Railway. Always a great event and one that is firmly placed in many enthusiasts diaries, this year was to be no exception- and fortunately the railway was once again blessed with a beautiful weekend which makes this part of the country such a pleasure to be in, and of course pleases the photographer!
D6515 (33012) hauls the second Swanage bound train on Saturday 11th May. Typical Southern Region traction would have been common on lines such as this before their closure. The remains of Corfe Castle stand high above the horizon.
D7535 (25185), visiting from the South Devon Railway and recently re-painted is seen shunting near to the shed at Swanage next to some of the regular steam locos which are being serviced.
A regular at the line and another typical SR scene, 33111 works it's train south into Corfe Castle.
As well as the visiting locos to the railway the first coach from the Swanage 4TC project was also on display at Corfe Castle. The vehicle, DTSO 76275 has been painted in blue/grey liver and is waiting for further overhauled coaches to arrive from restoration in order to form a push/pull set for use on the raiwlay. 76275 is something of a survivor as after it's 4TC was abandoned it lived on re-formed in to South Eastern 4-VEP unit 3582 until the early 2000's- surviving refurbishment and finally being retired into preservation. Cab visits were available and also offered an alternative view of trains arriving from Swanage. The coach looks great in it's blue grey livery and will certainly be a great addition to the fleet at the Swanage Railway once it is complete and operating with class 33 locomotives. For more information on the Swanage 4TC group see here.
Another star attraction at the event was 26007 visiting from Barrow Hill. The loco looks pristine as it arrives into Corfe Castle with a late afternoon service from Swanage complete with the Devon Belle observation car.
One guest visitor that would not have been foreseen just a few years ago was GBRf's 59003. Part of the original build of the class dating from 1985 'Yeoman Highlander' was shipped to Germany in 1997 for use abroad and was not expected to ever return- however in 2014 GBRf secured the loco as part of their expanding fleet and 59003 can now be seen working train in the UK once more.
No Southern Region railway gala would be complete without one of the venerable class 73's. GBRf have regularly supported the Swanage Diesel Gala with one of the class and this year was no exception. Largely used as a brake converter loco for 59003, 73119 'Borough of Eastleigh' also hauled a return trip solo on each day of the gala.
Another view of 73119 returning from Corfe Castle to Swanage.
Another star attraction was 50007 'Hercules', owned by the class 50 alliance and currently wearing the livery of GBRf. The loco, along with classmate 50049 'Defiance' was repainted by Arlington Fleet Services at Eastleigh earlier this year and will be used on an as required basis by GBRf. The painting of heritage traction into new and modern liveries is always controversial but it has been been good to see how well this livery has generally been received, suiting the 50's very well and with a certain throw back to the BR 'Large Logo' colours that have always looked so good on the class.
50007 is seen again tailing a train up to recently re-opened extension to the line up to the River Frome Viaduct (towards Wareham). 50007 was carrying the identity of long scrapped classmate 50014 'Warspite' on one side.
One of the stars of the show was 97205 (31163) visiting from the Chinnor & Princes Risbrough railway. The loco has recently been outshopped in Derby BR Technical Centre colours. While never worn by 31163 itself a number of classmates did wear this livery and the 31 certainly looks the part and has proved very popular on the gala circuit so far this year.
Another view of 50007 with a service from the River Frome Viaduct to Swanage. This year mainline stock was not available and the railway did not operate into Wareham itself, running only to the NR boundary and with a 'rail replacement' bus service providing the connection between Wareham and Norden.
The classic view from Corfe Castle itself looking across the Purbeck landscape towards Poole Harbour as 50007 leads a late afternoon train out of Norden with 26007 on the rear.