Step back in time with Swanage volunteers


Last year’s Roads to Rail steam rally. Andrew PM Wright

Dedicated Swanage Railway volunteers are to stage a nostalgic fundraising steam rally – bringing the Isle of Purbeck to life with evocative recreations of a bygone age.

Featuring up to 50 traction and miniature engines, steam rollers and showman’s engines – as well as fairground rides, trade stalls, food stalls, bar and live music – the evocative three-day yesteryear Roads to Rail gathering takes place between Friday, June 23 and Sunday, June 25 in a field next to Norden station near the village of Corfe Castle.

A special intensive steam train service between Norden, Corfe Castle and Swanage will
be operating, including a special evening heritage diesel service on the Friday and Saturday evenings. Camping pitches, which must be pre-booked via, will also be available in a field close to Norden station, and there will be live music on the Friday and Saturday evenings. Now in its third year, the popular Roads to Rail event was first staged in August 2021.

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Volunteer Swanage Railway Company chairman Trevor Parsons, who is also volunteer train guard and signalman as well as a trustee with the Swanage Railway Trust, said: “We are proud to be hosting our third Roads to Rail which combines the nostalgia of steam rail travel with steam powered traction engines, steam rollers and vintage fairground rides. Going from strength to strength against the backdrop of the ruins of Corfe Castle, this is an evocative festival of steam large and small for all of those who love vintage steam-powered vehicles on the road or on the rails.

“With people attending the event also having the rare opportunity to go on the footplate of one of our steam locomotives, Roads to Rail is a great day out for all the family and we hope that it will again draw in the crowds. Special events such as our Roads to Rail three-day event are critical for helping to fund
the continued operation and development of the Swanage Railway as well as drawing visitors to the wonderful Isle of Purbeck ahead of the main summer season. This takes a lot of dedicated planning and organising from our staff and volunteers and I would like to pay tribute to all the hard work that has been put into the event.”

The Roads to Rail sponsors this year are Suttles Quarries, Humphries Kirk solicitors, City Cruises, Collett agricultural engineers and welding fabricators, Swanage Holiday Properties, Bridport Foundry, Stuart Models, Care Purbeck, Miles & Son estate agents and Jurassic Care. A combined train ride from Swanage to Norden and return – with entry to the steam rally showground – is £22 for adults, £8.50 for children aged five to 15 and £57 for a family of two adults and three children. Entry to the steam showground only is £7 for adults and free for under-16s (£5 for adults from 6pm). Day parking at the Roads to Rail steam rally is free.

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